Here are some of the reasons why Pyramid Pose is good for you
- Stretches the backside of the body
- Lengthens the spine
- Strengthens the legs and feet
- Increases circulation
- Stretches the hips and thighs
- Keeps the muscles of the back supple and flexible, preventing the possibility of injury
- Stretches the shoulders and arms
In order to do the Pyramid Pose correctly, here are the steps:
- Begin standing at the top of your mat, facing the short edge of the mat. Place your feet hip’s width apart.
- Step back about 3 feet’s distance with your left foot. Continue to maintain a hip’s width laterally between your feet. Your front knee can be bent here.
- Rotate your back foot out to 45-degrees.
- Square your hips to the short front edge of the mat.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine and engage your core. Raise your arms to the sky.
- Exhale, folding the torso forward over the front leg, lowering your hands to the ground.
- Let your hands rest on either side of your front foot for stability and support. Keep your hand’s shoulder’s width apart for best alignment.
- Push down through your right foot to straighten your right leg. Keep your back flat as you do so by engaging your core and opening your chest.
- Draw your feet toward each other to create a slight lifting sensation in your hips. Squeeze your right quadriceps to help stretch the hamstrings (back of the thigh).
- You will feel an active stretch in your hamstrings.
- Press both feet into the ground as you continue to lengthen your spine and engage your core.
- Repeat on the other side.
Do This, Not That! Common mistakes beginners make:
1. Collapsing the upper body:
Beginners sometimes find themselves slumping the upper body in this pose. While this still provides a stretch for the back of the body, it neglects the core-strengthening benefits and can lead to over-stretching in the low back. Support the backstretch by continuing to engage the core and lengthen the spine throughout the entire pose.
Another common mistake in forward bending poses, such as Pyramid Pose, is to round the back. This can overstretch the back and limit the stretch in the hips and thighs. Instead, hinge forward at your hips with your back flat, your spine lengthened, and your core engaged.
2. Letting the hips twist out of alignment:
Some beginners find it challenging to find the proper hip placement in Pyramid Pose. Those with tight hips and thighs may find the hips twisting toward the back leg to give a false sense of depth and stretch in the pose. However, this is not helpful as it cheats you out of the deep stretch of the hips and thighs that proper alignment gives. For best results, keep your hips squared to the front, short edge of the mat.
3. Raising shoulders toward the ears:
Another common mistake is to engage the shoulders over and to reach too far forward. It is better to pull your shoulder blades down and away from the ears and reach toward your ankles.
4. Having the feet too close to the midline:
Some people place the feet too close to the midline in this pose. It’s as if they are standing in a straight line with one foot directly in front of the other. This is incorrect. It is better alignment to keep your feet hip’s width apart so that your hips can stay squared forward. This also makes balancing much easier.
Props and Modifications
You should consider a modification if you experience the following:
- Excessive tightness and limited mobility in the hips and thighs.
- Excessive tension in the back
- Difficulty maintaining balance
1. Excessive tightness and limited mobility in the hips and thighs:
Adjust the length of your stance to accommodate tension in your hips and thighs. This will usually mean shortening the stance, but it could also mean taking a longer stance depending on your body. Adjust to fit your comfort level in your hips and legs.
Bending the front knee can take some strain out of the stretch if your hips and thighs are overly tight or inflexible. Only bend the knee as much as you need to to feel a stretch without pain.
You can also place blocks under your hands to decrease the intensity of the fold at the hips, decreasing the intensity of the stretch in the hips and legs. To do this, place two blocks on either side of your front foot. Adjust the height of the blocks to your particular needs, starting with the highest setting and decreasing height as you gain flexibility. As you fold forward, grip each block with your hands, and adjust them to be planted on the ground beneath your shoulders. The rest of the pose will be performed as instructed above.
2. Excessive tension in the back:
To alleviate excessive tension in the back during Pyramid Pose, make sure you are fully engaging your core for the duration of the pose. A strong and active core will support the back during the stretch of the fold.
You can also place a block under each hand to decrease the forward fold. To do this, place two blocks on either side of your front foot. Adjust the height of the blocks to your particular needs, starting with the highest setting and decreasing height as you gain flexibility. As you fold forward, grip each block with your hands and adjust them to be planted on the ground beneath your shoulders. The rest of the pose will be performed as instructed above.
For more severe back tension, you can set up a folding chair in front of you with a folded towel or blanket on the seat. As you fold forward, rest your forearms on the cushioned seat of the chair to decrease the intensity of the fold without losing the benefits of the stretch.
3. Difficulty maintaining balance:
First, make sure your feet are hip’s width apart. Having the feet too close to the midline can make balancing much more challenging.
You can also practice Pyramid Pose with a folding chair. Set up a folding chair in front of you with a folded towel or blanket on the seat. As you fold forward, rest your forearms on the cushioned seat of the chair. This provides additional support and stability without losing the benefits of the stretch.
Answers To Commonly Asked Questions
- When is Pyramid Pose contraindicated?
- How wide apart should my feet be in Pyramid Pose?
- What if I feel pain during Pyramid Pose?
1. When is Pyramid Pose contraindicated?
- Acute spinal injury, including bone spurs, disc issues, and fused vertebrae.
- Acute migraine or tension headache.
- Blood pressure disorders.
- Acute knee and hip injuries.
- Heart disease.
- Pregnancy – consult your healthcare provider.
2. How far forward should I bend in Pyramid Pose?
- You should only bend as far forward as you need to feel a good stretch while maintaining proper form. If you cannot fold all the way forward or can’t get your hands to the ground, modify the pose with one of the options from the section above.
3. How wide apart should my feet be in Pyramid Pose?
- Lengthwise, your feet will be roughly 3 feet apart. You can adjust this to fit your level of flexibility. Laterally, there should be a hip’s width between your feet so that you are not standing in a straight line.
4. What if I feel pain in my back or hamstrings during Pyramid Pose?
- If you feel pain during this pose, look to the modification section to find variations that will make you feel safer and more comfortable.