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Season 1 - Episode 4

Side Plank with Toe Lock

30 min - Practice


Progress your Vasisthasana by adding a Toe Lock. Allison leads a careful practice first exploring the components of this pose in supine and familiar standing postures, working on balance and strength but removing the challenge of gravity. Our Vasisthasana with Toe Lock is supported by 2 blocks and a blanket.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block (2)

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Hi, everyone. Welcome back. So today's episode, we are going to evolve our vashi sasana into a vashi sasana with a tolak. So for today's practice, you'll need a blanket, two blocks and a strap. And take one of your blocks and place it at the top right corner of your mat. So the block will be horizontal and it'll also be on its lowest setting. And then have the strap nearby you for when you need it. As you come down, you can rest in shavasana or constructive rest, but just make sure that you're able to stretch your legs out without knocking that block. And take your arms down by your sides. And feel how the back surface of your body makes contact with the mat. Feel where your ribs are in relationship to your hips, to your shoulders, into your head. I'm noticing that sense of expansion, not only in the front of the body as you breathe in, but also out to the sides and to the back body. Now keep your breath steady as you walk your feet closer together. So they might touch or you might have some distance apart, but do try to hug the inner legs in towards each other so that you can feel that there's this nice sense of energy rising up from the feet into the inner thighs and into the core of the body. And take your arms out to the sides. So stretch them out into a T position so that your shoulders and your hands are in the same line. And take your palms to face down towards the floor. From there, lift your fingertips up and away from the floor and push through the heels of the hands. And now you'll rotate. So you'll take your thumbs and move them down towards the floor. So you may feel that your shoulders come away from the floor. Then you'll move to the pinky side of the fingers. So you may notice that the arms are externally rotating so that the pinky side of the fingers press down and the elbows lift up and the shoulders roll back. Do that a few times. Roll the arms down and roll the arms externally broadening across the front of your chest.

And the whole time you're reaching your fingertips back in the direction of your shoulders in wrist extension. And the next time the pinky fingers may contact with the floor, stay there. Push the elevator doors open. Then pull your toes back in the direction of your face. And see if you can just push the big toe mounts, those fleshy pads underneath the big toes away from you. So your toes move towards your face, but the big toes push away from you. Take another breath here. And then as you exhale, release the legs, soften the arms and return the palms to face up towards the ceiling. Now, bend your knees. So place the soles of your feet onto the mat. Have your heels right underneath your knees, possibly just a little bit closer or further away from you. Cross your arms. So take your right arm underneath your left arm. So you're in a hug position. Press down through the heels and lift the hips up. So it doesn't have to be a lot. And in this sort of neutrally, slightly internally rotated position for your bridge, notice just how high the hips lift, what it feels like. Do you feel like your ribs want to come up higher than your buttocks? Okay. And slowly as you lower your hips back down, once they make contact, lift your elbows, lift your head, lift your shoulders. And you'll do that again. As the shoulders in the head make contact, press them down, push down through the heels, lift the buttocks up. So you're focusing on extending from your hip rather than flaring your rib cage and back down. Lift the head and torso up. Shoulder blades come down, back of the head comes down, hips lift up, hips lower to the floor, head and shoulder blades lift, then release the head, release the shoulders back down. This time you'll take your right arm on top, left arm underneath and externally rotate your legs. So the legs are going to turn out a little bit. Your toes will point towards the corners of the mat, may feel strange and different.

