The Side Plank Pose, also known as Vasisthasana, or Lateral Inclined Plane Pose, is a challenging and powerful arm balance yoga pose that builds strengthens in the wrist while incorporating the abdomen, legs, and arms and increase balance.
When you practice this yoga pose, your mind remains calm and relaxed. But when you are de-stressing, your arms and shoulders are creating strength through this yoga pose. This yoga posture is also called one arm balance pose.
This powerful yoga pose also helps you develop inner strength. While doing this yoga pose, remember to align your body perfectly. Keep the feet on top of each other. When you use the support of the wall to practice this yoga pose, you will be able to understand how the body weight is distributed while staying in Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana.
The name Vasisthasana came from the Sanskrit name of two words — Vasistha + Asana:
- “Vasistha” = “wealthy, or most excellent, or best”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
This word means spiritual contentment that those on the path of yogic can attain. The word “Vasistha” appears as the name of many sages in the Yoga tradition. This asana honors all Vasistha sages including an array of rishis (sages) and Prajapatis (lord of the creation).
Vasistha was one of the most revered saints among the Saptarishis (seven seers) and also one of the chief authors of the Mandala 7. In a story by Vasistha, he was the proud owner of a famous wish-granting cow named Nandini which helped Vasishta gain vast wealth. Although the Sanskrit translation of this asana is “Sage Vasistha’s pose”, the common translation of this asana is “Side Plank Pose”. Thus, this yoga asana is sometimes referred to as the “Sage Pose”. It is the powerhouse of health, and hence, it is named after Vasistha.
|Also known as:||Lateral Inclined Plane Pose, Side Plank Pose, Vasisthasana, Lateral Inclined Plank Pose, Sage Vasistha’s Pose, One Arm Balancing Pose|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Drishti:||Up toward raised hand;|
Down at bottom hand
|Counterpose:||Balasana, Parighasana, Janu sirsasana|
|Preparatory poses:||Downward Dog Pose, Half Moon Pose, Plank Pose, Wide Stance Forward Bend Pose, Reclining Hand to Big Toe pose (Supine Hand to Toe pose), Reclined Hero Pose|
|Follow-up poses:||Extended Side Angle Pose, Extended triangle pose, Downward-Facing Tree Pose (Handstand), Downward-facing Dog Pose, Low Plank Pose (Four-Limbed Staff pose), Dolphin Plank Pose (Forearm Plank Pose), Headstand, Warrior 2|
|Contraindications:||Elbow, shoulder, or wrist injury, Tendonitis, Carpal tunnel syndrome|
Benefits of Side Plank – Vasisthasana (Lateral Inclined Plane Pose)
Unlike many arm balance yoga poses, Side Plank – Vasisthasana (Lateral Inclined Plane Pose) is a side arm balance pose and comes with some benefits in addition to preparing the body for a more challenging arm balance pose. Given below are physical and mental benefits:
- Physical Benefits:
- Strengthens the legs, arms, shoulders, and wrists
- Lengthens the spine
- Improves balance
- Builds core strength
- Stretches the wrists
- Mental Benefits:
- Develops focus
- Relieves stress
- Improves concentration
Step by step Side Plank – Vasisthasana (Lateral Inclined Plane Pose)
- Start in a Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Stand on the hands and knees with your shoulders directly above the hands and your hips above the knees. Press the hips straight up until both legs and arms are straight. Let the neck continue the straight line of your back from hips to head, breathe deeply and slowly.
- Transition into the Plank Pose: Lower the hips until the body is straight from head to heels. Set the feet together until the big toes touch. Flex the feet, sending the heels down away from the body.
- Shift the right palm slightly to the left, until it is beneath where the center the body was. Keep the left fingers on the ground to help you balance.
- Shift the weight onto the outside of the right foot and slowly turn the body to the right. Stack the left foot atop the right foot.
- Tuck the pelvis and on an inhale, open the chest as you raise your left arm. You can stop with the hand on the waist, or you can continue the stretch until the arm is pointing straight toward the sky. Keep the head and neck on a straight line with the rest of your spine; do not drop your head on the shoulder. Your head will be in line with the heart and the pelvis and the body will be a straight diagonal line from the crown of your head all the way to the feet.
