May 20, 2024 9 min read

Yoga is a beautiful way to connect with your body and mind. One pose that can help you build strength and balance is the Side Plank Pose, also known as Vasisthasana.

This pose is great for beginners and seasoned yogis, offering a range of benefits for your body and mind. In this guide, we'll explore how to do the Side Plank Pose, its benefits, modifications, and more.

Side Plank Pose

Side Plank Pose

Side Plank Pose, or Vasisthasana, is a yoga pose that strengthens the arms, wrists, and legs while toning the abdomen. It also improves balance and concentration. The pose is named after the sage Vasistha, who was known for his spiritual wisdom.

How to Do Side Plank Pose in Yoga

How to Do Side Plank Pose in Yoga

To perform the Side Plank Pose in yoga, also known as Vasisthasana, follow these steps:

1. Starting Position

Begin by coming into a plank position. Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders on the mat, with your fingers spread wide for stability. Straighten your legs behind you, ensuring your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Activate your core muscles to stabilize and support your spine.

2. Shift Weight

Transfer your body's weight to your right hand and the outer edge of your right foot. Keep your left foot stacked on top of your right foot. Your body should be balanced on the side of your right foot and hand.

3. Lift Hips

Elevate your hips towards the ceiling, aligning your body into a straight line from heels to head. Utilize your core muscles to maintain stability in this posture.

4. Extend Arm

Extend your left arm straight up towards the ceiling, perpendicular to the floor. Your shoulders should be stacked on top of each other, and your gaze should be directed towards your lifted hand or towards the front of the room for balance.

5. Hold Pose

Hold the Side Plank Pose for 15-30 seconds, breathing deeply and maintaining proper alignment. Concentrate on maintaining a straight alignment of your body while actively engaging your core and leg muscles to enhance stability.

6. Repeat on the Other Side

After holding the pose on one side, carefully lower your left hand and foot back to the mat. Return to the plank position before switching sides. Repeat the steps, this time shifting your weight onto your left hand and foot and extending your right arm towards the ceiling.

7. Practice Mindfully

Listen to your body and adjust as needed as you practice Side Plank Pose. If you feel any strain or discomfort, come out of the pose and take a break. It's essential to maintain proper alignment and not push yourself beyond your limits.

8. Breathe

As you hold the Side Plank Pose, it's important to maintain a steady and deep breath. Deep, controlled breathing can enhance your focus and relaxation during the pose, helping you to stay present and calm.

By practicing Side Plank Pose regularly, you can strengthen your arms, wrists, and core muscles, improve your balance and concentration, and enhance your overall yoga practice.

Start with shorter holds and gradually increase the duration as you build strength and confidence in the pose. Remember to wear comfortable attire like flared leg yoga pants pants to facilitate ease of movement during your practice.

Beginners’ Tips

Beginners’ Tips

For beginners Side Plank Pose in yoga, here are some helpful tips to get started:

1. Build Core Strength

Before attempting the Side Plank Pose, it's beneficial to strengthen your core muscles. Engage in fundamental poses such as the plank to cultivate stability and fortify the muscles of your abdomen, lower back, and shoulders.

2. Use Support

If you're finding it challenging to balance in the Side Plank Pose, utilize tools such as a yoga block or a neatly folded blanket to provide additional support. Place the block under your lower hand to provide extra stability and make the pose more accessible.

3. Start Slow

Begin with shorter holds in the Side Plank Pose, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and confidence. Aim for 5-10 seconds initially and gradually work your way up to longer holds as you feel more comfortable in the pose.

4. Focus on Alignment

To avoid strain or injury in the side plank pose, pay attention to proper alignment. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, with your shoulders stacked over your wrist and your hips lifted. Activate your core muscles to provide support for your spine and uphold stability.

5. Gaze

Find a focal point to gaze at during the Side Plank Pose. Keeping your gaze steady can help improve your balance and concentration. You can look towards your lifted hand or towards the front of the room.

