#30 Vasisthasana – Side Plank Pose

Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana) is a powerful yoga exercise or asana that aims at enhancing your arm balance. The Sanskrit term “Vasisth” refers to “best or most excellent sage.” As the level of excellence is an attribute of many sages, the Side Plank Pose is also referred to as the Sage Pose.

Yoga is not about touching your toes. It’s about unlocking your ideas about what you want, where you think you can go, and how you will achieve when you get there. — Cyndi Lee

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The challenge of this pose is not one of flexibility, but instead how to maintain the neutral alignment of the spine and legs and the simple positions of the arms against the action of gravity. The asymmetrical relationship to gravity means that muscles have to work asymmetrically to create a symmetrical alignment of the body — essentially tadasana turned on its side.

Steps:

  1. Front hand is under shoulder (as closed to stacked as possible), fingers spread and pointed towards front of mat.
  2. Vertically stacked shoulders. Think of one long line from top shoulder, through the shoulder blades, bottom shoulder and elbow, into the wrist.
  3. Long top line from ankle to shoulder. Imagine you can roll a marble from your top shoulder, down the ribs, past the top hips and knees, all the way to the top ankle.
  4. Hips lift away from the ground. Expand into the ribs.
  5. Chest can slightly rotate towards the ceiling. A little heart opening never hurt anyone.
  6. Two choices for bottom foot position: Ankles flexed OR foot planted. In both cases, that top foot is stacked as best as possible.
  7. Fully extended knees and elbows. Not locked, but fully engaged. You should feel like you’re growing in all directions, not balancing perilously atop a sweaty floor.
  8. Top arm can extend in line with bottom hand (towards the heavens) or along vector from the bottom ankle (towards where the wall meets the ceiling).
  9. BREATHE!!!!!!!

Side Plank Pose is an advanced pose in yoga, and hence, a beginner can find it difficult to master. A good beginner’s tip for the Side Plank Pose is to try to do this pose using the wall as a support. While performing Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog pose, you could also bend your legs for better support. You can also modify this pose by using your forearm as a support on the floor.

ALTERATIONS:

  • Take your upper leg into Tree pose – keep the hips lifted high and push through the extended (lower) leg to keep it strong
  • To come into the full variation of the pose exhale and bend your upper leg bringing the thigh towards the chest. Hook your big toe with your fingers, inhale and straighten your leg to the sky.

Benefits:

  • Builds arm and shoulder strength
  • Stretches and strengthens your wrists
  • Strengthens your abdomen and legs
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Improves focus and concentration

Caution:

  • Side Plank Pose or Vasisthasana is a powerful yoga exercise that can be done in varying levels of intensity.
  • Hence, you need to be physically fit to perform this asana.
  • Side Plank Pose precautions need to be exercised in case you are suffering from or recovering from an injury in your neck, shoulders, or ankles.
  • These are the parts of your body that need to take up the weight of your frame and hence, avoid this pose if you sustain an injury.

Hope you enjoyed!

See you tomorrow!!

Namaste

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