PYRAMID POSE – PARSVOTTANASANA
Pyramid Pose is great to increase your bendiness while stretching your hamstrings and opening your shoulders.
You will find this asymmetrical pose particularly useful to prepare your body for sitting asanas. Before entering in the position, warm-up with some cycles of Sun Salutation, say three per side.
Hold the position for at least five complete breathing cycles (inhalation-exhalation). If you find one side is better than the other, don’t worry: it is normal to have asymmetries in our body. My suggestion for you is to train equally on both sides, being very careful to body alignments. Let’s go on see them!
For Parsvottanasana, your leg and trunk position will resemble those of Warrior I: from Mountain pose, step your left foot backwards approximately 3-4 feet (1 meter) away from your right foot, left toes pointing left by a 45-60°angle. Keep your legs very well straightened and heels on the same line. Do not tilt your pelvis: your hips, or better your iliac crests, should both “look” forward and rest on the same plane.
Open your shoulders: if you are an advanced practitioner, you can opt for the traditional and final version of the pose, joining your hands in Reverse Prayer (or Anjali Mudra), and open your chest wide before bending. If you are a beginner, you can cross your forearm behind your back and hold your elbows with the opposite hand, or even place your hands to the ground or on two blocks at your sides as a support when you bend.
Inhale and open your chest arching slightly to prepare, and on the exhale, lean forward keeping your back straight as much as possible, avoiding curving or closing your shoulders. Remember: it is more beneficial to bend just a little, keeping nice alignments and a straight spine then going beyond your physical limits with counterproductive effects!
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
On a physical level, Pyramid pose is great to lengthen your hamstrings, especially of your front leg! It is also helps opening your shoulders (especially if you can do the final version) and increasing your bendiness!
Many have found Parsvottanasana beneficial also to help digestion and the intestinal function. In this case, I suggest you to practice first on the right side, followed by the left side, to follow the natural functioning of the intestine.
On an emotional level, Pyramid pose helps us exercise one of the fundamental principles of yoga: humility. Taking on a humble attitude at the beginning of the class will help throughout the whole practice, by favoring the recognition of our limitations, and to do our best while keeping in mind we can always do more, but still be satisfied and grateful to ourselves for who we are right now!