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side plank pose (vasisthasana)

by May 29, 2012

Side Plank Pose, or Vasisthasana in Sanskrit, is an arm balancing pose that takes a lot of strength to begin. It’s best to build some core and arm strength before performing this pose, or you can begin with one knee down.

It’s also a good idea to stretch your wrists before practicing this pose.  If you have problems with your shoulders, wrists or elbows, stay away from this pose or try a modified version, such as:

  • take the knee down point the toes and bring the shin flat on the ground/mat
  • stagger your feet in a line instead of stacking them one on top of the other
  • placing the foot of the top leg flat on the floor crossed in front of the bottom knee

Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana) 

Begin by going into regular Plank Pose. From there, shift your weight to your left side, turning your left foot so the outer edge of it is against the floor and putting the weight on that foot. You’ll put your right foot on top of the left one (unless you are using a modified technique above…).

Turn your hips and torso to the right to go with your foot, shifting your weight into the left arm as well as the left foot. Now bring your right arm off the ground and straight up into the air. Use your core muscles to hold yourself steady, with your body in a straight diagonal line. Keep your neck and head in line with your spine and take the gaze to the right hand. Your wrist should be right under your shoulder, with your hand slightly forward from it. Keep your arm straight without overextending your elbow (maybe just put a little micro bend in the arm to protect the joint). Use your hand and fingers to help support the weight of your body (hasta bandha)

Focus on keeping your hips high so your body stays in that straight line, and on keeping your hips from going forward or twisting.

♦ Take this pose further by lifting the hips and creating a side bow. The higher the hips go the more the serratus muscles are working. Lift the outside leg and flex the foot to create an “X” like symbol with your body. If you can accomplish the following then you should be able to get the bottom foot flat on the floor.

Hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds, while breathing normally. Then, go back into Plank Pose and from there, switch to the right side. If you need to, you can take a break into Child’s Pose from Plank Pose in between switching sides or perform a vinyasa if you like.

Benefits:

Strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, abdominal muscles, back, thighs and buttocks
Improves balance and posture
Strengthens the bones

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