A great source for Yoga Postures by Mark Giubarelli.
Yoga posture – Parsvottanasana
Translation: Intense Side Stretch Pose
Step the legs apart then step one leg out a little so they are hip width apart and the distance between them looks similar to that shown opposite.
Interlock the fingers behind the back and extend the arms up and stretch the shoulders back.
While in the posture lengthen through the belly and chest. This will allow more space for breathing.
The hips are in good horizontal alignment when the legs are close.
Increasing the distance opens the hips and increases the stretch in many areas especially in the lower back. The side of the body begins to look and feel a little compressed when the distance between the legs is increased too much. It gets harder to place the outside of the back legs heel on the mat.
Balance is sometimes hard especially when entering the posture. Use the pinky toe and the big toe for stabilizing the body when entering and while in this posture.
Weight usually shifts on the surface area of the feet when this yoga posture is entered. In the front foot the weight and forces will move outwards. To prevent this rotate it inwards.
Push energy through the outer heel in the back foot. Weight usually moves to the inner front part of the back foot.
The hamstring muscles are stretched in the leading leg (the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and the semimembranosus).
Anterior muscles in the shoulders are stretched.
Muscles in the lower back are stretched.
Yoga Teacher Tips
It is nice to exhale into this yoga posture. You may want to instruct this
first then the basic actions involved in entering the pose.
“There are lots of really nice variations of this posture. One of my favorite
ways is to hook one arm over the leg that’s in front and place the palms
together on prayer position.”