Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose)
Parsva means side and Uttana means intense. The direct translation is intense lateral stretching posture.
Pyramids are strong, durable and solid. Climbing the steps of a pyramid can be an allegory for the journey to enlightenment. Pyramids can also symbolize the sense of harmony and unity we can sometimes feel and create within. The steps of a pyramid represent lessons we have successfully learned. When someone completes a pyramid, it means they are in complete harmony with themselves, society and the environment.
Parsvottanasana, or Intense Side Stretch Pose, is a particularly challenging side stretch that requires strength, stability, presence and patience to perform safely. Also referred to as Pyramid Pose, Parsvottanasana is all about commitment in the legs—creating a solid foundation and strong container to release and expand into.
The pose is definitely more of an intense hamstring (and hip) opener than a side body stretch, and should be approached mindfully and methodically, using the support of a wall or blocks. When done properly, the benefits of Parsvottanasana come from lengthening the spine and strengthening the legs while stimulating digestive organs and calming the mind (as forward folds tend to do).
Health Benefits Of Parsvottanasana
The Intense Side Stretch Pose stretches the hamstrings, spine, shoulders, wrists and hips. It lengthens the spine and relaxes the shoulders and neck. It stimulates the digestive organs thereby improving digestion. This pose strengthens the legs and knees as well.
Parsvottanasana improves sense of balance and calms the mind. This pose improves posture of the body and tones the abdomen.