It's okay. Pull your feet back just a smidge. Then from there, press the hips up. And notice here, do your hips lift up a little bit higher, perhaps. And lower the hips down, lift the head and shoulders. So your shoulder blades are in that position of protraction right now. Head and shoulders down, buttocks lift up, extend from your hips, hips down, head and shoulders rise. Last one, lift your hips, extend from your hips, lower and lift. Good. And then release down, release your arms. So you may have migrated back on your mat. So you're going to walk yourself back down and squid yourself so much far down that you find your block. Okay. And take your right heel onto your block. And this may take some positioning. So take your time with it. So as you get your heel onto the block, bring it all the way to the left side of the block, then roll your leg to the right. So you're externally rotating your right leg. So what happens is the outer blade of your foot most likely won't come to the block. So instead of keeping your hips squared up towards the ceiling, you'll angle them to the right. Okay. So when I lift my left buttock up and away, I can then feel the outer blade of my right foot pressing into the block. Okay. And again, you may have to adjust a little bit so that the right leg remains straight, but your left leg is in that bridge position. So you may bring the left foot back a little bit. And this time, take your hands straight up towards the ceiling, turn the palms away from you, flex your wrist. So take the palms to face down towards the floor, fingertips down towards the floor, push down through your left leg and the outer blade of your right foot to lift the right buttock up and away from the floor. And then as you exhale, lower back down. And again, rise up. Okay, now you might stay here or if you're finding that this isn't very challenging, lift onto the ball of the left foot. So you're bringing more weight into the right leg and that outer right hip has to work a little bit harder. Okay. And again, you may feel that's not so much. If you'd like to progress this movement, then you'll lift the left foot away without dropping the hip, right? So I didn't drop my hip to lift my foot and then try to lift back up from that elevated position, press into the outer blade, lift the left foot. And then as you exhale, left foot comes down, lower the hips down, bring the right toes to face up towards the ceiling and release your arms. We'll do the other side. So you can use your feet. That's a fun game. Move, slide your block to the left, take the left heel to the block, roll the leg out. Okay. Bend your right knee. And now to get the outer blade all the way, shift your hips, right? So they're kind of at an angle there. Place your right foot into the bridge position, take your hands up towards the ceiling. This time, extend your wrists, pull your fingertips back towards your shoulders, push up through the heels of your hands, push down through your right heel, lift your left hip up. So you're squeezing that left buttock a lot in order to keep the height of the pelvis. And then stay there or lift your right heel away from the floor. And again, stay there or lift the right foot away from the floor. Now it's got like really challenging really quickly. Okay. Take another breath there, press into that outer blade of your foot. Okay. Then lower the right foot back down, lower your hips down, arms down and take both feet to the floor. Find your strap, wiggle back straight in your legs.

Now bring your feet a little bit closer together like we did before in that supine vasisthasana. Bend your left knee in towards your chest and loop. So you can loop the ball of your left foot right under the toes or loop the back of your thigh. Press the left heel up towards the ceiling, right leg reaches forward and then I'm going to ask you to offset the right leg. So don't turn the right leg to the right, keep the toes pointing up towards the ceiling and move the right leg closer to the long edge of your mat on the right side. Then from there, hold your strap in the left hand, take the left leg out to the left. See if you can externally rotate. So you're starting to point the toes down towards the floor a little bit more. For some of you, you may be interested in doing the yogi toe lock, your index finger. So you'll wrap your index finger and third finger around your big toe and reach the left heel out to the side. Then can you turn the right side of your ribs down towards the floor? And perhaps the final component of this would take the right arm to the right pinky side of the finger down onto the floor as you pull your fingertips back in the direction of your shoulder. Press your right leg to the right to feel that outer right hip. Press your left big toe away from you. Push the elevator doors open. And then come out, bring the left leg back up, slide your right leg in, bend your left knee, remove your strap. We'll do the other side. Bring the legs a little bit closer together, press the big toes forward, bend your right knee, take your strap and place it in one of those locations or yogi toe lock. Now offset the left leg, move it out to the left. Turn your right leg to the right as you bring it out to the side. Then notice, right, you may feel your left side ribs moving away from the floor. Turn the left ribs down. Maybe there's a little adjustment there. Take your left hand to the side, roll the pinky finger down to the floor as you pull the fingertips back towards your shoulder and then push into the outer blade of your left foot, push into the heel of your left hand as you stretch your right leg to the right. Now bring your right leg back up, left limbs back towards center. Bend your right knee, place your right foot onto the floor as you move your strap aside. Bend your left leg and roll over to your side and make your way up onto all fours. So you'll come into tabletop position here, bring your right ball of the foot back, spin onto the inner edge of your right foot and then lift your right arm up. Maybe change the gaze up to look at your right thumb. Then stay here or press the left shin down into the floor and see if you can elevate that right leg. And perhaps point and flex and as you're pointing and flexing your right foot, push through the ball of the foot and then curl the toes. Push through the ball of the foot and then curl the toes. And from there, lower that inner blade of the foot back down, take the right hand down to the mat, followed by your right knee and we'll switch sides. Reach the left ball back, spin onto the inner edge, rotate from the ribcage, you're turning the left side ribs up towards the ceiling, lift your left arm. Then stay here, press the shin down, lift your left leg up, push through the ball of the foot to point and pull the ball of the foot back. Press the elevator doors away as you are articulating the left foot. Okay. And as you flex the left foot, lower it with control, take your left hand, place it back down to the floor, left knee to the floor. Grab your blocks and set them up at the top of your mat and place your blocks on the right side of your mat to set your left foot to the outside. Tuck your right toes, lift the knee, spin the inner edge of the right foot back down to the floor and then seal the right outer edge of the foot to the floor. From here, I want you to lift yourself up into extended side angle and have yourself lift a little bit higher than you're used to, right? So perhaps I create this T-like position with my blocks and that way I'm a little bit higher, almost Vasisthasana alike, because my torso is more so in line with my right leg than if I were to bring my hand down to the floor. Take your top arm, reach it overhead, turn the chest. Then as you exhale, lift the right arm up, straighten your left leg, pull the left hip back and move your torso in the direction of your left leg.

