Pyramid Pose

Pyramid Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

In Parsvottanasana, ‘Parsva’ means ‘Side’, ‘Ut’ means ‘intense’ and ‘tan’ means to ‘extend, stretch or lengthen’. Hence the name Intense Side Stretch Pose. This posture is performed in a standing position and when practiced regularly, brings stability and balance to the body and the mind. The mind should be at the core while practicing this intense pose. This pose is sometimes called the Pyramid Pose, which emphasizes the powerful foundation and strength engendered in this pose. Alignment and awareness of the movement of the body plays a great role in the practice of this pose.

Pyramid Pose is considered a base pose as pyramid pose variations can be derived from this pose.Pyramid Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your feet together and arms alongside your body. Distribute the weight evenly in your feet. If you have a hard time staying balanced here stand with the feet parallel and hip distance apart.
Step 2
On an exhale, place your hands on your hips and step the left foot back about 3 to 4 feet. The right toes pointing straight forward. The left foot is on about a 60 degree angle so that the left toes point towards the top left hand corner of your mat. The heels are inline with one another or slightly wider.
Step 3
The hips and torso face the front of the mat as you draw the left hip forward and the right hip back. The outer hips press in towards one another and the inner thighs are scissoring.
Step 4
Draw the shoulder blades down the back and away from the ears. Engage the belly gently by drawing the navel in and up towards the spine.
Step 5
On an inhale extend the arms out into a “T” position. On an exhale, reach your arms behind your back and clasp the elbows with the opposite hands. If you have more flexibility in your shoulders you can bring the hands into reverse prayer behind your back with palms pressed together and the fingers pointed up. Modifications: Place your fingertips on the ground or place your hands on two blocks placed on either side of your front leg.
Step 6
On an inhale, lengthen the spine and on an exhale hinge from the hips to bring the torso down towards the front leg. Make sure to maintain the length of the spine and the squaring of the hips. Tailbone reaches behind you as the crown of your head reaches forwards.
Step 7
Bring the gaze to your front big toe.
Step 8
To release, bring your hands to your hips, press firmly through your back heel and gently lift your torso with the using the strength of your belly (not your low back). Repeat on the opposite side.

Benefits and Contraindications


Calm the brain and flush the sinuses with mild inversion.

Stretch the spine.

Strengthen the legs and spine.

Improve posture.

Aid digestion.

Elongate hamstrings.


Recent back surgery

High or low blood pressure.


Low back pathologies.

Ankle, knee, or hip injury.

Shoulder injury (if taking hands behind the back)

Photo poses in different angles


Parsvottanasana will challenge your balance, serenity, and flexibility when practiced in correct alignment. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:

Keep your hips squared throughout the pose.
Lengthen the front of your torso from your breast bone to your navel.
Keep the crown of your head reaching forward as you simultaneously extend your tail bone behind you.
Note that your feet are significantly closer together than they are in other standing poses, such as Warrior I or Triangle Pose. Take your time getting the correct foot placement. Then, as in every standing pose, work the pose from the ground up.

Modifications & Variations
  • Side Forward Fold Pose
  • Pyramid Pose Hands On Blocks
  • Pyramid Pose Hands At Lower Back
  • Half Pyramid Pose Airplane Hands Behind Back
  • Pyramid Pose Wall
  • Seated Intense Side Stretch Pose Thighs Strap Chair
  • Revolved Intense Side Stretch Pose Blocks
  • Pyramid Pose Holding Wrist At Back
  • Standing Split Pose Chair
  • Pyramid Pose Hands On Wall Block Under Foot
  • Intense Side Stretch Pose Looking Forward Hands On Floor
Top Preparatory Poses
  • Warrior Pose I
  • Triangle Pose
  • Intense Leg Stretch Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Intense Leg Stretch Pose
  • Revolved Triangle Pose
  • Triangle Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.