Parsva = side
Uttana = intense stretch
Parsvottanasana is an intense side stretch pose that helps in stretching the shoulders, wrists, spines, hips, glutes and hamstrings. Besides the benefits of stretching, it also helps to strengthen your lower body, mainly the legs and ankles.
If you are experience tight hamstring or want to stretch out your hamstring muscles, try out this pose. The asymmetry of the pose gives a more intense stretch in the hamstring of the front leg as compared to a usual forward fold, or sometimes known as Uttanasana.
Before you start on the pose, you may want to do simple stretch to warm up your joints. The two preparatory poses are:
- Gomukhasana (cow face pose)
- Uttanasana (standing forward bend pose)
- Bring palms behind the back and form Anjali mudra (meeting the hands in prayer position).
- Step your right leg back about 1 foot distance from the left leg, heels hip width apart. Make sure your right toes turned out 45 degrees and left toes pointing forward.
- As you inhale, lift the sternum while gazing up.
- Exhale, flex from the hips and bring your belly close to your left thigh – stay here for 5 breaths.
- Inhale, slowly lift your sternum and come up
- Exhale, repeat on the other side.
- Inhale, come up and release the hand
- Exhale, return to Samasthiti.
- Outer hips muscles to be engaged.
- Keep your head with the alignment of your spine
- Bring your belly closer to the front thigh to stretch the hamstring.
Joint movement in this pose
- Internal rotation of the shoulder joint
- Protraction and slight depression of the scapula
- Flexion at the elbow
- Supination of the wrist
- Extension of the vertebral column
- Anterior tilt of the pelvic area
Don’t hyperextend your knees
Don’t round your back or shoulder as you enter into the pose
Like any of the yoga poses, this pose has its own challenge. You have to mindfully cultivate integrity and stability in the pose. Yes, this pose targets the lower body, however your upper body needs to be engaged and mind focused to remain stable. Every part of your body is full activated.