Then bend your left knee, look down at your left hand, take your right hand down as you spin onto the ball of your right foot, lower the right knee down, take your left foot back and transition both blocks over to the left edge of the mat. Step your right foot forward, tuck your left toes, spin onto the inner edge of the left foot and then press the blade, the outer blade of your right foot into the floor. Then find your settings with your right hand. It might be higher, it might be lower, but again you can feel this line from your left leg to your hips, ribs, shoulders and head. Lift your left arm, turn the chest and maybe turn your gaze. Reach the left arm straight up, push the elevator doors as you straighten your right leg for Trikonasana or Triangle Pose. Again, maybe turn the gaze up towards your left thumb if you've changed. Bend your right knee, take your left hand down, spread your blocks apart as you roll onto the ball of the left foot. From here step forward into Uttanasana, forward bend. Place your hands on your hips and inhale, come up to stand. So you'll take both of your blocks so that it's just as high as a block on the tall height, but it's a little more stable as I push my left hand down into the block. So we're going to do this little transition that I call TikTok, not like the app. Okay, so my left foot is pointing forward, so this is my Ardhichandrasana leg and you'll feel that same hip work that we were working when we had the leg straight with the outer blade pushing into the block. So you'll make your way into Ardhichandrasana, slowly tipping into Ardhichandrasana and you place your left hand down onto your blocks, reach your right arm up and then push through the right heel. And you're welcome to stay here or if you want to play with this little TikTok variation, you start to shift back and you see how slowly can you come out, press the right foot down onto the floor. Once you get there, shift your weight into your right foot, then pick the left leg up so it's like sliding up your right leg, then push the elevator doors as you straighten the left leg. It's almost like you're going to touch those toes, but you don't have to, right? You don't have to be anywhere close. Then bend the left knee like tree pose, place the left foot back down onto the floor, tip into your Ardhichandrasana, press through the heel, push the elevator doors open and then make your way slowly out controlling every step of the way. And it's challenging, right? Your left foot is probably working a lot in order to do this. Shift into the right foot, lift the left knee, point the left knee up and then press through the ball of the foot, reach for the toes without leaning to the left. Bend your left knee, place the left foot down and lower your arms. So do the other side and you can see this from what it looks like from behind. So your right leg is the leg that's turned out. You'll slowly tip into your Ardhichandrasana, half moon pose, turn and of course you can look up towards the hand, however you'd like to experience the pose today. And then slowly lower your left foot down, rather close to the right foot, draw the right knee up, lead with the knee and then push the elevator doors open. Bend the right leg, place the right foot down, tip into your Ardhichandrasana, reach up, push through the heel, push through the hands, reach the side body away. Then bend the right leg, control your descent, lift your right leg up, push out, reach for the right toes without leaning. Good. Bend the right foot, your right knee, lower your right foot down and lower your arms down. Good. Okay, so now we're going to come into a wide legged forward bend, Prasadapatanasana. So spread the feet apart, have your toes facing forward and root down through your big toe mounds, not so much that the knees bend inward, press out but have a steady sense of contact of the big toe mounds. Place your hands on your hips as you pull your elbows back. Take an inhale, lift your chest and exhale, hinge forward from the hips. Come about halfway down, reach your fingertips to the floor. See if you can keep the spine long as you then walk your fingertips out to the sides and then maybe walk them back. And notice if there's this struggle between rounding and grabbing or walking the hands forward and that might help give us a little indication of whether or not we'll be using a strap in this next variation. Okay, place your hands on your hips, come on up to stand, walk your feet in together. Okay, very exciting. So grab your two blocks again, place them in the middle of your mat, grab your blanket and place your blanket over your blocks. And now you might need more height and if that's the case, you can lift yourself up onto another block. But this for the most part will work out rather well. And then again, you can use the strap or not. It's very similar to the supine version that we did earlier in the practice. So you'll take your left side hip, place that on the top surface of the block. So I start by sitting, leaning, and then adjusting. I'm actually gonna scoop my strap up just a little bit more. And so then as I adjust, I make sure the outer left hip is purely on the block, and I walk my left hand forward to position it. So the upper arm, right, it's going to turn, you may feel more pressure on that pinky finger. So then you just add a little more pressure to your index finger and right thumb and left thumb. Reach the feet back, right, and come into Vasisthasana. From here, okay, turn the right leg out like you did in that tree pose, pull the heel up, take the hand down, find your yogi tolak, and notice if anything has changed, right? Anything has changed in the relationship between you and your spine. Push down through your left hand, then from there, reach your right arm and your right foot up towards the ceiling, press through the big toe mound.

