Side Plank Pose • Vasisthasana

  • Neesha Zollinger

STEP 1 - Begin in plank pose. Without collapsing your abdominals toward the floor, draw your shoulder blades closer together on your back so that your collarbones are wide to the floor. Join your legs together and squeeze them together. Now shift onto your left hand and the pinky toe side of your left foot keeping your legs stacked. Stretch your right arm up. Use the power of your legs squeezing together to lift your legs and hips upward and continue drawing your shoulder blades onto your back to turn your belly, chest, and gaze up toward the sky or back behind you.

STEP 2 - Reach from your pelvis out through the core lines of your legs to root the soles of your feet towards the ground for greater stability. From here you can practice creative variations of the top leg. The classic next phase is to bend your right knee and catch your right foot with your right hand. With an inhale, press your inner thighs back and broaden the back of your pelvis. Extend your right leg straight out in front of you. Root your tailbone, pull your buttocks flesh toward your heels and extend your right leg up to the sky.

STEP 3 - Push from your pelvis down into your left foot to soar up toward the sky with your right leg. Re-engage the action of your upper arm bones externally rotating to take this pose into an upper back curl. The key to this pose is using the power of the legs as well as locating deep integration of the arm bone into the shoulder socket and power through the back body.

Target Area:

Hands, Arms, Shoulders, Legs

Therapeutic Focus:

Improves balance and creates greater awareness in proper hand placement and action.

Props & Modifications:

For a modified version of the pose, begin by kneeling on all fours with the creases of your wrists parallel to the front of your mat. Spread your fingers evenly, and root down your fingers by pressing all 10 fingers and the four corners of your palms down. Maintain this integrity of the hands for the safety of your wrists in this and all poses that place weight on your hands. Keeping this firm handprint, spiral your arms into the middle and maintain the forearm inward spiral as you simultaneously roll your upper arm bones out, drawing your shoulder blades on your back without collapsing in your back body. Holding steady, take inhale and come to downward-facing dog.

Then come forward to plank keeping your hands engaged. Step your right foot about 12 to 16 inches forward. Shift onto your left hand, the pinky toe side of your left foot and turn your right toes to face the right side of your mat as well. Stretch your right arm up toward the sky. Bring power to your legs and press your right foot down. Use the strength of your left leg to lift your left leg up away from the floor so that the hips do not sag down. 

For the extended version of the full pose, use a strap around the foot if you are unable to grasp the foot with the hand.