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Challenge Pose: One-Legged Side Plank Pose

Strengthen your core and shoulders and develop better balance as you move step by step into Eka Pada Vasisthasana.

Strengthen your core and shoulders and develop better balance as you move step by step into Eka Pada Vasisthasana.

PREVIOUS STEP IN YOGAPEDIA3 Prep Poses for One-Legged Side Plank Pose
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Benefits
Stabilizes the core; builds wrist, arm, and shoulder strength; develops balance and willpower.

Step 1

high plank

Come into Plank Pose, with your outer shoulders over your mid-wrists. Turn your hands out until your index fingers are parallel to each other. Press down through your index-finger knuckles; widen your shoulder blades and slide them down your back.

See also4 Prep Poses to Fire Up Your Core for Side Plank

Step 2

side plank

Move into Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) by pressing your inner right hand down, externally rotating your upper right arm and sliding the shoulder blade away from your ear as you spin your outer right heel to the floor. Line up the center of your right foot with the center of your right wrist. Stack your left leg on top of your right and pull the outer edges of your feet toward your outer shins and create “Tadasana feet.” Firm your right biceps and be mindful that you do not hyperextend your elbow (if you are prone to hyperextension, bend your elbow slightly). Stretch your left arm straight up. If you feel stable, look up to your left hand. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths.

See alsoHow to Move into Side Plank Pose

Step 3

one-legged side plank prep

If you’re stable in and can hold Side Plank Pose for 5 to 8 breaths, externally rotate your left hip, bend your left knee, and hold your big toe. Move your left buttock toward your right foot as you keep externally rotating your left hip.

See alsoPose of the Week: Side Plank with Variation

Step 4

one-legged side plank

Eka Pada Vasisthasana

Hold your big toe or use a strap, and straighten your left leg up while keeping your right side body in a straight diagonal line (neutral cervical spine). Look down at first to help with balance, and then look forward. If your neck feels strain free, turn your head to look up toward your left foot. To remain strong in the pose, continue to externally rotate your upper right arm, draw the sides of your waist in, and lift your lower belly in and up. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale as you release your left leg and return to Plank Pose. Repeat all 4 steps on the other side.

See alsoChallenge Pose: Flying Pigeon (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Stay Safe

one-legged side plank

To stabilize your weight-bearing arm, press down firmly through the inner edge of your hand, and engage your biceps by doing an isometric biceps curl (don’t actually move the arm). If your elbow is hyperextending, bend your elbow between 5 and 10 degrees. Externally rotate your upper arm and depress your left scapula (slide it away from your ear).

See also4 Steps for Shoulder Stability in Weight-Bearing Yoga Poses

Don’t

Side Plank Don't

Don’t overly lift your pelvis away from the floor and “break” the diagonal line of Side Plank. You may be able to go beyond the diagonal, but doing this actually requires less core strength.

See alsoChallenge Pose: Supported Headstand

Don’t

Side Plank Don't

Don’t overly lift your pelvis away from the floor and “break” the diagonal line of Side Plank. You may be able to go beyond the diagonal, but doing this actually requires less core strength.

See alsoChallenge Pose: 4 Steps To Master Tortoise Pose

About Our Pro

Standing hand to big toe pose, noah maze

Teacher and model Noah Mazé founded Noah Mazé Yoga in 2003; in 2012, he founded his Los Angeles–based YOGAMAZÉ yoga school, which offers online and in-person teacher trainings. His curriculum combines detailed alignment with vinyasa theory. He began practicing yoga at age 14, studying with Richard Freeman, Pattabhi Jois, John Friend, and Manouso Manos, and he continues to study with teachers of all yoga styles and traditions. Learn more at yogamaze.net.