Vasisthasana (Sanskrit) Side Plank Pose
Classification: Arm balance
• Strengthens the arms, belly, and legs
• Stretches and strengthens the wrists
• Stretches the backs of the legs (in the full version described below)
• Improves sense of balance
Contraindications and Cautions:
Students with serious wrist, elbow, or shoulder injuries should avoid practicing this pose.
Getting into the Pose:
1. Come into push-up (High Plank)position arms straight, hands a little forward of your shoulders.
2. Inhale activate your abdominals and bring the feet together, exhale and on income onto the right hand and the outer edge of the right foo (Make sure that the supporting hand isn’t directly below its shoulder; position the hand slightly in front of its shoulder, so the supporting arm is angled a bit relative to the floor)Straighten the arm by firming the triceps muscle, and press the base of the index finger firmly against the floor
3. Inhale turning your torso perpendicular to the ground, and on an exhalation extend your left arm and hand upwards showing your warrior courage 🏹with perseverance, drop your shoulder blades down your back, away from your ears and open your chest gazing forward to a Drishti.
4. Take around 5 Victorious Breath (Mouth closed with tip of the tongue touching the roof of your mouth inhaling and exhaling through your nose) or stay from 50 to 30 seconds and carefully like the Warrior (who never puts the guard down) transition out from the pose to the opposite side with elegance. Then return to Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog pose) for a few more breaths, and finally release into Balasana (child pose).
Beginners often have a difficult time sustaining this pose, even with the soles pressed to a wall.
Modifications and Props:
For increasing strength and stability of this pose, it’s helpful to work it with your soles pressing against a wall
If this is too challenging either: place the inner edge of your top foot and your bottom knee on the ground; or, bend your top knee and place that foot either behind or in front of the bottom leg. Both these options provide easier ways to work on the pose.
Deepening into the Pose:
The complete Vasishtasana includes extending the top leg towards the sky and holding the top big toe or foot with the top hand. To proceed to the full pose, bend your top leg and take hold of either: your big toe with your index and middle fingers; or, the outer edge of your foot with your four fingers; or, a strap wrapped around your foot.Bring your top leg towards straight upwards.
Start believing what you know in your heart to be right, trust your inner teacher, let go of doubts and fears. Trust your vision, wisdom and intuition.
Glenda Lee Santos; Humble Military and Yoga Warrior; RYT-200 hrs; Criminal Justice, BA; Holistic Practitioner with Foundation in Yoga and Ayurveda.
Yoga Anatomy/ Leslie Karminoff , Amy Mathews (2nd ed.)2012.
Journey Into Power/ Baron Baptiste ( Fireside ed.)
Smithsonian Human, The Definitive Visual Guide/Robert Winston, Dr. Don E Wilson
Courtesy of Semperlee Yoga Corp.
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