The Pyramid pose is a standing posture that combines the benefits of three major movements: backward bends, forward bends, and balancing. This pose requires intense focus and a relaxed mind so that you stay in proper alignment throughout the pose.
The word Parsvottanasana is made up of four words that when combined mean “Intense Side Stretch Pose”.
The pyramid pose stretch both the hamstrings and the shoulders at the same time. It helps build balance and coordination while improving posture. When done properly, this pose is known to be therapeutic for flat feet. This pose also boosts digestion.
If you have any injuries to your hamstring, shoulder, or wrist, you should not practice the full version of this pose. You can modify this pose by moving your arms forward and resting them on blocks or the floor (Modifications are below)
To perform this pose, here are the following steps:
Stand at the top of your mat. Keeping your arms at your sides, rotate to the left and step your left foot back making sure there is 3 to 4 feet between your feet. Place your hands on your hips and make sure your heels are aligned. Turn your right foot 90 degrees pointing your toes to the top of the mat. Point your left toes to the top-left corner of your mat (about 60 degrees).
Keeping your feet where they are, rotate your torso to face the same direction as your front foot.
Draw your left hip slightly forward. Draw your shoulder blades into your back keeping your ribs forward.
Inhale as you put your arms at your sides. Exhale and reach your arms behind your back. Clasp each elbow with the opposite hand. If you are flexible, press your palms together while reaching your fingers toward your head.
On the next inhale, stretch your torso. On the exhale, fold at your hips and extend your torso over your front leg. Keep you head forward and your tailbone stretching behind you.
Hold for up to 1 minute. Press firmly through you back heel and slowly lift your torso. Release the arms and place your hands back on your hips. Repeat on the opposite side.
If you have a shoulder or wrist injury — or if you would just like to lighten the backward bending aspect of the pose — release your arms forward to the floor instead of reaching behind. Rest your hands on blocks if your hands don’t easily rest on the floor.
If you are pregnant, or if you have a back injury or high blood pressure, practice this pose against a wall. Perform steps 1, 2, and 3 as described above, a few feet away from the wall you are facing. Exhale as you lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor while also extending your arms forward. Press your palms against the wall, with your fingers pointing upward. Your arms should be fully extended. Keep the front of your torso long.
The full version of the pose is performed with the hands behind the back and the palms pressed together in prayer position (Anjali Mudra). If that option is not attainable for you yet, cross your arms behind your waist and clasp each elbow with the opposite hand. Fold the opposite arm on top when you change leg position.