Couch Pose - Paryankasana

Couch Pose - YanvaYoga


Couch Pose or Paryankasana is an intermediate backbend, performed while the legs are held in virasana. For the yogi to perform this posture, they must have developed flexibility in the ankle, knee and hip joints, as well as the quadriceps, which allow the yogi to feel stable as they move towards Paryankasana. Without stability in the legs and hips, the legs can open too widely as the body reclines towards the mat, which can compress the back.
When translating from Sanskrit, ‘Paryanka’ means a bed or couch and ‘Asana’ translated to pose or posture. A moderate to hard pose, couch pose is part of the backbend family and shapes the body to resemble a couch, giving this pose the apt name.
Your knees and ankles need to be flexible when doing this pose, but there are also many variations and modifications you can make to perform couch pose with comfort and ease.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start by lying down on your mat with your back flat, your legs extended out straight, and your arms by your sides.
Step 2
Bend your right knee and fold your leg back so that it is placed by the side of your right hip. Repeat using the other leg.
Step 3
Once both legs are folded, try to keep your knees together and ensure that your head, neck, and the rest of the body are aligned.
Step 4
Stretch your arms and elbows out to the back and bend your elbows to fold your arms if necessary.
Step 5
Focus on your breath; inhale and exhale normally. Feel the stretch in your thighs, knees, and ankles.
Step 6
Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and slowly return back to the starting position.
Step 7
Take a few deep breaths in and out to relax.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches the feet, quadriceps and ilio-psoas

Stretches the respiratory diaphragm and the abdominal organs

Opens the lungs and chest

Benefits the thyroid and parathyroid as the anterior neck spine is stretched and toned

Helps with lymph drainage, as the lymph flows from abdomen into the chest and supports lymph drainage under the collar bones

Benefits the vocal cords



Cardiac problems

Knee injuries

Stiffness in the lower back and neck



Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props and Tips

  • If you have discomfort in bringing your sit bones to the mat, sit on a bolster or a cushion.
  • You can place a bolster or a block behind you for comforting your thoracic spine. Make sure that as you recline, the prop is pressing into your back and is under your scapulae or slightly lower but not in the middle of your back.
  • You can give comfort to your back support/props like a block or bolster under your head or lower back.
  • For added support to the hips, hold your thighs together and tie a yoga belt around the knees. This modification not only makes you comfortable in the pose but also gives you the same benefits of the asana.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common mistakes to avoid when practicing Paryankasana?

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when practicing Paryankasana:

  • Overarching the lower back: When practicing Paryankasana, it’s important to maintain a neutral spine position. Avoid arching your lower back, as this can put pressure on your lumbar spine and lead to discomfort or injury.
  • Letting the knees fall apart: To maintain proper alignment in Paryankasana, keep your knees together and your feet parallel to each other. Letting your knees fall apart can strain your hip joints and lower back.
  • Tucking the chin: To avoid compressing your neck, keep your chin slightly tucked and your neck long. Avoid letting your head hang back or jutting your chin forward.
  • Holding your breath: Breathing is an essential part of yoga practice, and it’s important to maintain steady, rhythmic breathing throughout Paryankasana. Avoid holding your breath or taking shallow breaths.
  • Pushing yourself too far: As with any yoga pose, it’s important to listen to your body and work within your own limits. Avoid pushing yourself too far into the pose, as this can lead to injury or strain.
  • Lifting the shoulders off the ground: Keep your shoulders relaxed and pressed into the ground. Avoid lifting your shoulders up towards your ears, as this can create tension in your neck and shoulders.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can practice Paryankasana safely and effectively. Remember to always listen to your body, and work within your own limits. If you have any concerns about your form or alignment, seek the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.

Can Paryankasana be practiced by beginners, or is it only suitable for advanced practitioners?

Yes, it can be practiced by beginners as well as advanced practitioners. This pose is relatively simple and accessible, and can be modified to suit a range of abilities.

However, as with any yoga pose, it’s important to approach Paryankasana with awareness and caution. It’s best to practice this pose under the guidance of a certified yoga teacher who can help you understand proper alignment and technique, and can offer modifications or adjustments as needed.

Can Paryankasana help alleviate lower back pain?

Yes, Paryankasana, also known as Couch Pose or Hamstring Stretch Pose, can be helpful in alleviating lower back pain. This pose stretches the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles, which can help to release tension and tightness in these areas.

Lower back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, tight muscles, and weak muscles. By practicing Paryankasana, you can stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower back, hips, and legs, which can help to improve your posture and reduce pain and discomfort.

However, it’s important to note that if you have a serious or chronic lower back condition, such as a herniated disc or sciatica, you should consult with a healthcare professional before practicing Paryankasana or any other yoga pose. They can help you determine if this pose is safe and appropriate for your specific condition, and may recommend modifications or alternative poses to help alleviate your lower back pain.

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.