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Summer of Core Day 16: Side Plank T-Flows

I made this one up. Well, I’m sure I picked some of it up somewhere. But I certainly made up the name. It’s not so much side plank as it is a chance to utilize your obliques in a new way.

Here’s Katy for a second day in a row demonstrating the move.

Thanks again Katy for being a wonderful model and dedicated student!

Let’s Do It

  • Begin in kneeling side plank with your right knee down and left arm to the sky.
  • Inhale, lift from your left arm so your right arm lifts off the ground and both arms form a “T”, palms facing down, arms out to the sides, torso stacked over hips.
  • Exhale, float your left hand to your left thigh. Reach your right arm straight up.
  • Inhale, extend toward the sky, stretching from your right knee through the whole right side of your body up to your finger tips.
  • Exhale, float your right arm back to the ground with control, left arm to the sky, returning to side plank.
  • Repeat this flow five to ten times. Switch sides.

Alignment Tune-Up

  • In kneeling side plank, make sure your bottom arm is stacked beneath your shoulders, so there’s a long, straight line running from your bottom hand through your chest and shoulders and up your lifted arm.
  • Bring your bottom knee directly under your bottom hip for optimal stability.
  • Extend your top leg straight out so the foot is in line with your bottom knee. You should feel like your body is in one singular plane.
  • Engage your extended thigh and keep your top hip lifted, core engaged.

Why Flow?

We primarily practice vinyasa yoga, meaning yoga that flows with the breath. It becomes a moving meditation, which can be very effective in clearing the mind and reducing stress from our hectic, daily lives.

“The Western world has become a seated society, which is why vinyasa yoga is so important: its orientation is breath and movement, and research shows that increased movement in a seated society is absolutely essential for health. Vinyasa yoga gets us moving.” ~ Eddie Modestini, renowned yoga instructor and student of BKS Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

I hope that this flow and yesterday’s flow will get you moving today and you’ll find some joy and freedom in the practice.

~ Shoshana

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Summer of Core Day 10: Side Plank Hip Dips

Hello and welcome to the 10th day of Summer of Core! Can you believe it?

Today we will build a little bit more on side plank by incorporating hip dips. Like the Hip Dips on straight plank we did on Day 2, this move isolates and works the obliques a little more and the exterior hip muscles.

Let’s Do It

  • Start in your version of side plank (on the knee, staggered/scissored feet, stacked feet).
  • Bring your top hand to your top hip to help you feel where that hip is going.
  • Inhale, lift the side of your top hip toward the sky.
  • Exhale, drop the side of your lower hip toward the ground.
  • Inhale to lift.
  • Repeat three full rounds to start. You can add reps if you need to.
  • Switch sides.

Points on Alignment

  • Bottom hand should be under your lower shoulder, your arm strong, hugging muscle to bone.
  • Keep your back flat, as if up against a wall.
  • Your top shoulder may want to dip toward the ground, try to keep it pulled back, isolating movement in your hips.
  • Kneeling side plank might feel a little awkward for this move. If you prefer that position, try to move slowly with full awareness on your hip alignment. You might also consider extending the bottom leg into a staggered stance for more optimum alignment.

Here’s a video demonstrating the dips with all modifications.

Thanks for staying with this! Let me know how it’s going or if you have any questions.

I’m teaching tomorrow morning and Saturday morning at Soul, and we will practice this week’s moves in class. Check my Schedule for class times.

~ Shoshana

Summer of Core Day 9: Side Plank Flow

Welcome to Day 9!

I hope you’re hanging in there with me. Noticing any changes in your body?

Today, we’re adding a twisting flow to Side Plank by threading the top arm underneath the bottom arm.

This move severely targets the obliques, as well as your balance, your breath and your mental focus.

Thank you Nancy Frey for demonstrating all the options for today’s flow! Nancy teaches at Soul at 9 a.m. on Sundays, and she does private instruction as well.

Options

  • Start with your bottom knee on the ground, directly under your hip. Swing your foot off the mat, pivoting on your knee.
  • Stagger your feet for a little more stability. Keep your legs strong, thighs engaged.
  • Stack your feet so your top foot rests on the bottom foot and you are balancing on the edge of the bottom foot.
  • Extend your top leg. This can be done in any of the lower leg positions. It adds strengthening to the top hip and thigh, as well as an increased challenge for your balance.

Breathe

Let your breath control this flow. Move slowly, working with a complete inhale and a complete exhale to complete one round. The slower you go, the more you’ll be able to feel the crunch of the tuck when you bring your top arm under your bottom arm, and you can use a powerful end to your exhale to get into your diaphragm and intercostals deeper into your frame.

Take five full rounds, using your breath, on each side. Rest in child’s pose.

~ Shoshana

Summer of Core Day 8: Side Plank

This week, we are taking a deep look at side plank, vasisthasana in Sanskrit.

This is a powerhouse move, as it not only strengthens the abs, especially the obliques and the serratus anterior, but works the shoulders and legs as well. It’s a full-body strength move with lots of variations, which we’ll get to over the next few days.

Let’s Do It

  • Begin in plank. Take your weight to the left side, rolling onto your left arm and coming onto the edge your left foot.
  • Stack your right foot on top of your left.
  • Extend your right arm to the sky, lifting from your right ribs through your fingertips.
  • Lift your hips, as if a string is pulling your right hip to the sky.
  • Strengthen your quads and your feet.
  • Push into the ground with your left arm, driving the floor away, hugging muscle to bone.
  • Reach your shoulders away from each other.
  • Gaze can be upwards if it feels OK on your neck. Otherwise adjust your gaze so as to not strain your neck.
  • Hold your side plank for five full breaths.
  • Switch sides.

Options

Kneeling side plank

KneelingSidePlank

This is a great place to start, especially if you feel wobbly. You can get great extension without having to worry about balance. You can work on lifting your hip, engaging your core and expanding in your chest and shoulders. Don’t forget to keep your extended leg engaged and the sole of the foot on the floor.

Scissored feet

Scissored Side Plank

Another great option to make this pose feel more accessible. Scissoring the feet provides more stability, but you can still get into a full leg extension.

Forearm Side Plank

Forearm Side Plank

If for any reason, a straight-arm version of side plank is not comfortable, come onto your forearm. Have your elbow stacked under your shoulder, and work to push away from the ground so you don’t collapse into your shoulder. Always extend upwards.

Extended leg

Extended Side Plank

To increase the challenge, lift your top leg. Keep your thighs strong and your hips lifted.

Get Stronger!

Use the next few days to challenge your ability. You may want to start in a kneeling side plank and work up from there. You might experiment with peaking at extended side plank for a breath or two.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And come practice with me today! 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Soul Yoga.

~ Shoshana