Side Plank Pose or Vasistasana helps to build strength in the body and focus in the mind and is an excellent preparatory pose for other arm balancing postures.
How to do it-
From Plank Pose, slowly bring your right hand closer to your left (to the center of the space between your hands when in Plank Pose). You want your hand to be directly underneath your shoulder.
Gradually turn your body towards the left side of your mat and bring your weight onto the outer edge of your right foot (the pinkie toe side).
Stack your left leg on top of your right, with the sides of your feet (big toe side) touching.
Engage the muscles in your legs and your core.
Gradually begin to raise your left arm up towards the sky, gazing towards your left hand when you have your balance, and if it feels OK for your neck.
Make sure your weight isn’t all in the bottom part of your palm. Try and bring your weight more into the fingers and out of the wrist area.
Stay here for 5 breaths.
To come out of the pose- on an exhale slowly bring your left hand back down to the mat and return to Plank Pose. Repeat on the other side.
Side Plank Pose strengthens the wrists, arms, legs and abdominal muscles.
Improves balance and concentration.
Prepares the body for more advanced arm balancing asanas.
For an easier version, bend your left leg and bring your left foot onto the ground in front of you. This helps to spread the weight of your body over three areas, rather than just two! Keep practicing this variation until you can stay for 5 breaths.
To take it further-
When you have mastered Vasistasana and would like more of a challenge, you can try these variations…
Try lifting your left leg up towards the sky (like a side plank star!)
Bend your left knee and take hold of your left big toe with your left middle and index finger. Then straighten your left leg, taking it up towards the sky (warning- you need quite open hips and loose hamstrings to try this variation!)
Do not attempt Side Plank pose if you have a wrist injury.