Time for another Tuesday Tip of the Day. It's a breakdown for Pyramid Pose. This pose is also known as “intense side stretch”— as that is the literal meaning of it’s sanskrit name of Parsvottanasana.
I find it’s easiest to start out in Warrior 1, as that helps the hips to stay aligned in this pose. From Warrior 1, step your back foot in about halfway so that you can straighten out your front knee (without locking it out; keep a tiny bend in it). Keep your hips facing forward as you place your hands on your hips and hinge forward.
Notice where your body naturally comes to; that’s where you should stay for today. You can let your hands come down to rest wherever they naturally fall. That can be the ground or a yoga block or resting on your leg. Stay here for a few breaths, breathing through it.
Keep your back heel down and your hips squared to the floor (it should feel as though you could place a tray on your hips and it wouldn’t fall off to one side or the other).
If it feels right (and your back heel can stay down and your hips stay squared to the floor), breath, and on the exhale, let your body lower down a little deeper into the pose, bringing your upper body a bit closer to your front leg. Never force it.
This pose stretches the spine, hips and hamstrings. It strengthens the legs and can improve your balance. With your head below your heart, it helps to calm the mind. It also stimulates your abdominal organs and improves digestion.