Side plank or Vasisthasana (vah-sish-TAHS-anna) in Sanskrit. Move from hate to love. I often cue, “Just go for it. Lift the top leg even if it is just an inch, so what if you lose your balance and fall. At least you tried!” Learn to modify the pose, don’t let your ego talk you out of it. If you have weak wrists, over-used wrists or a shoulder inquiry - skip it or learn to modify the pose. Be curious. Be open to learning. Discover the connection between your mind, body and spirit which is the true meaning of yoga.
Side plank strengthens the arms, abdominal muscles, legs and hips. It stretches and strengthens the wrists. It also improves balance, concentration, and focus.
Cautions: Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
1. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Stand strong with legs and core engaged. Remember this alignment when you come into plank and then side plank. This is known as True North Alignment.
2. From high plank, shift your weight onto the right hand and drop your heels to the right, resting on the pinky toe edge of the foot. Keep both feet flexed. Strongly engage your legs and core.
3. Raise the left arm straight up, keeping a wrist-to-wrist alignment. Spread your fingers wide on the supporting hand. Press the fingertip pads and knuckles of your hand firmly into the floor, as if pushing it away. This is the press-rebound effect.
4. You can look at the floor or straight ahead of you, gradually gazing up toward the thumb of your hand.
Hold for three to five breaths on the right side, and then repeat on the left side.
Variations or modification:
Make it easier – Drop to your forearm or drop to your knee. Keep hips lifted and work to build strength in the arms and torso.
Forearm Side Plank - Practice side plank on your forearm. Keep your elbow directly below your shoulder. Forearm side plan will strengthen the working side of your body while taking the weight off the wrist and hand. Keep both legs straight and engaged.
Make it harder – Side Plank with One Leg Lifted - Lift your upper leg any amount off of your lower leg. Keep both legs straight and engaged. Press your hips toward the ceiling. Its okay if your supporting arms wiggles, you are building strength!