If pyramid pose is not a part of your normal yoga practice, it can be a potent addition if you are seeking a pose that simultaneously opens the backs of the legs, the side body, and the hips, all while improving balance. In Sanskrit, pyramid pose is called “parsvottanasana,” which translates literally as “intense side stretch pose.” This asana is relatively simple to get into: begin by placing the feet three to four feet apart with the front toes facing forward and the back left toes pointing at a 45-degree angle. Next, place the hands on the hips, pulling the front hip back and squaring the hips toward the front of your mat. Keeping the hips square, release the hands and begin to melt forward, leading with the heart, toward the front foot.
Remember to breathe in this pose, as the gentle pulse of the breath can help guide you deeper into the forward bend. In addition to a stretch along the side body and the backs of the legs, some practitioners may feel release in the muscles along the outside of the shin. Runners often experience tightness in these muscles, and few asanas stretch them as effectively as pyramid pose. If you don’t feel the stretch along the shin, try pulling the front hip back an extra inch, or consider backtracking and spending some more time opening the backs of the legs before returning to pyramid pose.