Definition - What does Vasisthasana mean?

Vasisthasana is a challenging asana that strengthens the abdomen, legs and arms. The name comes from the Sanskrit vasistha, meaning “wealthy,” and asana, meaning “pose.”

Begin in a strong and well-aligned kumbhakasana (plank pose). Press down into the right hand, shifting all your weight to the right side of the body. Gently begin to roll the body to the right, lifting the left arm overhead. Firmly press the side of the right foot into the mat while lifting the hips, so that all the weight is carried on the right arm and right foot. Once balanced, align the left foot on top of the right foot, stacking the feet at the arches. The right arm should still be well-aligned and firm from the shoulder through the wrist, with fingers pressing into the mat. Continue lifting the hips so that the body is aligned from the top of the head to the feet. The right arm continues to support the body and the left arm is stretched toward the ceiling with eyes gazing up at the left hand.

Once strength and balance in this pose is developed, the practitioner may attempt the full expression of this pose by lifting the left leg into the air, or gently grabbing the left foot with the left hand and lifting both together. To exit the pose, return the left hand to the mat while slowly rolling back into kumbhakasana. Repeat on the opposite side for the same number of breaths.

Vasisthasana is also known as side plank pose in English.

Yogapedia explains Vasisthasana

In Hinduism, Vashistha was a saint who possessed a divine cow. The cow's offspring could grant whatever its owners wished, which made Vashistha wealthy. This is why the Sanskrit word for "wealthy" is vasistha. This is an apt name for vasisthasana as it can help the practitioner feel abundant in power and confidence in their yoga practice as it requires strong mental focus and balance.

Vasisthasana also assists in opening the anahata (heart) chakra as it opens the chest. This helps the practitioner to feel more receptive to the serenity, love, balance and peace that is all linked to the anahata chakra.

This asana helps prepare practitioners for more advanced arm-balancing poses.

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