Parsvottanasana (Standing Side Stretch Pose) Benefits, How to do, Contraindications

Parsvottanasana or Intense Side Stretch or Pyramid Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Standing Side Stretch, Pyramid Pose
Pārśva: “side”
ut: “intense”
tan: “stretch”
āsana: “posture”


Parsvottanasana (parsh-voh-than-AH-suh-nuh) stretches the hamstring muscles, relieving stiffness in the legs and hips. This pose also makes the hip joint and the spine elastic. While the head is resting on the legs, the abdominal organs are contracted and toned.

The results of a study International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences Volume 2 Issue 3 July – Sep show that standing, supine, and DROM stretching is effective at increasing the flexibility in your hamstrings.

Muscle Focus

Pyramid Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Hamstring Muscles
  • Thighs (Quadriceps)
  • Calf Muscles
  • Pelvic Muscles
  • Obliques
  • Shoulders

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Stretches the hamstring muscles.
  • Helps to bring elasticity to the spine.
  • activates quads or front thigh muscles.
  • Strengthens and tones the side muscles (Obliques).

Benefits of Parsvottanasana or Intense Side Stretch or Pyramid Pose

1. Stretches Hamstring Muscles

Parsvottanasana is a great way to stretch the hamstring muscles. When these muscles are tight, it can be difficult to move around and do everyday activities. This pose can help to loosen them up, making it easier to move around.

2. Tones Abdominal Organs

The head resting position in Parsvottanasana helps to contract and tone the abdominal organs. This is a great way to keep these organs healthy and functioning properly.

3. Elasticity in Spine and Hips

Parsvottanasana also helps to make the spine and hips more elastic. This can help with mobility in these areas and prevent pain.

4. It helps to Activate Obliques

Parsvottanasana helps to activate the oblique muscles. These muscles are important for stabilizing the spine and pelvis.

5. Stretches Spinal Muscles

This pose also stretches the spinal muscles, which can help to reduce pain and tension.

6. Your Posture Improves

Parsvottanasana helps to improve posture by stretching and strengthening the muscles responsible for good alignment.

7. Stimulates Brain

The stretch in Parsvottanasana is not just physical. It also helps to stimulate the brain, providing a boost of energy and improving focus.

8. Eases Stress

Parsvottanasana can help to relieve stress by calming the mind and body. This pose is a great way to unwind after a long day.

9. Makes the Hip Joint More Mobile

Parsvottanasana helps to make the hip joint more mobile. This can help with pain and stiffness in the hips and lower back.


Those with a hamstring tear should approach this pose gradually, and should not go all the way down but keep their palms on a block or a chair. Women who are pregnant or menstruating should not keep their heads on the knees and should do the asana with a concave mid-back with the palms on a block or a chair. Keeping the abdomen soft is essential.


  • Pyramid Pose with wall support

Preparatory Pose

  • Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  • Parighasana (Gate Pose)
  • Janusirasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you’re having a hard time balancing, try standing against a wall for support.
  • Make sure to keep your pelvis square throughout the entire pose. This will prevent you from arching your back.
  • If you can’t quite reach your feet, keep within your bodily limits.
  • Don’t forget to breathe! The breath will help you to deepen the stretch.

How to do Pyramid Pose

  • We begin in Tadasana or Mountain Pose.
  • Step your feet around 3 feet apart and parallel to each other.
  • Turn your right foot outwards to 90 degrees and your left foot slightly in.
  • Slowly, move your body to the right side.
  • Bring your arms at shoulder level.
  • If you can, try to assume the reverse prayer posture with your palms behind your back.
  • Retract your shoulders and let your chest come out.
  • Make sure your gaze is forward the entire time.
  • Slowly bend your trunk forward, keeping your pelvis square.
  • Your objective is to bring your chest as close to your thighs as possible while keeping your back straight.
  • Hold the position for about 60 seconds and then release.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Mental Benefits of Pyramid Pose

  • Helps to build trust within yourself.
  • Deeper communication with your own body.
  • Helps to ease tensions.

Bottom Line

Parsvottanasana is a great way to stretch the hamstring muscles and tone the abdominal organs. This pose also helps to make the spine and hips more elastic, and it can help improve posture. Additionally, Parsvottanasana helps to stimulate the brain and ease stress. If you’re a beginner, be sure to practice this pose against a wall for support. Remember to keep your pelvis square and breathe deeply into the stretch.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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