One legged Side Plank pose – Vasisthasana is a great combination of strength, balance and flexibility. The modification, with the top leg resting on the bottom leg, looks very simple, but was for me in the beginning really hard. It made me notice how little power I had in my core.
The modification is the first variation you should do. In this pose you can start playing with your balance, without having to do an extreme inversion as for example Peacock pose (Pinch Mayurasana). In One legged Side Plank you don’t have the fear factor of going upside down, but you do have to be aware how and where you move your weight. The modification helps you to find your balance and become aware of your body. Your core strength has to help you to hold this balance.
In the beginning your arm might tremble and you can have the sensation that you’re falling to the side, but overtime you will get the strength and find the right way to hold your body. To do this pose, you can’t just drop yourself into it. Your body will always move if your mind is not guiding it and staying steady itself.
Second option is lifting one leg and one arm. Your balance will change. If you get comfortable with this you can start grabbing your knee and see how that goes. Finally you can take hold off your big toe. What I find comfortable is stepping the leg I want to lift in front of me and from there lift the foot with the knee bend and slowly extend the leg. You want to have a nice extension in your leg. A good preparation for this pose is Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B).
How to do One legged Side Plank pose – Vasisthasana
- Start in plank
- Place your right hand in the middle line of your mat
- Place your right foot in the middle line of your mat; on the outside of your foot
- Place your left foot on top of your right and and ‘lift’ your pelvis. Your left arm can rest on your left side. Find your balance
- If you’re comfortable see if you can lift up your left leg and your left arm
- If you’re still comfortable step your left foot in front of you, grab hold of your left big toe and bring your foot up. See if you can straighten your left leg, while keeping your balance
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds until a minute
- Bend your left leg, bring it back on top of your right and roll back in plank
- Do the same on the other side
Benefits One legged Side Plank pose – Vasisthasana
- Strengthens arms, wrists, abdominal muscles, lower back muscles and legs
- Stretches hamstrings of the raised leg
- Improves balance
Contraindications One legged Side Plank pose – Vasisthasana
- Wrist, arm and shoulder injuries
- Ankle injuries
Source: Light on Yoga – BKS Iyengar; Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long; Ashtanga – David Swenson; Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Want more? Check out our library of yoga poses