Friday, July 6, 2012

Pose of the Month: Vasisthasana

By April Evans

Vasistha is said to have been a wise sage. If you’ve ever done Side Plank, you know very well how enlightening this pose can be! Vasisthasana is one of the most fundamental arm balances, and developing strength in this pose will give all other arm balances increased stability and ease. It also comes with a multitude of leg and arm variations to suit the mood of any practitioner.

  • Strengthens the arms
  • Strengthens the abdomen
  • Strengthens the legs
  • Stabilizes the lower back
  • Stretches and strengthens the wrists
  • Improves balance

How to:

1. Come to Plank Pose, the top of a push-up. Take all the weight into the left hand and roll to the outer edge of the left foot and stack the right foot on top of the left. If you are building strength in the pose, lower your left knee and shin onto the floor and spin the outer edge of the right foot down like in Warrior II.

2. Check that the right hip isn’t rolling out to the side. Check the hip alignment by stepping the inside of the right foot to the floor in front of the left and press down strongly into the inner edge of the right foot. Re-stack the feet if desired.

3. Take the right hand to the right hip and square the shoulders toward the side wall. Start to lengthen the right arm, taking the fingers toward the ceiling.

4. Challenge the balance by taking the gaze to the side wall and then up to the ceiling.

5. Press the heels into the floor and firm the thighs. Feel the long diagonal created in space from the heels to the crown of the head.

6. Breathe for at least 5 deep breaths.

7. Return to Plank Pose.

8. Lower the knees and sit the hips back to the heels in Balasana (Child’s Pose). Circle the wrists.

9. Repeat on the right side.

Popular Variations:

1. Extend the top arm overhead for a side stretch

2. Take the sole of the top foot to the inside of the bottom leg for Vrksasana (Tree) to open the outer hip.

3. Take yogi toe lock around the big toe of the top leg and extend the foot toward the ceiling to open the hamstring.

4. If you have tender wrists, take Vasisthasana with the bottom forearm across the top of your mat rather than balancing on just the bottom hand.

And remember: Falling is the most popular way to come out of the pose!

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