The Anatomy of Arm Support Poses: Side Plank Pose

Arm support poses are generally ambitious due to the fact that unlike feet, hands are not anatomically constructed for bearing weight. It is recommended that newcomers first practice and master a series of standing poses before attempting arm support positions. Make sure to wear apparel such as leggings, yoga or compression pants, and workout clothes that will allow you to move your body without obstructions freely. 

Vasisthasana (vah-sis-tahs-anna) is often considered a basic level one-arm balance yoga pose. This position makes one’s arms, torso, legs, and spine work together while lengthening muscles like the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major and minor, and coracobrachialis.

A perfect side plank pose should create a straight, yet diagonally positioned line from the heels to the neck. One’s supporting hand should be spread out widely with a line falling from the shoulder towards the wrists. While one’s supporting foot must be positioned comfortably over the surface. The buttocks, pelvis, and abdominal muscles should be lightly engaged. The upper arm must remain actively stretching upwards, and the gaze can be directed towards the upper hand. 

Some tips to keep into account are the following:

To keep your neck straight without dropping your ear towards your lower shoulder

To keep your supporting shoulder active without collapsing it

To keep your pelvis tucked in

To keep your legs active, but without moving them from the correct position

It is essential to keep these tips in mind when going into a side plank pose, as they make up the basis of this position and will help avoid any possible injuries. 

In order to gain the strength needed to carry out this pose, you can initially carry out preparatory positions. Downward-facing dog position or Adho Muka Svanasana, low lunge or Anjaneyasana, and plank pose or Phalakasana are three poses that will allow you to gather arm, leg, and core strength. 

Once you have prepared your body and gained more flexibility you can go ahead into a full side plank pose after doing preceding poses like downward-facing dog position or Adho Muka Svanasana, half-moon pose or Ardha Chandrasana, wide-legged forward bend pose or Prasarita Padottanasana I, and reclining hero pose or Supta Virasana. Follow-up poses usually include the handstand or Adho Mukka Vrksasana and four-limbed stick pose or Chaturanga Dandasana. 

Benefits linked to this yoga pose are related to the realignment of the third, Manipura chakra. This energy center holds our personal and transformational powers, self-esteem, and warrior energy. Amongst its benefits, one can find that this pose helps to correct one’s posture and enhance physical stability. A yoga position closely connected to the Manipura chakra should help to promote self-confidence, to find one’s sense of purpose, and to improve motivation. 

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