How do you assume the side plank pose in Ashtanga yoga?


Quick Answer

Also known as Vasisthasana, the plank pose of Ashtanga yoga requires powerful arm balance. The plank pose is used to strengthen the wrists, forearms, shoulders, spine and abdominal muscles. The plank pose is also used to improve balance and focus.

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Full Answer

  1. Go to the starting position

    Begin in the downward-facing dog pose. Lower your hips into the plank pose. Keep your palms flat, your body extended and your legs reaching through your heels.

  2. Shift your weight to one side

    Push your feet together and shift your weight to your right side. Roll to the right side, so your body weight is balancing on your right arm and the edge of your right foot. Stack your left leg on top of your right leg. Keep your entire body straight.

  3. Extend your arm

    Extend your left arm towards the ceiling. Lift your hips and flex your shoulder blades and thighs.

  4. Keep your balance

    To keep your balance, gaze at your left thumb while pushing your weight through your right index finger. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.

  5. Return to downward-facing dog

    While exhaling, slowly return to the plank pose. Then, return to the downward-facing dog pose. Repeat the side plank pose on your opposite side.

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