Intense Side Stretch

Intense Side Stretch

Parsvotanasana

Also known as runners stretch, or pyramid pose, this form provides a strong opening along the back body, especially throughout the hamstrings (hence the runner reference!) Of course, for most runners, the hamstrings are a location of tightness, so this posture is best done with awareness and ease.

To come into the posture, stand with the feet hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Step the right foot back 2-3 feet and angle it out 45 degrees. Firm the legs as you inhale and lengthen the torso long and tall. With the hips squared forward, slightly turn your torso to the left.

On an exhale, bend at the hips and lean over the left leg. Keep the torso parallel to the floor. If the fingers reach the floor, place them on either side of left foot. If touching the floor isn’t possible, then rest your hands just above the knee. Draw the spine long, and lift slightly from the sternum. Now bring attention to the feet, pressing into the ball of front foot, firming the back foot into the floor.

Hold this posture for several breaths, allowing the torso and head to gradually softer lower to the front leg, but avoid rounding the back. Rise up on an inhale. Repeat on the left side.

Body Focus
  • Hamstrings
  • Spine
Benefits
  • Calming
  • Lengthens the spine and hamstrings
  • Builds strength in the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs and digestion
  • Improves posture and balance
  • Alleviates flat feet
Take Note

If you have a back injury or high blood pressure, keep the torso parallel to the floor, going no further into the forward fold.


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