Vasisthasana (Side Plank)
In Sanskrit Vasistha means the most excellent sage. This asana I thus dedicated to Vasistha. This asana is also known as the Side Plank since it is performed as balance on one arm and the side of the foot and can be performed as follows;
- Begin by standing in Tadasana or the mountain pose.
- Bend forwards and walk your legs back as if you were assuming the downward facing dog pose or the Adho Mukha Svanasana.
- Now begin turning your body sideways by rolling the left hip up until the pelvis is perpendicular to the floor. Slowly position your left leg so that it lies on top of your right leg and bring up your left arm so that your left palm rests on your left hip.
- In this way your right arm should be at an angle with the palm slightly forwards from the shoulder. The weight is kept on the outer side of the right foot and by the right arm.
- The spine must be aligned so that your body makes a straight line from the top of your head to your feet.
- As you roll to your right side, the shoulder blades stay close to the body. Making your spine actively extended and firm. Avoid sagging in the hip area and keep the body in an active line.
- As you revolve your left sides upwards toward the ceiling maintain a complete extension of from the top of your head, through your torso, and your legs.
- Always remember that your hand and foot (or hand, foot and knee depending on which version you are doing) are in a line on the floor. Keeping your abdominal muscles active this helps you to get the balance in this pose.
- Then you can grasp the toe of the outside top foot (your left in this case) and lift it up. Fully extend your raised leg and arm as you keep alignment of your body paying special attention to your head and neck.
- After a few breaths, exhale and let go of the top arm. Now revolve by returning both legs and hands to the floor. Repeat the pose on your left side.
- One can also rest in child’s pose (Balasana) on your knees between sides.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Brings about the stretching of arms, legs and shoulders.
- Sense of balance is improved.
- Wrists are strengthened.
- Tones up the whole body.
- Builds focus and concentration.
- When practiced regularly it enhances the stamina, determination, and will power.
- It provides exercise to the legs and tones up the lower back.
- Strengthens the abdomen.
The precautionary measures that are to be followed in this asana are:
- Individuals suffering from serious or chronic injury to wrist, elbow, or shoulder should not practice it.
- Should also not be practiced if you are suffering an injury of hips and ankles.