Asana Focus Of The Month: Parsvottonasana

I found this old picture - notice the wider stance and the back foot - this is exactly where I was corrected today. Thanks Monica!!!

This week in my own practice with Monica Marinoni, I was enlightened into the full expression of Parsvottonasana.   My stance was widened and my back foot was opened to an 85 degree angle, a completely new experience for me.


– Eliminates bad fat at the waist.

– Stretches spine, legs, and waist.

– Calming to the mind.

– Prepares for seated poses

– Excellent preliminary pose to various other poses in an asana practice.

To Begin:

– Start at standing/tadasana/samasthiti take a wide step to the right – 3 feet (many times you see this pose and the stance is too narrow).  3 FEET gives you the benefit of stretching both legs proportionately.

– Pivot the right foot so that the toes are pointing to the right and ball and the heel of the front foot is firmly planted.  Your backfoot will be 85 degrees to the front foot and the alignment will be – heel of the front foot to the arch of the back foot. Turn your torso to square your hips and shoulders to the right so that you are  in line with right knee and toes.

-Arms will reach behind to go into reverse prayer – if this is NOT a possibility (TODAY) – I like to recommend going fist to fist to help draw open the shoulders, or you can grab opposite elbows, or even grab opposite wrist as is shown in above image.  (You can also bring arms/hands to either side of the front foot, perhaps slightly behind, after you fold down – however, if you want more of a shoulder stretch bring arms behind you in mentioned options).

– As you inhale draw the tail bone down, lift and open the chest creating length in the spine, exhale the breath as you bend forward, extending the spine, drawing your chest toward your front thigh, and the forehead to the knee (or to your intelligent edge).  Press into the ball of the front foot (particularly below the base of the big toe) and the heel of the front foot.  Protect your knee joint by engaging the quadriceps of both legs and and lifting the kneecaps – keeping the knees slightly soft, and lifting the arches of both feet.

– Tip:  As you exhale down notice how the weight may distribute to the front leg, see if you can evenly distribute weight to both front/foot and back leg/foot – this may mean you don’t come down into full forward fold as your back hamstring may prevent this.  You will benefit from observing this and coming to your intelligent edge and breathing at that point – versus trying to just come into the full fold with all the weight on the front leg.  You can also position yourself so your hands reach a wall and you can support yourself at a halfway point (or even use a chair to put your hands on).

– Notice the back leg and continue to press into the ball and heel of the back foot.

– If your forehead is comfortably drawn to the knee or shin – go ahead and draw the chin to the shin or knee to extend the cervical spine.

– Keep leading with the sternum.  “If you had a flashlight in the middle of the chest it should be shining to the toes of the right foot”, as per David Swenson’s practice manual.  Let each inhale be an opportunity to lengthen and each exhale an opportunity to find space in the pose.

– Breath steadily and deeply here for 5 -10 breaths.

– To exit the pose – Exhale your breath completely and use the inhale and strength in the waist to rise to standing.

-Pivot the feet and repeat on the other side.