What is the Importance of Utthita Vasisthasana?
The Yogic Philosophy has been around for centuries and has been an eminent part of Indian history. Its applications within the social constructs of the country have given rise to some of the most enlightened souls the world has ever witnessed. Over the years the yogic philosophy has faced much generational decay and is contemporarily known as more of an exercise routine than a lifestyle itself.
This particular article is going to focus on the Utthita Vasisthasana, which is a yoga pose that comes under the Yoga Sutra called “Sukham, Shtiram, Asanam”. The general importance and health benefits derived from this asana will be discussed in length with insights into how to perform the asana correctly.
Utthita Vasisthasana (An Overview)
Also known as the Side Plank Pose is an intermediary asana that requires a good understanding of body balance and a certain level of physical ability and endurance. Utthita Vasisthasana can be broken down into Utthita meaning extended, Vasistha meaning sage, and asana meaning posture or pose. This asana is extremely beneficial for building body flexibility and endurance as it puts a lot of pressure on the core region of the body.
Now before understanding the benefits of the asana let’s look at how to perform the asana correctly. Mentioned below is a step-by-step procedure on how to practice the Utthita Vasisthasana.
- Begin in Plank Pose which requires you to press hard through your hands and align your shoulders over your wrists.
- Roll both heels to the right while keeping your core and legs engaged.
- Place your left foot on top of your right foot, then lift your left leg up.
- Press down with your right hand and elevate your left. Maintain a long tailbone and an engaged lower belly.
- Look up at your hand, or ahead.
- Work up to holding the pose for a while as you continue breathing. Hold the pose for up to 5 breaths.
Now it is important to remember that such intermediate asanas are not usually meant for beginners. It must be practised under the guidance of a professional. The reason for this is that if the asana is not practised correctly it may lead to certain complications in the body or result in injury. While practising this asana certain precautions must be kept in mind:
- For people with high blood pressure, this asana must be practised in a way that the head should be above the heart.
- People who are overweight should avoid this pose as it may put a lot of stress on the joints.
- Again people who suffer from pain in the elbows, wrists, and shoulders should also look to avoid this asana
- This asana should be strictly avoided by people who are suffering from back injuries.
- For pregnant women, it should be noted that this asana must be practised under the supervision of a professional so as to avoid injury and increase stress in the body.
- Make sure that this asana does not overexert any portion of your body.
Importance of Utthita Vasisthasana
The Utthita Vasisthasana is an extremely powerful asana that is introduced to only intermediate yoga students who have already achieved a command over their body and flexibility. The health benefits incurred through the practice of this asana are many and have been briefly discussed below:
- Arms and shoulders are strengthened and toned.
- Balance is tested and hence improved, which aids with focus and concentration.
- This asana makes your back muscles stronger, particularly your lower back and the quadratus lumborum, a deep spinal stabilizing muscle.
- Increases core strength.
- This exercise stretches the joint regions of the body, thus strengthening the wrists.
- When the top leg is extended up, it stretches the hamstrings and adductors.
- The practice of this asana has proven to be very beneficial for the hamstrings, calve muscles, quadriceps, etc.
- As this asana strengthens the core muscles, it also reduces the chances of a back injury.
The Utthita Vasisthasana has multiple benefits. It works on the core and activates all the major and minor muscle groups of the body such as the arms, shoulders, and lower back. It is also proven to work towards strengthening the lower body, particularly the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. It increases flexibility, enhances body balance, and like all yogic practices, has a calming influence on the body and mind. However, in order to practise these asanas, certain precautions must be taken and the asanas must be practised in accordance with guidance provided by a trained practitioner.
Yoga is an amalgamation of mental, physical, and spiritual disciplines and the term in itself is taken from the Sanskrit word ‘jog’ which literally translates to ‘union’. Its aim is to control and still the mind while detaching oneself from mundane physical suffering.
The Utthita Vasisthasana is the main topic of discussion in this article, where the asana has been described in a step-by-step format along with the necessary precautions that need to be taken whilst practising this asana. It is important to understand that the main goal of yoga is to induce mental and physical relaxation. Hence the entire routine of yoga is based on the physical and mental capabilities of one’s self, as it slowly builds the mind and the body. For more information, you can log onto our official website which will provide you with the answer to all your questions and will hopefully make you understand the divinity of the yogic philosophy.
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I am a Pune based artist, Kathak dancer, Dance Movement Therapist, and an avid Yoga practitioner/ teacher. I am also the Director at the Sakal Media Group, a Trustee of Pune Blind School and Nirdhar Trust.
Being a part of Sakal Media Group, with its strong foundation of service and ethical journalism, I am deeply committed in making this world a better place by pushing boundaries, giving opportunities to others, following my convictions, helping others make better choices and to tell powerful stories that will help reshape the world we live in.