6. Listen to Your Body

As you practice, listen to your body and honor its limitations. If you experience any discomfort or strain, gently exit the pose and give yourself a rest. It's important to practice with awareness and avoid pushing yourself too hard.

7. Be Patient

Like any yoga pose, mastering the Side Plank takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and celebrate your progress along the way. With consistent practice, you'll gradually build strength, stability, and confidence in the pose.

By incorporating these beginners' tips into your practice, you can safely and effectively explore the Side Plank Pose and experience its many benefits for the body and mind.

Whether you're wearing traditional yoga attire or sporting trendy flare exercise pants, these guidelines will help you navigate the pose with confidence and derive its full advantages.

What are the Benefits of a Side Plank?

What are the Benefits of a Side Plank?

The Side Plank Pose, or Vasisthasana, offers many benefits for the body and mind. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Strengthens Core Muscles

The Side Plank Pose focuses on strengthening the core muscles, including the obliques, abdominals, and lower back.

By holding the body in a side plank position, these muscles are engaged to stabilize the spine and pelvis, helping to build strength and stability in the core.

2. Improves Balance and Stability

Balancing on the one hand and the outer edge of one foot challenges your stability and balance. Engaging in Side Plank Pose enhances proprioception, which is the body's awareness of its position in space.

This pose also strengthens the muscles that play a crucial role in maintaining balance, making you more stable in everyday activities and other yoga poses.

3. Tones Arms and Shoulders

Holding your body weight on one arm strengthens the muscles of the arms, particularly the shoulders, triceps, and wrists. This can enhance strength in the upper body and sculpt the muscles of the arms and shoulders.

4. Stretches and Strengthens Legs

While the focus of the Side Plank Pose is on the upper body, the muscles of the legs, including the quadriceps and outer hip, are also engaged to support the body in the pose. This can help improve leg strength and flexibility.

5. Enhances Concentration

Balancing in a Side Plank Pose requires concentration and focus. As you hold the pose, you must stay present and aware of your body and breath, which calm the mind and improve mental focus and concentration.

6. Stimulates Digestion

Side Plank Pose stimulates the digestive organs, including the stomach, intestines, and liver. The gentle compression of the abdominal organs in the pose may aid in digestion and help relieve digestive discomfort.

7. Improves Posture

Engaging in Side Plank Pose fosters correct alignment and posture by fortifying the muscles responsible for supporting the spine and pelvis. With regular practice, this leads to better overall posture and a decreased risk of experiencing back pain and injuries.

Incorporating Side Plank Pose into your practice provides these benefits of side plank and adds a touch of style with vibrant green and black leggings. So, strike a pose and reap the rewards – physically and fashionably!

Modifications & Variations

Modifications & Variations

Modifications and variations of the Side Plank Pose, or Vasisthasana, allow practitioners to adapt the pose to their level of strength, flexibility, and experience. Here are some modifications and variations to consider:

1. Modified Side Plank

For beginners or those working on building strength, start with the modified version of the pose. Instead of balancing on one hand and the outer edge of the foot, lower the bottom knee to the mat for added stability.

This variation reduces the weight you have to support, making the pose more accessible.

2. Supported Side Plank

Use a yoga block or a stack of books under your bottom hand to provide additional support and stability. This can be especially helpful if you have wrist issues or find it challenging to balance in the pose.

3. Extended Side Plank

To add intensity to the pose, extend the top arm overhead, reaching it towards the front of the room. This variation increases the stretch along the side of the body and engages the muscles of the upper body and core even more.

4. Leg Variation

Lift the top leg towards the ceiling in the Extended Side Plank Pose to further challenge your balance and strength. Keep the leg straight and engage the muscles of the outer hip and thigh to support the lift.

5. Forearm Side Plank

Instead of balancing on your hand, come into Side Plank Pose on your forearm. This variation reduces the strain on the wrist and can be more comfortable for some practitioners.

6. Half Plank Yoga Pose

For a gentler variation, come onto your bottom knee and forearm, stacking your hips and shoulders.

This pose still engages the core and obliques while providing extra support.

