Pyramid Pose

Pyramid Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Pyramid Pose, Intense Side Stretch Pose or Parsvottanasana in Sanskrit (‘Parsva’ means ‘Side’, ‘Ut’ means ‘intense’ and ‘tan’ means to ‘extend, stretch or lengthen’) is an intermediate-level standing posture that involves a deep forward fold that helps to stretch hip muscles and hamstrings and lengthen the spine.

Assuming Pyramid Pose requires aligning both the heels sidewise separating the legs and joining the hands in reverse prayer pose or simply placing them on the mat in one line with the leg that goes forward. This is followed by bending the torso so that the head touches the shin of the front leg.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
From High Lunge pose (with left foot forward), step the back leg forward enough to straighten both legs. Keep the back foot flat on the floor with the toes facing forward.
Step 2
Flatten your spine, move the coccyx forward, and retract the front ribs.
Step 3
As you exhale, lean forward, placing your torso parallel to the ground.
Step 4
Draw the shoulder blades down the back and away from the ears. Do not forget to engage the belly gently by drawing the navel in and up towards the spine.
Step 5
On an inhale extend the arms in front of you.
Step 6
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 or place your hands on the ground in one line with the leg that is forward.
Step 7
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 the crown of your head reaches forwards.
Step 8
Bring the gaze to your front big toe.
Step 9
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


Calms the brain and flush the sinuses with mild inversion.

Stretches the spine, hip muscles and hamstrings

Strengthens the legs and spine.

Improves posture.

Aids digestion.

Elongates 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

Modifications, Props and Tips

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 tailbone behind you.
  • Use yoga blocks if you can not reach the floor with your spine straight
  • Use a yoga strap if you can not clasp your hands behind your back
  • Beginners also find it difficult to maintain the firmness of the back leg. To attain the stretch fully with the leg and inner groin softening the front knee will be helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Modifications & Variations

  • Pyramid Pose Hands On Blocks
  • Pyramid Pose Hands in Reverse Prayer Pose
  • Pyramid Pose With A Front Knee Slightly Bent
  • Pyramid Pose with Torso Parallel to the Ground

Top Follow-Up Poses

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.