Side Plank Variations

VASHISTASANA • MODIFICATIONS • TUTORIAL

SIDE PLANK

Extended Side plank variations

 [Click Below to listen to the Audio Version of “Extended Side Plank”]

There are definitely more ways than one to access a yoga posture. Not only that, but Matt is explicit about technique in order to unlock access. In an all-encompassing pose like Extended Side Plank—Vashistasana—there is a lot going on all at once. There are so many things that need to be digested when breaking it down. Even though this posture may be a physically challenging one, Matt breaks down how you can approach it both physically and intellectually. He shows you specifically what muscles to activate and what parts of the body to articulate. Extended Side Angle is one of those postures that recruits and demands so much of your effort and attention.   

When exploring the various entry points and different ways to execute the posture, it’s important to pay attention to the specifics of each variation. Matt outlines 2 variations in today’s tutorial. You’ll explore Extended Side Plank by utilizing a wall and another variation with a strap.

Within these explorations, you’ll see just how much body awareness is involved and how connected you need to be to your anatomy. Much more than just knowing your muscles and bones, it’s about understanding how to move and articulate each part of your body.

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    The Actions for Extended Side Plank, Variation at the Wall

    As always, it’s imperative to start your awareness from the ground up.

    Step 1 – Matt explains that the gripping of your hand into the mat activates the flexors of your wrist. This is important because now you are utilizing technique to activate strength and set a solid base for the posture.

    Step 2 – Next, we have spinal extension as a result of the shoulder blade moving into the spine. Matt emphasizes how necessary these actions are so that the rest of the posture can actually be expressed.

    Step 3 – This step is really connected to Step 2, as it’s important to take the steps of lifting your shoulder up, back, and around. We also see this in Matt’s Shoulder Alignment Tutorial for Wild Thing.

    Step 4 – Move your pelvis and weight in towards the wall.

    Step 5 – You can then bend your knee and bring your foot onto the wall.

    Step 6 – This step can take you to another level.
    Grab your knee and pull it in as tightly towards the chest as possible. If this is the final step in the journey at this time for you, Matt explains that the only thing missing is the extension of the leg, removing the quadricep engagement.

    How does this differ from the next variation?

    The Actions for Extended Side Plank, Variation with a Strap

    This one might actually be a bit more challenging, as the actions for entry are slightly different. You’ll see how Matt turns his body open before actually going into the backbend.

    Step 1 – Strap goes around your foot. 

    Step 2 – Come into Side Plank with kickstand.

    Step 3 – Lift your hips up and pull your knee into your chest as you turn 

    *Here he highlights the difference between the experience of this variation and of choosing to kick your leg out first and then kicking it upwards, which may make the hips feel too heavy.

    Step 4 – Once you have completed Step 3, the turn is done with a bent knee, with an option to now extend your leg fully.

    This order of entry may be far more accessible.

    Matt describes Extended Side Plank as the “full spectrum of body awareness.” This is evident from the actions that are taken in these variations.  

    Anatomy and actions involved:

    • strengthening of the wrists
    • rotator cuff muscles engaged due to the external rotation of the upper arm bone
    • depression and retraction of the scapula to mobilize the spine (bowing of the spine)
    • eversion of the ankle 
    • gluteus muscles engaged to press the feet down and get the hips lifted
    • extension of the knee joint to activate quadriceps

    There is the evidence of just how much focus, attention, and awareness is involved.

    Learn how to MASTER actions and awareness like this, not to mention the sharpening of your knowledge with anatomy, in Matt’s current immersion:

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    See you on the mat!

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    12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

    ANATOMY IN MOTION

    APRIL 2022 Immersion

    • Embody anatomy
    • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
    • Visualize your movements internally
    • Improve proprioception
    • Sensation-based practices
    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
    • Improve mobility and stability
    • Get VERY geeky

    $168.00

     

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