Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Back to basics-Standing poses-Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)

Intense side stretch can be a challenging pose but it is a good stretch for the hamstrings, opens up the spine, calms the brain and improves your balance.

To come into the pose start in Tadasana at the top of the mat and take the feet to hip distance.  Have two blocks handy at either side of the mat. Step back with the left foot and turn the toes of the left foot out to 45 degrees.  Ease the left hip forward so that both hip points face the short edge of the mat.  Take your hands to your hips, inhale lift your chest and as you exhale hinge forward from the groin into a flat back position. Keep easing your left hip forward as you do so. Release your hands to your blocks (remember 3 levels) if you need them. If you have issues with blood pressure, heart problem, glaucoma etc stay in flat back.  Otherwise inhale here, exhale release the crown of your head down. Take your hands back (with the blocks if you need them)Hold and breathe.  To come out of the pose,  inhale come up slowly, bend the front knee and step the feet together. Repeat second side. 

In the video below we also practice two more variations of this pose which open up the shoulders and release tension in the back of the neck.  These variations are also good for your posture if for instance you work at a desk.  

Common mistakes

  • If you do not level your hips, you may strain your lower back.
  • The pose is an intense stretch for the front leg which may cause you to hyper-extend the front knee.  If this is the case micro-bend the front knee.  
  • As you fold forward, your back heel may come off the floor.  If this is the case, try practicing with the back heel against a wall 

Please see the yoga video on my YouTube Channel, 'Back to basics-Standing poses-Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)'-

Janet x

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