The full version of this pose is taught with the top leg raised perpendicular to the floor. Since that posture is too advanced for most beginners, we have a modified version told here that is suitable for any yogi.
To practice this pose with a licensed yoga teacher, check out our yoga class schedules at each branch of CNY Healing Arts (Rochester, Albany, Syracuse).
Getting Into Side Plank Pose:
Begin in Plank Pose. Lift your hips slightly up. Shift your weight onto your right arm as you roll onto the outside of your right foot, opening your whole body to the side. Keeping both feet flexed, stack your left foot on top of your right.
In this position, your legs should be kept very straight – so, press through your heels toward the floor. Your shoulders, hips and ankles should make one straight line. Do your best to stack your hips, knees, and ankles vertically on top of each other.
Reach your left arm straight up towards the sky, forming a line from your right wrist through your left fingers. Make sure that the supporting hand – your right hand, in this case – is not positioned directly below its shoulder. Keep the hand slightly in front of its shoulder.
Now, gaze up at your left fingertips and breathe steady and deep. Hold Vasisthasana for several breaths. To release, drop your raised arm to the floor and roll your body back into Plank Pose. If you like, rest in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) before repeating Side Plank to the left side for the same number of breaths.
Benefits of Side Plank Pose:
• Builds arm and shoulder strength
• Stretches and strengthens your wrists
• Strengthens your abdomen and legs
• Improves balance and coordination