, , , , , ,

Side plank pose (Vasisthasana) is a terrific way to build arm, wrist, shoulder, core and leg strength. As a balancing pose, it challenges you to develop greater stability and confidence while strengthening major muscle groups.

You can move into side plank from plank pose. You want to glue your legs together and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, stacking your left leg and foot on top. Then press down through the inner edge of your right hand and inhale your left arm up, stacking the shoulders and hips.

These four tips will help you perform the pose correctly for maximum benefit:

Lay a firm foundation

Your hand is the foundation to this pose. Press down into the floor through the inner edge of your hand, with your index finger is pointing forward.

Check your alignment

Your supporting hand should be just in front of its shoulder, so your arm is slightly angled relative to the floor. Straighten the arm by firming the triceps muscle, and press the base of the index finger firmly against the floor.

Activate each muscle group

The first and most important thing is to engage your muscles. Start with your core to ensure you are keeping your body in a straight line. Activating your legs grounds you through your feet and aids the balance, while your arms provide support and stability.

Keep a level head

When you extend your arm above your head to the ceiling keep it parallel to the line of your shoulders. Your head should stay level in a neutral position, or you can gently turn it to look up past your fingertips. However, this can challenge your balance at first though, so be sure you are confident in the pose before shifting your gaze.

Advanced tip

Once you are comfortable holding side plank for 20-30 seconds with your legs together you can increase the difficulty by raising your top leg so it is perpendicular to the floor.

Questions? Ask in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul