Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In Rhythms Yoga: Tuesday Morning Side-Plank Pose

Press up into Side-Plank Pose, Vasisthasana, in order to build strength in the wrists, core, legs and spine, while finding balance and self-expression in the pose. As you move into Side-Plank Pose, there are many variations and options to explore. Each day that we practice yoga is different. Some days we may feel vibrant and inquisitive, others days we may feel lethargic and distracted. Notice how you are feeling and find the variation that best suits your energy level, both physically and mentally, in order to walk away with the maximum benefits of the pose.

To do Side-Plank Pose: Come into Plank Pose, balanced on the hands and feet in one straight line. Gaze down at the left palm. Place the left palm under the left shoulder and then shift it forward so that the palm is slightly in front of the shoulder. Bring the feet together behind you and bring the right palm to the right hip.

Pivot the feet towards the right side of the room so that you shift to the knife edge of the left foot. Bring the right palm extended towards the ceiling or bring the right bicep towards the right ear with the fingertips extended over the head.

Option to do the pose against a wall in order to better stabilize and find balance. If you are taking the variation at the wall, bring the feet to the
wall, with the soles of the feet touching the wall. Another option is to drop to the left knee as a modification. Bring the left foot and left knee perpendicular to the right leg. A more challenging option, is to bend the right knee, placing it in front of the left leg. Bring the toes to face the side wall and the right leg perpendicular to the left. Make sure that the right knee is stacked over the right ankle in this variation.

If in the full-pose, with both legs extended or dropped on the left knee, option to lift the right leg for more of a challenge. For a more advanced version of the pose, option to grab the big toe with the thumb, forefinger and middle-finger (two peace fingers and thumb).

In order to refine and articulate the posture, notice the breath. Create smooth and even inhales and exhales. Create one line of energy from the crown of the head to the toes. Notice if the hips are sinking or if they are shifted in back of the torso. Lift the hips in line with the torso and extend the tailbone towards the heels. Draw the low-belly in towards the spine. Find expansion in the chest and draw the shoulder blades flush to the back. If in the full-pose with both legs extended, flex the toes towards the face.

Stay here for 3-5 breaths. Find a calm and even breath. Find a non-moving object to fix the gaze, find a drishti gaze, in order to focus the mind and find balance in the pose.

To come out of the Side-Plank Pose: drop the right palm down and pivot the feet back into Plank Pose. Drop to the knees into Child’s Pose, Balasana, for a few breaths before repeating the pose on the opposite side. Take the same variation on the opposite side and then drop into Child’s Pose after repeating the posture on the opposite side.

Notice how you feel after finding focus, strength and balance in the pose. Notice if you feel a little more clarity in the mind and if the body feels light and strong.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact christi@inrhythmsyoga.com for more info.

IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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