So now if you found that there were alterations happening, right, like the buttocks wanted to move back, maybe you fell off your blocks, hopefully not, okay, then the other entry could be to hold on to the back of the leg, push from the left hand and reach the right foot up, okay? Of course, you can also use your strap here, okay? So I use my strap, okay? You'll make a loop with your strap, like a little lasso here, okay? And this way, you can pull the knee in, press the foot up, push through the left arm, and then maybe walk your hand a little bit closer to the foot, all right? Then from there, bend your right knee, okay? Release the strap, straighten your right leg, and then bend your knees a little bit as you transition out, and we'll do the other side. So I won't cue you through all the different variations, but wherever you are, however you want to set yourself up, please go and use this time for that variation, okay? So right side, take the right outer hip to the blocks, set up the right arm, spin the bicep forward, and press the index finger and thumb down into the floor. Reach your right leg back, then your left leg, lift the top arm up, Vasi Stasana, push the elevator doors apart. And peel the left foot up, lead with your left knee, hold behind or grab the toe, find your strap, and press up. Maybe turn your gaze up towards the ceiling. Okay, and then once you're ready, bend your left knee, release the left foot, and then to exit, take your hand down, bend your knees, roll back onto all fours into a tabletop before pressing yourself up. So we're going to move the blocks and the blanket aside, and make your way down onto your mat. Once you come down, pull your knees in towards your chest, move the legs to the sides as you take your hands to your ankles or your shins. You can gently press the legs away from you as you allow your spine to settle on the mat. Now join the legs in, draw the thighs in towards your chest, and lower your feet back down to the floor and make your way into Shavasana. And feel free to pull over any props that you'd like to support yourself with today's version of Shavasana. And let your back body once again reconnect with the mat, feeling your head, torso, hips and legs seep into the mat. And if you have a few more minutes today feel free to stay here for a few minutes longer. Otherwise deepen your breath, wiggle your fingertips and toes. And once you're ready, slowly roll to one side. And using your hands, press yourself up into any comfortable seated position. And take your hands to your heart, touch your thumbs to your heart to uplift it. Namaste.


Jenny S
1 person likes this.
Love using the props to experience the toe-lock version of side plank without falling over 👏. These classes are a lot of fun!
Jenny S I'm so glad you are having fun!! 
Shannon G
Great class thank you 

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