Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch or Pyramid Pose)

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

Physical Benefits

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.

Energetic Benefits

This pose allows yogis to discover the balance between the back and the front of their bodies. This asana builds trust within the practice when the yogi discovers deeper communication with the body.


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.

Going into the Pose

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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