Ibiza yoga: How to do Parsvottanasana

Ibiza yoga: Parvottanasana

POSTURE: Parsvottanasana

MEANING: ‘Parsva’ means side flank, ‘ut’ is intense and ‘tan’ means stretch, so you guessed it – we have an intense side stretch to do!

BENEFITS:

  • Cultivates focus and clarity of mind
  • Stretches the hamstrings, spine, hips, spine, shoulders
  • Strengthens the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs with the forward bend
  • Improves posture and sense of balance

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Stand in Tadasana. Step the right foot back so it’s around four feet away from the front foot or closer if this means your hips and pelvis are square to the front edge of your mat. Your back foot should be turned in at about 45 to 60 degrees.
  • Ground all four corners of both feet firmly into the mat – this sets the foundation of the pose. Then find your breath.
  • Either take the hands to prayer position behind the back, or, if it’s easier, hold your elbows with the hands.
  • On an inhale, look gently upwards and broaden across the sternum, opening into the front of the body.
  • On an exhale, and hinging from the hips, lower the flat spine downwards, sinking the forehead towards the knee. Keep the length in the front of the body and the naval drawn in gently as you come forward. Keep the gaze forward – don’t lead with your head.
  • Keep the spine long, even if this means just falling forwards a little way. Drop the head, and use every exhale to encourage the chest further towards the knees. Think inhale to lengthen and exhale to deepen gently.

HELPFUL HINT: The wall is a wonderful prop. Use the wall the get the stretch in the spine aiming for 90 degrees, especially if you feel your back hunching and your hips are not square. Start with the wall to help you stretch the body ready for the full posture.