yoga_360

A 360º overview of...

Side Plank Pose

With Dr Kiki Morriss

Side Plank pose is great for building balance, strength and self-confidence

In Side Plank Pose you will balance on one hand and the edge of one foot. This requires strength, concentration and good alignment.

The benefits of this pose:

  • Strengthens your arms, legs and core.
  • Stretches and strengthens your wrists.
  • Develops balance.
  • Improves posture.
  • Improves focus and self-confidence.

Cautions and modifications:

  • Avoid Side Plank pose if you have shoulder, elbow or wrist injuries.
  • Avoid Side Plank pose if you have shoulder, elbow or wrist injuries.
  • Avoid this pose if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Consult your health practitioner before practicing if you have high blood pressure.
  • Instead of lifting your upper arm to a vertical position, rest it on the side of your body with your hand resting on your thigh. Look straight ahead. This is an easier balance, as your centre of gravity is lower.

Variations:

  • Start in Side Plank pose, balancing on your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot. Bend your left leg with your knee pointing up. Hold your left big toe with your left index and middle fingers. Straighten your left arm and leg, lifting them vertically. Look up at your left foot. Balance for five steady breaths. Lower down and repeat on the other side.

PREPARING FOR THE POSE

  • Practice Plank pose, as this will strengthen many of the muscles used in Side Plank pose.
  • Extend your elbows and draw your shoulder blades away from the midline to broaden across your upper back.
  • Lift your pelvis up and down a few times to bring awareness to whether you are allowing it to sag down or to lift up too high.
  • Align your pelvis with your upper body and legs.
Side Plank Pose

COMING INTO THE POSE

  • Begin in Plank pose.
  • Move your right hand to a central position directly below your face.
  • Shift weight onto your right hand.
  • Turn your feet and body to the left.
  • Place your left leg over your right with your feet together.
  • Balance on your right hand and the outside edge of your right foot.
  • Lift your left arm up vertically.

FOCUS YOUR GAZE

  • Turn your head and look up.
  • Your drishti (focal point) is at your left hand. Keep your gaze soft. Alternatively, you can close your eyes.

CREATE A FIRM FOUNDATION

  • Spread your right fingers wide apart.
  • Spread weight across your right hand.
  • Press your right hand firmly into the floor.
  • Press the side of your right foot firmly into the floor.
  • Evert and dorsiflex your right ankle, so that your foot makes a right angle with your lower leg.

EXTEND YOUR ARMS

  • Extend both arms by contracting your triceps.
  • This action will contribute to the stability of your right shoulder.
Side Plank Pose

STABILISE YOUR LEGS

  • Extend your knees by engaging your quadriceps.

LIFT AND ALIGN

  • Activate your erector spinae and quadratus lumborum (your back extensors) to lift your upper body and prevent it from sagging down.
  • Use your gluteus maximus to extend your hips and stabilise your pelvis.
  • Keep your tailbone tucked under.
  • Lift your hips upwards.
  • Hold your head in line with your breastbone and slightly back.

BREATHING IN THE POSE

  • Balance in the pose for five steady breaths.

COMING OUT OF THE POSE

  • Return to Plank pose. Repeat on the other side.

Doctor Kiki Morriss is a medical doctor, yoga teacher, yoga therapist and founder of Primrose Hill Yoga, where she teaches adults, children and families. Visit: primrosehillyoga.com or instagram.com/kiki.yoga

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.