full side plank and modifications

Full Side Plank With Modifications

STEP BY STEP VASHISTHASANA BREAKDOWN

FULL SIDE PLANK

pFULL SIDE PLANK & MODIFICATIONS: VASHISTHASANA

USING THE WALL AS A PROP

Full Side Plank (Vashisthasana) has many modification options and variations to help make it more accessible or more challenging. I personally love teaching this posture with a foot on the wall to increase stability and provide a frame of reference for shifting the weight out of the hand and into the foot. 

Some people avoid the use of props thinking that they are a “crutch.” For sure, they could be used as a way to avoid challenges if that is your intention, but they could also be used as a way to increase body awareness and help you develop techniques. Props are neither good nor bad; it’s just a matter of how and why you are using them. Is it that you want to avoid challenges, or that you want to face the challenge intelligently and appropriately?

In the video tutorial below, I show how to modify side plank by placing a foot on the wall. This reduces the required balance and will allow you to focus on the foundations of the posture, like the strength of your hand and wrist: press thumb and pinky fingers into the ground. You can focus on the foot on the wall: attempt to press the instep of your foot into the wall. Eventually, you will be able to place the whole foot on the ground which will give you strength and power to lift the hips up. Lastly, keep your shoulder externally rotating, as indicated in the video.

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Full Side Plank & Modifications • Vashisthasana At the Wall

This Side Plank tutorial footage is taken from the July 2021 Immersion, titled BALANCE

Full Side Plank Set Up

What I don’t discuss in this particular clip is how the setup of this posture is exactly like Wild Thing. This means your pelvis is more open toward the sky as opposed to the standard side plank where your feet are stacked. The spine is in a backbend as well, unlike the standard variation where the spine is neutral.

There are other alignments you could explore, but these will tend to give you the greatest access to the full side plank variation where you grab the top foot and extend the leg. If you want to practice the full class, be sure to check out class #9 of the July 2021 Immersion, called Balance

 

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Three Full Side Plank Modifications and Variations

  1. Foot on The Wall: Once you rise up to wild thing, place the back foot on the wall – push your weight toward the wall, even if it means both knees are bent. This is not only okay but an indication that you are doing it properly.
  2. Tree Pose: The next step is infinitely more challenging because it requires greater balance and flexibility. Take the foot off the wall, similar to tree pose but without placing the foot on your inner thigh (though that is also another variation). I suggest pushing your knee into your hand to get your hip flexors active. Hip flexor strength becomes key when you attempt to straighten the leg. Often the tension of the hamstrings is too much and people have to let go of the foot. If your hip flexors are strong and used to engaging in this position, then they can help out by keeping the top leg closer to your upper body, lessening the chances that you’ll have to let go of the foot when extending the leg up to the sky.
  3. Full Side Plank or “Extended Vashisthasana”: Pull your knee in as tight as possible in order to grab your foot. Either stay as a modification or begin to kick the foot to the sky, straightening the top leg. Pro tip: it’s helpful to keep the bottom weight baring leg bent while extending the top leg upward. 
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VITALITY: RIGOR & RELEASE

Get back to feeling energized and alive. twelve all levels vinyasa & meditation classes to increase your energy, focus & mental clarity

 

  • GET BACK TO FEELING ENERGIZED
  • ALL LEVELS VINYASA CLASSES
  • HIPS, TWISTS, HEART, SHOULDERS, NECK & CORE
  • GUIDED MEDITATIONS TO DESTRESS, INCREASE FOCUS, & GAIN MENTAL CLARITY

Can’t Straighten Your Legs?

This is normal and it really shouldn’t be your focus. This is an incredibly physically demanding posture that requires extreme flexibility. Even with slightly bent knees, the posture is still visually stunning, and I would argue it’s even more bio-mechanically sound because bent knees typically trigger more muscle engagement.

TOP RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Balance Immersion: 12 Classes focused on Balance (video above is taken from this immersion) 

2. Arm Balance Immersion: 12 Classes – 12 Arm Balances

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