Pyramid Pose - Parsvottonasana

Parsvottonasana. © Barry Stone

Type of pose: Standing, forward bend

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the legs, especially the hamstrings, improves core strength.

Pyramid is one of those poses where you can really see the results of consistent practice. Do this pose every day and you will see your forward bend deepen as your hamstrings open. It's also a great warm up for any hamstring intensive poses that you might have planned.

At first, I recommend keep your hands on the floor or on blocks so you don't have to worry about tipping over. It's ok to widen your stance toward the sides of your mat for the same reason. Later, you can start to incorporate your core strength more by lifting your hands off the floor and narrowing your stance.


1. From downward facing dog, bring your right foot forward to the inside of your right hand.

2. Come up to your finger tips. Step your left foot forward about a foot. Turn your left toes out slightly and lower your left heel so that the sole of your foot is flat on the mat.

3. Straighten your right leg.

4. Lift your torso to a standing position.

5. Put both hands on your hips to make sure that your hip points are facing towards the front of the mat.

6. Inhale to lengthen the spine.

7. On the next exhale, deepen your right hip crease as you come into a forward bend over your right leg.

Keep a flat back as your lower. When you come to your full extension, it's ok to let the spine round a bit. Lower your hands to the floor. Stay on your fingertips or flatten your palms to the floor.

8. On each inhale, lengthen the spine. You can even come up to a flat back on the inhales. On each exhale, take the forward bend a little deeper.

Keep drawing the right hip back to keep your hips squared. Microbend your right knee so it's not locked. Stay for around five breaths.

9. To keep the body in balance, repeat on the left side.

Beginners' Tips:

1. If you hands don't reach the floor when you forward bend, use blocks (or hack an block) under them for support. It's important that your hands rest upon something other than your shin.

2. Your feet should be on train tracks, not a tight rope. If you have trouble squaring your hips to the front, take your train tracks a little wider. 

Advanced Tips:

1. To incorporate a balance challenge, try interlacing your hands behind your back when you are standing upright. Take the hands up and over your head when you forward bend.

2. Take reverse namaste behind your back. Keep your palms pressed together and your elbows moving back as you forward bend.

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