7. Side Plank with Leg Lift

From the traditional Side Plank Pose, lift the top leg toward the ceiling while maintaining balance and stability.

This variation strengthens the outer hip and thigh muscles and improves hip mobility.

8. Side Plank with Rotation

Start in the Side Plank Pose and rotate your torso, reaching the top arm underneath your body and towards the floor.

This variation engages the obliques and challenges your stability and balance even more.

9. Bent Knee Variation

Bend the top knee and place the foot on the mat in front of you, creating a supportive base. This modification can help stabilize the pose and reduce strain on the hip and shoulder.

10. Wall Side Plank

Practice Side Plank Pose with your bottom hand against a wall for added support and stability. This variation lets you focus on alignment and building strength without worrying about balance.

Contraindications

Contraindications

While the Side Plank Pose, or Vasisthasana, offers numerous benefits, it may not suit everyone. Here are some contraindications to consider before practicing this pose:

1. Wrist Injuries

Side Plank Pose requires placing a significant amount of weight on the wrist of the supporting arm. If you have wrist pain or injuries, practicing this pose could exacerbate discomfort or strain the wrist further.

Consider modifying the pose or avoiding it altogether until your wrists have fully healed.

2. Shoulder Injuries

Balancing on one arm in Side Plank Pose can put strain on the shoulder joint. If you have a shoulder injury or instability, practicing this pose may aggravate the condition.

Opt for gentler shoulder-strengthening exercises or consult a healthcare professional before attempting Side Plank Pose.

3. Back Injuries

Side Plank Pose requires engaging the muscles of the core and lower back to maintain stability and alignment. If you have a history of back pain or injuries, especially in the lumbar spine.

Practicing this pose could exacerbate discomfort or strain the back muscles. Avoid Side Plank Pose or consult a physical therapist or yoga instructor for appropriate modifications.

4. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin increases joint laxity and can make balancing poses challenging. Side Plank Pose also puts pressure on the abdomen.

Which may not be comfortable or safe for pregnant individuals, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid intense abdominal exercises and poses that compress the belly, including Side Plank Pose.

5. High Blood Pressure

Holding inverted positions, such as Side Plank Pose, can temporarily increase blood pressure. People with high blood pressure (hypertension) should practice

Side Plank Pose with caution and refrain from holding it for extended periods. Consider practicing a modified version of the pose or omitting it from your practice if you have uncontrolled hypertension.

6. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Side Plank Pose involves wrist extension, which may exacerbate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. If you experience numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hands or wrists, avoid putting excessive pressure on the wrists in this pose.

Modify the pose by using props or practicing alternative exercises that don't aggravate carpal tunnel symptoms.

7. Recent Surgery

Before attempting Side Plank Pose, especially if you've recently had surgery on your wrists, shoulders, or abdomen, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider. Depending on the type of surgery and your recovery status, specific movements or weight-bearing exercises may be contraindicated.

It's essential to listen to your body and honor its limitations when practicing yoga. If you have any concerns or medical conditions.

consult a qualified healthcare professional or experienced yoga instructor before attempting Side Plank Pose or any other challenging yoga poses.

They provide personalized guidance and modifications to ensure a safe and beneficial practice.

Conclusion

The Side Plank Pose, or Vasisthasana, is a powerful yoga pose that can help you build strength, balance, and focus. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned yogi.

Incorporating this pose into your practice can offer a range of benefits for your body and mind. Remember to always listen to your body, practice mindfully, as well as enjoy the journey of mastering this empowering pose.

Green Apple activewear can enhance your Side Plank Pose experience with its supportive and flexible design. Crafted from eco-friendly materials, it provides comfort and breathability, allowing you to focus on proper alignment and balance.

The moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry, preventing slippage during the pose. With its durable construction, Green Apple activewear offers stability and confidence as you hold the pose.

Its stylish design adds motivation and flair to your yoga practice, inspiring you to explore your edge and master the Side Plank Pose with ease and grace.

Nikita Parihar
Nikita Parihar


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