Pārśvottānāsana - Intense Side Stretch

  1. Stand with feet no wider than hip width.

  2. Bring your hands up your back to form a prayer position, with the little fingers closest to the back and thumbs furthest away.

  3. Raise them into the upper back in stages with the breath (less grasping more calm). Push the elbow joints towards one another and up. (Variation - where shoulder tightness inhibits: hold the upper arms immediately adjacent to the elbows/right hand holds left arm, left arm holds right)

  4. Step your feet apart into a wide stride (approximately 4 foot/1.2 metres, depending on height and stability).

  5. Turn your left toes steeply in (towards midline) and your right foot and leg out (away from midline), following the right foot and leg with the hips and torso.

  6. Keep abdominal muscles active and lift your breast bone.

  7. Keep upright from the outer hip joints; imagine two straight lines perpendicular to the floor, from the hips up the side ribs.

  8. Keep back body down.

  9. Centre yourself on the middle of your heel bones and ensure that the whole circumference of both heels is in even contact with the ground. Continue to decrease pressure on the heart/mind and allow your internal intuition to increase so that sensitivity spreads through the whole foot, make even contact then with the balls of the feet without disturbing the heels.

  10. Keep the right leg from collapsing by firming up the top of the thigh bone, keeping it deep into its socket.

  11. Inhale, lift from the right groin to the breast bone, extend over the groin, pivoting from both hips joints.

  12. Keep the chest extending away from the top of back leg (left) and the back leg extending away from front groin.

  13. Ascend the right knee cap as you descend and keep the thigh bone stable, as you stretch the chest away from your legs.

  14. Keep both knee caps lifted and outer hips in, stay even around the circumference of the heels do not collapse the foot arches.

  15. Extend the side ribs from the hips over the front leg.

  16. Release the head after the body has been extended to its present capacity then breathe calmly.

  17. Do not allow the outer hip on front leg (right) to stray from the midline. Keep the right arch lifted.

  18. Stay for 10-30 breathes and come up on the in breath, pivoting from the hip, lifting from the front (right) groin.

  19. Repeat on side two.