Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch) Step-by-step

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) - Sharp Muscle
5 min read
Updated: April 5, 2023

The Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) is a full-body pose that stretches both the upper and lower ends, focusing on the building power in your feet. It can stimulate your abdominal organs and improve digestion while helping to increase your sense of balance.

The Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) is great for performing before turning or bending over to sit. If you have ever experienced a back injury or suffered from high blood pressure, then you should only bend half, which will be explained below.

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) is a yoga pose that facilitates freedom by establishing boundaries.

The eighth “limb” of Patanjali’s yoga is samadhi, a final experience of yogic freedom. To reach this, the first one should practice the other seven limbs that do it first. The first, Yama, is a set of moral principles that will be followed. These principles are establishing the boundaries that later lead to the ultimate freedom – samadhi. Similarly, in Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), establishing a strong foundation with alignment teaches one to instill a sense of freedom. The boundaries and structure of alignment and muscle action that are established through this sequence allow for a safe and deep release as well as the ability to experience greater freedom of movement in this pose and other poses.

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Meaning of Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

The name of Parsvottanasana is derived from Sanskrit. It consists of four words which better clarify its meaning and importance.

  • Parsva + ut + tan + asana:
  • Parsva” = “side”
  • ut“= ‘intense’
  • tan” = “to stretch”
  • asana” = “pose or posture”

The crux of what a practitioner has to do to perform this yoga pose is to tilt the body to one side and pull out excessively.

This pose is better understood as a stage between the Parivrtta Trikonasana and the Utthita Trikonasana. In this inversion, tilting the body forward and creating balance gives the body a pyramidal shape, hence the name.


Also known as:Parsvottanasana, Intense Side Stretch Pose, Pyramid Pose, Parsva Uttanasana, Single Leg Forward Bend Pose
Sanskrit name:पार्श्वोत्तानासना
Total Time:10-30 seconds
Forward, on shins
Focus:Hips, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Spine and Wrists
Chakra:Sahasrara Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, Manipura Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Counterposes:Uttanasana, Ardha matsyendrasana, Natarajasana, Upavistha konasana
Preparatory Poses:Adho mukha svanasana, Janu sirsasana, Uttanasana
Follow-up poses:Parivrtta Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana I, Urdvha prasarita eka padasana
Indications:Balance, digestion
Contraindications:Pregnancy, low blood pressure, high blood pressure

Benefits of Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

As this yoga pose is a challenging forward bend that requires strength, stability and patience to perform safely, it also brings with it many physical and mental benefits with practice which are listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Stretches the hamstrings
    • Strengthens the feet, ankles, shins, knees, and thighs
    • Tones the abdominal muscles
    • Lengthens the spine
    • Opens the chest
    • Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands
    • Releases the hips
    • Improves balance
    • Improves digestion and circulation
  2. Mental Benefits:
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Step by step Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet parallel and hip-width apart.
  2. Breath and tilt your elbows and include your palms together behind your back. Slide your turning hands between your shoulder blade. Pin back the head of the arm bones, press your hands behind your heart, and open your chest. Another option is that you hold your fortresses behind your back. Raise through your waist and increase your side body.
  3. Exhale, step the right foot forward 3 to 3½ feet, and square your hips. Anchor your telonone and raise your chest above your heart. Root through four corners of your feet, embrace your foot muscles in the bone, and drag the muscles into the origin of your pelvis from your feet.
  4. Maintain your spine expanded. Remove and move your torso forward. Breath out of the origin of your pelvis through the crown of your head and tall. Drag back your right hip and bring your left hip forward. Back to your thigh bones, root in your Hestro, equally attached all the leg muscles.
  5. Continuing your exit, proceed to your feet on your feet and bring your chin to the top of your Shin. Stay in this position for 10-30 seconds. To release, embrace your feet together (drag them towards each other) and rooted in the floor through your feet. Breath and stand. Repeat on the other side.

Beginner’s tip

  • Instead of bringing your hands to the reverse prayer position, try to hold your elbows with opposite hands, or place your hands on your hips.
  • If the stretch in the hamstring becomes too intense, bend the front leg slightly.
  • Actively pressing through the legs will help you keep both hips forward. You can also gently scissor your hips together.
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  • To raise the challenge, try to keep your arms out with the ears.
  • Try to pose by lifting the heel backwards.
  • Add in some extra work for the back muscles, lifting the arms upward, elbows bent, and squeezing the shoulder blades together as you go inside. Exhale, bring the hands down.
  • Repeat 3-4 times.


While practicing Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose), look for a few things:

  1. Since a lot of muscles are used while going to this yoga posture, any injury to any part of the legs and hips will make it difficult to pose and hence in such cases this yoga posture should be avoided.
  2. Stiffness around the neck can make this yoga posture more challenging, especially when moving the upper body forward. If there is too much pain due to stiffness, avoid this yoga pose completely.
  3. It will be difficult for the lower back to go deep into this yoga posture. This can actually cause injury and if so, this yoga posture should be avoided.
  4. In the later stages of pregnancy, women should avoid this yoga pose altogether.
  5. Blood pressure patients, or individual who usually has high blood pressure, should consult their doctor before practicing Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose).

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