Vasisthasana – Side Plank Pose
Side plank is a great pose that can be done in two different ways, one is core and arm strengthening pose, the other is a heart opening pose. I find this pose to be very fun to practice and to play with all variations. The traditional full vasisthasana is a side plank with the top leg straight in the air and your holding your big toe of that leg. I find though, that it is such a versatile pose in that it can be done in so many ways for so many different purposes. One variation is done with the knee of the lower leg resting on the ground, this makes it less of an arm strengthening pose, but since you are using your knee to lean on, you are much more stable and therefore have more of an opportunity to lean back and open your core. This variation also gives you the freedom to play around with lifting the straight leg and trying many different shapes with that leg. The next variation is to be in a side plank with your forearm down rather than having your arm straight. One advantage of this pose is if you have sore wrists, you will be putting no strain onto the wrist. Another thing about this pose (you can look at it as an advantage of disadvantage) is that since you’re so much closer to the ground, you have to use your core a lot more to keep your hips from sagging to the ground. Another variation is to be in a side plank, but having the top leg bent adjacent to your body having foot resting on the ground in front of you. This makes the pose a little more stable, but also more challenging for your core than when your knee is down. The next variation is very similar, but you would have your legs stacked for the most part and just have the top foot rest just ahead of or behind your weight baring foot. A “normal” side plank would be to have your legs and feet completely stacked. From there you can play with lifting your top leg and keeping it in the air, or bringing your foot into tree pose, or grabbing your big toe and coming into “full vasisthasana”. Once you master side plank, you can play with doing different things with both legs. Also, one you create a deeper connection with your body, you can notice if you tend to hyper extend your weight baring elbow. You can play with having your hand stacked under your shoulder or having your hand a little more forward from your shoulder. You can notice if you tend to back bend or not and then trying doing whatever isn’t natural for you. So whatever it is, have fun with it and really try it out this month!