Parsvotanassana (pyramid pose or intense side stretch)

Exercise of the week!

If you wish to elongate your lateral hamstring muscles (biceps femoris) and at the same time tone up your liver, spleen and nervous system or if you suffer from painful menstrual periods parsvotanassana is a good choice.

From standing position we make a step backwards keeping our legs stretched and parallel.

Starting position

Heels on the floor aligned. Front foot pointing forward, back foot turned out at about 45 degrees. Keep your hips and upper body facing the front of your mat. Hands in reverse prayer position behind your back (anjali mudra).


Inhale and as you exhale lean forward over your front leg. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths and change side.



1.Keep your feet on the ground.

2.Press the outside of your feet and ankles actively into the floor while pulling up the middle-inner arch of your foot.

3.Engage your legs by pulling up the knee caps and thighs into your hips.

4.Stretch your legs but don’t lock out your knees.

5.Stretch your pelvis. Roll your back thigh inward while keeping your front hip back.

6.Lean forward as far down as you can keep your back straight.

7.Keep your chest and hips open and square and pull your shoulder blades toward your pelvis.

8.Keep your shoulders off your ears.

9.Elongate your spine as you inhale and gently bring your torso further down, pulling pelvic floor in and up and forehead facing front knee.

10.Elongate your neck with your chin slightly inwards. Keep your spine as long as possible. Imagine a rubber being pulled in two opposite directions.

Parsvotanassana has a number of variations with bent elbows or fists together behind your back, with blocks in your hands to support your weight on the floor , parallel with your hips in case of inflexible lateral  hamstring muscles, and with the back heel  against the wall for further support.

Amprazis Demosthenes, Pilates & Yoga Instructor, AthensTrainers® Associate