[Pose Of the Week] Full Side Plank Pose (Advanced)

Improve balance & flexibility, strengthen your entire body, & build focus in Full Side Plank Pose…

Full Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana) – also known as Side Plank Pose or The Sage Vasistha’s Pose or Parsva Phalakasana – is an intermediate-to-advanced level yoga pose that requires balance, strength, and flexibility. Side Plank strengthens pretty much the entire body, from the arms, shoulders, back muscles, and core, to the legs, ankles, and wrists, as well as the oblique abdominal muscles. It also stretches the hamstrings, legs, shoulders, and wrists, and helps to improve balance, focus, and concentration.

To modify the pose, if you have trouble balancing, you can bring your top foot to the floor, or practice near a wall. You can also practice this pose with your arm bent, resting on your forearm, and/or with a yoga strap around the raised foot if you need more support or aren’t flexible enough to reach the extended foot with your hand.

Those with wrist, elbow, or shoulder issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, herniated disc, or back, leg, or chest injuries should avoid this pose. If you have high blood pressure, be sure to keep your head higher than your heart in the pose.

How to Do Full Side Plank Pose:

  • Start in Phalakasana (Plank Pose).
  • Turn on your right foot so that your heel turns out to the right and the outer edge of your foot comes down to your mat.
  • Place your left leg on top of your right leg and squeeze your feet and legs together. See Modifications below for suggestions on how you can modify if you have trouble balancing here.
  • Push down through your right hand and foot, and engage the right side of your waist, lifting your hips a little. Bring your left hand onto your hip.
  • Stretch your left arm straight up so that it is stacked over your right arm.
  • Flare your toes on both feet to help activate your ankles and your adductors.
  • Squeeze your inner thighs together and tighten your glutes (butt) to open your hips.
  • Lift your chin out of your chest and lengthen through your whole torso.
  • Look up at your left hand. You can stay here or take the pose further. If staying here, come back to Phalakasana when ready, and practice the other side.
  • OR bend your left leg and bring your left knee in towards your chest.
  • Hold your left big toe with your first two fingers and thumb of your left hand.
  • Push your foot into your hand, and pull with your hand. Straighten your left leg up towards the ceiling.
  • This is full Vasisthasana. Stay here for a few breaths.
  • Come back to Plank Pose, take a few breaths, and then go to the second side.
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose) makes a good resting pose after practicing Side Plank. I recommend bringing your arms back by your sides so that your shoulders get a chance to rest.
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