Parsvottanasana, Intense Hamstring or Side Stretch

parsvottanasanaIt’s Autumn Yoga Challenge time at Shree Yoga Taos, where the willing and the courageous are invited to challenge themselves to complete 21 yoga classes in 30 days. The challenge is an opportunity for students new and old to enjoy the ever-expanding boundaries of their bodies. As a result of taking the challenge the participant receives first and foremost the valuable reward of personal satisfaction upon completion of any amount of classes on their yoga adventure, and Shree also rewards them along the way. After completion of class seven the student receives a sticker with the tag line “Get Your Stretchy On.” The Autumn Yoga Challenge is a fine way to do just that, as is practicing Parsvottanasana, translated into English as Intense Hamstring or Side Stretch.

Begin in a standing forward fold and step the right leg back into a short lunge, and then straighten both legs. Turn your right toes out to 45 degrees and for more comfort widen your heels to hip distance apart. Inhale to lift and extend your spine forward while drawing your legs in toward one another and your hips back, making them square; this will also create equal length on both sides of your side body (the distance between your hips and armpits). Reaching your sitting bones back and upward, inhale to engage and lift your low belly toward your navel, this lower abdominal strength draws your tailbone downward and drops weight into both heels. Exhale to bow over your front leg.

Modifications include: blocks under hands, hands to elbows behind you, or hands in reverse prayer and heels narrower in distance.

Get your stretchy on while you hold for five to fifteen breaths, then repeat on the second side.

For more information about the Autumn Yoga Challenge, check out