How To Do Parsvottanasana

By Subodh / February 23, 2015

Known as Intense Side Stretch pose, Parsvottanasana can be considered as somwthing in between Trikonasana [Triangle Pose] and Parivrtta Trikonasana [Rotated Triangle Pose]. Parsvottanasana is actually Parsva Uttanasana. Parsva means Side, and Uttanasana is Intense Stretching Pose. Your efforts are focused on touching the shin with the chin, while forehead rests on the ankle. A wonderful pose for toning up the entire body, it is one the intermediate poses.

There are different ways to enter this pose:

  1. Step back from Uttanasana
  2. Step forward from Adho Mukha Svanasana,
  3. Walk your feet apart from Tadasana and then bend forward
  4. Bend down from Warrior 1.

The instructions here will be for coming into the pose in third way, which is the classical way.

parsvottanasana

Practicing Parsvottanasana Step By Step

  1. Stand on the yoga mat, feet together, hands resting along your body, palms facing the ceiling. Keep your head, neck, and spine erect. Pull in your thighs muscles and knee caps.
  2. Inhale and as you exhale, move your right leg backward, adjusting your foot into a medium stance. Keep both your feet slightly turned inward, toe tips facing each other, say at 45 degree angle. Place your hands on the hips.
  3. Align your heels. Keep your hips squared.
  4. Inhale and as you exhale, turn the torso to your right, keeping the pelvis squared towards the front of the mat. Keep the left hip pointed to the front, pressing the left femur into mat.
  5. Keeping your scapulas firm, lengthen the coccyx towards the mat, and arch the upper torso towards the back gently.
  6. Inhale and with the next exhalation, bend forwards over your right leg. Keep bending till your torso makes a parallel to the floor.
  7. Place the fingertips firmly on the floor, on both sides of your right foot.
  8. Keep lifting the hips towards the shoulder and roll backward.
  9. Pressing the base of inner heel and big toe on the floor in front of you, lift your inner groin deeply into your pelvis.
  10. Hold the posture, while head and torso are parallel to the ground for 10 deep breaths.
  11. Inhale and lift your torso. Join your legs and come back to initial position.
  12. Repeat the same with left side.

Modifications

You can support the back heel using a wall if you feel the heel is lifting off the floor while bending forward. Alternatively, place the bolster beneath your left feel for support.

[ Read: How To Use Yoga Blocks ]

Deepening the pose

You can rotate your torso and bring the midline down the mid of front thigh.

Beginner’s Tips

Place two bolsters on either side of the front leg and place your palms on them for additional support. Alternatively, you can hold your calf muscles with your palms, from behind for additional support and added stretch. You can also place your hands on a wall in front of you for bending forward with additional support.

Therapeutic Applications

Parsvottanasana is found to be effective and therapeutic for various conditions including

  1. Flat feet
  2. Correcting spinal alignment
  3. Sinusitis
  4. Migraine

Health Benefits of Doing Parsvottanasana

You can practice Parsvottanasana regularly for the obtaining the following health benefits:

  1. Better stretch for shoulders, spine, wrists, hips, thighs, ankles, calf muscles, and hamstrings
  2. Calms down the brain
  3. Improves your focus and concentration levels
  4. Strengthens your shoulders, legs, hands, and spine and makes it more flexible
  5. Stimulates and strengthens your abdominal organs
  6. Helps in correcting spinal alignment
  7. Corrects the posture and helps in improve posture related issues
  8. Improves you balance
  9. Stimulates your respiratory system
  10. Improves circulation to the heart, face, and brain

[ Read: How Often Should You Do Yoga a Week? ]

Poses To Do Before Parsvottanasana

Practice these poses before you get into Parsvottanasana:

  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog pose
  2. Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  3. Gomukhasana – Cow face pose
  4. Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide legged forward bending pose
  5. Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclining bound angle pose
  6. Uttanasana – Forward bending pose
  7. Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended angle pose
  8. Utthita Trikonasana – Triangle pose
  9. Vrikshasana – Tree pose

Parsvottanasana As Preparatory Pose

You can use this as a preparation for getting into the following poses:

  1. Dandasana – Staff/Plank Pose
  2. Pincha Mayurasana – Forearm balancing pose
  3. Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide legged forward bending pose
  4. Salabhasana – Locust pose
  5. Salamba Sarvangasana – Shoulder stand
  6. Salamba Sirsasana – Headstand
  7. Utkatasana – Chair pose
  8. Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I Pose

[ Read: How Yoga Can Help People With High Blood Pressure ]

Contraindications to Parsvottanasana

  • Avoid this pose if you have back issues, hypertension, and knee injuries.
  • Practice the pose under a teacher before trying it at home.