- After a couple breaths, breath out, and lower your left arm as you roll the straight body back into a plank position and plant your arms shoulder width apart. Raise the hips to return to Downward-Facing Dog Pose and rest there, breathing deeply and steadily.
- Repeat this whole process with other side.
Modifying Side Plank – Vasisthasana (Lateral Inclined Plane Pose)
1. Using chair
- When planing the side, support the chair to give comfort to your side body.
- This makes this yoga pose easier and requires less strength.
2. Using ball
- You can also use a ball instead of a chair.
- Roll the ball with a plank posture, rest the side on it.
3. Yoga strap
- If holding the toes in the side plank is bothering you, tie a strap around your protruding big toe.
- You can then hold the strap to stretch your arm as well as pull your leg up.
4. Against the wall
- Beginners find the best support to a wall.
- Perform a Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana near a wall, as you roll to one side and press the back and heel towards the wall.
- This adds support for holding the pose.
5 variations of Side Plank – Vasisthasana (Lateral Inclined Plane Pose)
1. Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana Twist
- From the standing position, bend your left knee to place your left foot on the floor.
- Your legs are crossed so that your left leg is next to your right thigh and your right leg is placed directly in your vest.
- Raise your left arm up and move the gaze towards your raised hand.
2. Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana Variation Tree Leg
- After keeping your left foot to your right, place your left foot on top of your right thigh.
- Raise your left arm towards the ceiling and look at the left hand.
3. Forearm Side Plank Pose
- Start with the Forearm Plank Pose, take your right forearm and keep it parallel to the front edge of the mat.
- Tie your left foot to the floor from the outer edge of your right foot to the right.
- Raise your left arm off the floor and extend it towards the ceiling opening your chest to the left.
4. Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana Variation Raised The Leg
- Straighten your left leg with your toes on the floor from the tabletop position.
- Bring your left hand to your hip.
- Raise your right foot off the floor while balancing on your right hand and slowly straighten your knee.
- Spread your right leg forward and your right hand to the ceiling.
5. Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana Crunch
- From the Side Plank Pose or Vasisthasana with your left leg over the right, lift your left leg and bend your knee.
- Rest your left elbow on the left knee with a forearm extended upward.
Some precautions are to keep in mind with the practice of Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana, which are given below:
Individuals with injuries to the wrist, elbow, shoulders, neck, hips, back, knees, or ankles should avoid the practice of this yoga pose. Any injury to the muscles of the legs, back, arms, and Individuals should avoid it.
Individuals recovering from abdominal surgery, or surgeries of any other nature, should be cautious and informed to the teacher/instructor and refrain from practicing Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana. Unless advised by doctors, it should be done under the guidance of a yoga teacher/instructor.
3. Shoulder or herniated disc or rheumatoid arthritis issues
Since this yoga asana puts pressure on the waist and upper body of the shoulder, chest, rib cage, shoulder or herniated disc, or issues associated with rheumatoid arthritis are all contraindications and should be avoided until full recovery.
4. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, bursitis problems
Issues of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, bursitis, etc. should be taken seriously and the practice of this yoga pose should be avoided.
5. Pregnant women
Pregnant women practicing Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana should do so with proper care and use a block for the arm to provide better support and balance.
6. Body control and breathing
Care should be taken by individuals who have yet to take control of their bodies and learn to balance with awareness. Initial practice under such cases can be done with the support of the wall.
Body control, breath awareness, core stability, hip stability, knowing how to change chest breathing from abdominal breathing to chest breathing while getting into the asana and getting out, to get the best from this amazing arm balance posture All are important. Therefore, individuals should be take care this while practicing Side Plank Pose – Vasisthasana for their benefit.
Was this article helpful?
Written by Anjali Kumari. She is a certified yoga instructor, Diploma in Make up, Nails and Beauty, Diploma in Nutrition, Food, Science and Menu Planning. Anjali is the destination of choice for the latest updates, tips and resources in beauty, health and wellness, and all topics that mean the most to today’s woman. Whether it’s advice from a trusted expert or a DIY tutorial, she has it all. She is passionate and obsessive about science and how it can be applied in daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine and proper nutrition is the key to achieving good health and beauty. When she is not working, she likes to spend quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and healthy choices for foods to promote good health.