Having fun in side plank

Having fun in side plank

What’s this you say?

Why, that’s Keira Knightly walking the plank in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Say the word plank in a yoga class (how’s that for a segue?) and you either get looks of fear (how about child’s pose or happy baby pose, that sounds nice) or excitement (hooray for core work!).

Our limber bodies might not like being as firm and straight as blocks of wood. But the core strength required to stay in plank is crucial for so many other poses.

Plank can be fun, and side-plank can be even more fun because it offers up a wide variety of variations and modifications to choose from.

I present to you some fun variations to add to your side-plank repertoire:

Take a Knee or foot down
If you want to focus more on your alignment, move with ease and perhaps get a nice stretch, taking a knee or foot down is the way to go:

I see too many people with sagging planks in class who refuse to take a modification. Let go of your ego and practice self-compassion and kindness with a little assistance.

Vasisthasana I
Here’s the pose you may know well:


Some folks say your bottom shoulder should be directly stacked over your wrist, others say move the wrist a little higher. Either way, be mindful of how your arm placement affects your wrist and if anything feels funny or painful, immediately come out of it.

Side tree or padangusthasana B (Vasisthasana II)
Side plank easy enough? Why not add a variation? How about turning tree on it’s side:

Or turning padangusthasana B (hand to big toe pose) on it’s side:
Or just floating off the top leg?

All these variations will challenge you in a new and exciting way.

Still having too easy of a time? Then step up to visvamitrasana, which stems from a variation of your straddle side-bend:


Take your top arm back up and you can be just like Iyengar:


What do you think? Inspired? Intimidated? A bit of both? It’s all part of the practice.


– Zach