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Yoga Pose of the Week: Intense Side Stretch

Strike a Yoga Pose: Intense Side Stretch

For all you runners and bikers with tight hamstrings, this is the pose for you. It's one of my favorite stretches to target the backs of the legs, but it'll also give you a nice stretch on the sides of your body, as well as your chest and shoulders.

Sanskrit Name: Parsvottanasana
English Translation: Intense Side Stretch Pose
Also Called: Scissor
  • Stand with both feet together in Tadasana. Step your left foot directly behind you about two feet.
  • Bring your arms behind you, bend your elbows and bring your palms together in reverse Namaste position (reverse prayer). Raise your hands up between your shoulder blades as far as you can. Pull your elbows behind you to press your palms together firmly.
  • Inhale to lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, fold at your waist. Keep both legs straight and lower your torso as far as you can, eventually resting it on your right leg. If it's easy, touch your chin or forehead to your shin.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths, then engage your leg muscles and inhale to lift your torso up. Repeat this pose with the left leg forward.
Join The Conversation
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
vanillabean - try placing your feet different distances apart (closer or farther apart) to see if that helps at all. I know a lot of people in the yoga classes I attend have to start with their feet closer together and then gradually do they move their feet farther apart with each practice.
vanillabean vanillabean 7 years
This looks easy, but it is not if you have extremely tight hamstrings like me. I have a difficult time keeping my hips forward and my back foot down without toppling over. One day I hope to fold over with no problem.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
My yoga instructor always stresses the importance of keeping your hips facing forward in this stretch. A lot of people have a tendency to push the hip out (for the back leg) instead of dropping it down and forward while pulling the front leg's hip back. Such a good stretch!
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