Parsvottanasana aka “intense side stretch” or “pyramid pose” - is part of the Prana Vashya™ standing series. With the combined benefits of forward bending, backward bending, and balancing, it requires relaxed concentration to maintain the correct alignment.
How to get into Parsvottanasana
Standing with your feet about 3½ feet apart and turn to the right and square your chest – rotating your torso to the right - above the forward (right) thigh. Then fold your hands behind your back in 'reverse prayer' position; see above picture (or, alternatively, you can hold your elbows from behind).
Exhale as you fold forward over the right leg bringing the torso over the thigh and pressing the backward foot to ground the back heel and hold the position for five full breaths. Then come up with an inhalation by pressing actively through the back heel and repeat on the left side.
Do not turn bend your knees; keep them extended to maximize the stretch on the hamstrings. Keep your hips square with the front edge of your mat to protect your lower back.
Calms the mind, improves lung mobility and digestion. Parsvottanasa also stretches the hamstrings, hips, spine, shoulders and wrists.
Avoid this posture if you have a back injury or high blood pressure.