Vasisthasana is such a great pose because it offers a beautiful mix of grounding and expansion. One that allows for prana energy to flow along your central energy channels and radiate from the heart center. I especially find this pose truly liberating and expressive this time as year as we’re still rooted and deeply connected to the comforts of our winter ‘hibernation’ but at the same time longing, pulling and stretching for the light and grace of springtime warmth.
Vasistha, in Sanskrit literally means “most excellent, best, richest” and you can begin to understand why when you’re in this pose. The feeling of holding yourself up on one arm and foot tuned into your body’s strength as you root down and simultaneously rise upward, is, just excellent!
This is a great pose because it can be done in so many ways so there is bound to be a variation that works for you. And because you are holding your body at a lateral angle, it causes the deep muscles of the core and spine to work at a unique angle.Once you build your strength and the heart opening and expansive nature of this pose is mastered, a sense of joy and freedom is sure to arise.
How to do Vasisthasana (and variations)
Simple side plank- Start in plank. Shift your weight onto your right arm and foot. Rotate your torso, stack left foot on top of right, and raise your left arm toward the ceiling. Look up at your left hand. Stack right shoulder over right wrist, and then ground down and press the outer edge of the right foot into the floor to lift your hips, which eventually will engage the core. Flex both feet. (option to lower right knee to the mat for extra support and stability)
Tree pose variation- From simple side plank, rotate your right foot to a slight 45 degree angle (toes toward the bottom corner or your mat) press into that foot -this will help to lift your hips high. Eventually, the entire foot should be grounding into the floor. Bend your left knee and place your foot on the upper thigh of your right leg (you can assist your leg with your hand) toes pointing toward your right foot. Raise your left arm. Lift up and out of the right shoulder and relax the shoulder blades down your back. Belly in and up, lengthen your tailbone towards your right foot.
Full Vasisthasana- From tree pose variation, reach your left arm toward your left foot and grab your big toe with your peace fingers (yogi toe lock) Gently extend your foot toward the ceiling, straightening your leg as much as you comfortably can. Lift your hips, heart and especially your gaze, upwards (where you look, you will go!) Now extend your left heel toward the ceiling while pressing your entire right foot into the mat. Slightly claw your right fingertips into the mat and keep your core engaged.
Photo: Jacyn Fain
Directions: Jo Aldrich