Back Bends

Paryankasana (Couch Pose)

Couch Pose
Level: Intermediate

Paryanka = a bed, couch or litter.

For a more lifted and supported version, do the pose with a block under the back and a lower block under the head (shown below). You might also try it with a bolster/blankets across the back.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Come into Virasana (Hero Pose) and belt the legs so that the thighs do not slide too far apart and compress the back. When belting the legs, be sure to keep the knees a little bit apart, as much as the width of your hip joints, to leave room in the hip socket for the trunk to recline.
  2. Recline into Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose).
  3. Press the elbows into the ground, lift the back and rest the back of the crown on the floor.
  4. Bring the arms overhead and take hold of the elbows.
  5. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds, changing the crossing of the arms half way.
  6. Come out of the pose slowly and go into Child’s Pose, Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) or Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) to relieve the legs and lower back.

Practice Points

  • Lengthen the thighs towards the knees.
  • Widen the hip creases.
  • Soften and widen the buttock flesh, lengthening it towards the knees.
  • Narrow the sides of the waist and stretch them towards the head.
  • Widen the back ribs and lift them up towards the ceiling.
  • Widen the collarbones and loosen the shoulder blades away from each other.
  • Stretch evenly through the armpits.
  • Soften and widen the neck, throat and top chest.

Couch Pose on blocks