Side plank pose is a great way to work your core and get a leg and hip workout. The only thing is, it can be difficult for some to hold it for more than a few seconds at a time. Here are 5 benefits that help make side plank one of the best moves you can do.

Side plank pose is a simple yoga pose with several benefits for the body. It is a restorative posture that allows you to place the body in a relaxed and passive state. The benefits of side plank pose include increasing spinal flexibility, strengthening the abdominal muscles, and improving balance. Side plank pose is also a good choice for beginners, who may be inexperienced with yoga poses.

Side plank pose is a common yoga pose that involves lying on the side with the legs and arms extended. It looks like a person is performing a sit-up, but in fact a yoga student is using balance, strength, and flexibility to get into the pose.

Did you know that yoga is good for both your hearts? It probably never occurred to you that you have two (I say this with a slight laugh), but I’m not just talking about the hard-working, blood-clumping organ in your chest, but also the emotional heart we refer to when we talk about love, compassion, heartbreak and heartache.

The skilled hands of a surgeon can repair a heart organ, but the metaphysical heart may be a little more complicated. Yoga helps us heal and strengthen the heart, both physically and metaphysically.

The science behind yoga

From a physiological standpoint, yoga helps reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. It maintains a regular heartbeat, improves blood circulation and respiratory organs.

Yoga strengthens and tones muscles and generally helps to maintain a healthy body weight. People who exercise regularly often have healthier eating habits, because they apply what they have learned on the mat about balance and body awareness in their daily lives.

Yoga also relieves stress and anxiety, and we know that chronic stress destroys the body. Worse, in an attempt to relieve stress, we often resort to bad habits like smoking, drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food. These activities raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and provide only temporary relief from stress.

Heart Chakra

On an emotional level, yoga promotes a healthy and open heart. We go through a lot in life: Loss, heartbreak, betrayal – a wide range of emotional trauma. Over time, these experiences lead us to build little walls around our hearts. We think that if we can protect our hearts behind these walls, we can avoid the pain, so we slowly begin to close ourselves off and cover our vulnerable hearts.

The heart chakra (one of the body’s main energy centers, located in the center of the chest) is closed.

The heart chakra is connected to our ability to give and receive love. When it is closed or unbalanced, it is difficult for us to feel love, compassion, mercy and peace. Instead, we may feel anger, sadness, and bitterness. Moreover, this imbalance can manifest itself in a variety of physical ailments, such as lung problems, breast cancer, a weakened immune system and blood disorders.

Healing of the heart through Yoga

If you’ve ever read about healing the body by healing the mind, you know that negative beliefs and thoughts cause disease in the physical body. If we can remove emotional blockages, we can heal the body more effectively.

The path is not in the air. The path lies in the heart. ~ Buddha

Backbends (actually called heart opening postures) help to open and balance the heart chakra, releasing tension and blocked emotions. Here are some heart-opening poses you can incorporate into your practice:

Ustrasana (Camel pose)

Kneel with your feet hip-width apart. Place your palms on your sacrum. Lean back without straining your lower back and support yourself with your arms. If you are limber, transition into a full pose by extending your arms to your heels. Imagine stretching the center of your chest toward the sky. Bring the hips forward so they are above the knees and lower the tailbone. Rest your chin on your chest or tilt your head back if that is comfortable for your neck.

Hold the pose for a few deep breaths. Release by tightening your abdominal muscles to gently bring your body back to a kneeling position. Then sit on your heels and take a few breaths in Balasana (child’s pose).

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Lie on your stomach and stretch your legs behind your back. Spread your toes. Place your hands on the floor just below your shoulders, spread your fingers and press your elbows against your ribs. Inhale and begin stretching your arms (elbows may remain bent). Pull the heart forward and lift the upper body. Concentrate on pressing the shoulder blades against the back and lifting the sternum so that there is no compression in the lower back.

Matsyasana (fish pose)

Lie on your back, legs extended, hands under your hips. Inhale and lift your elbows and forearms to arch your upper back and gently rest the top of your head on the floor (it’s okay if it doesn’t touch). Be careful not to put too much pressure on your head. Stay in this position for several breaths. Release and bring your knees to your chest.

Kamatkarasana (Wild Thing)
Credit : Julia Lee

Start with the dog looking at the ground. As you inhale, lift your right leg, bend your knee and open your hip. Shift your weight to your left hand and the little toe of your left foot and continue stepping back with your right foot until the ball of your foot touches the ground. Raise your hips and open the center of your chest to the roof of your mouth. Raise your right arm, open your chest slightly and arch your back deeply. Stay there for a few breaths.

Tighten your abs to get out of the pose and slowly return to the downward facing dog position. Repeat the process on the other side.

*This is a more moderate pose, and because it involves a deep arch of the back, it is recommended that you warm up the body with some sun salutations and light bending of the back before performing it.

Try these yoga poses and feel the difference in your heart and heart chakra work!While you may not be able to master the perfect side plank, you can still develop a strong and stable core with a side plank. The side plank is a challenging pose that requires stability and strength in the mid-section.. Read more about side planks muscles worked and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you hold a side plank?

What are the benefits of Vasisthasana?

How long should you hold a side plank? Hold a side plank for as long as you can.

Why rolling side planks are better than traditional planks?

Rolling side planks are better than traditional planks because they allow you to work your entire body, including your core, without having to move your feet.

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