Try the sequence below!
Viśvāmitrāsana (vishwamitrasana): Pose for Sage Vishvamitra; a variation of side plank that requires major hip flexibility, shoulder strength, and core stability
Ground the back heel, rotating the foot to as close to a 45 degree angle forward as possible. The front knee stacks above the heel line with the hips rotating toward a forward squared position. Lift the lower abdominals in and up, creating a gentle posterior tilt of the pelvis. Arms reach up turning the palms to face inward.
From Warrior I, straighten the front leg and fold forward over the leg. Place hands on blocks if necessary for accessibility. Continue to press the back heel down into the mat and rotate the hips toward a forward squared position.
Transition slowly and mindfully from the closed hip position of Pyramid Pose to the open, stacked hip position of Half Moon. Use a block under the lower hand for added support and stability. Engage the quadriceps of the lifted leg to straighten the knee and flex the foot strongly. Roll the lower hip back and press down into the ball mound of the lower foot to assist in maintaining length in the lower side body. The upper arm reaches straight up from the shoulder.
Bend into the front knee from Half Moon and step the lifted leg to the back of the mat. Align the outer edge of the back foot to the back line of the mat and press into the outer line of the foot and the ball mound of the big toe. Stack the front knee above the heel line of the front foot and align the shoulder girdle above the pelvic rim. Wrists are parallel to shoulder height with fingers actively extended.
Maintaining the bend in the front knee and the activation of the outer hip muscles to stabilize the knee joint above the heel line of the front foot, reach up and back with the front arm. Rest the back fingertips on the back leg as the front side body lengthens open toward the ceiling.
Extended Side Angle
Shift the front arm to either rest on top of the front thigh or bring the fingertips down to a block or the mat inside of the front foot and lengthen the top arm forward. Rotate the chest open toward the ceiling. Keep the front hip tucked in toward the body and the outer hip muscles active to maintain alignment of the knee joint over the heel line of the front foot.
From Side Angle, straighten into the front leg and reach the upper arm straight up from the shoulder joint. Maintain rotation of the chest toward the ceiling and the front hip shifting in toward the body. Press down into the ball mound of the front foot so that the front knee does not hyper-extend (“locking” the joint back can be the same as hyper-extension).
From Triangle, rotate the back foot out to 45 degrees and bend into the back knee, allowing it to rotate in the same direction as the toes (wide). As the hips shift back, place the bottom hand directly below the shoulders and lift the sole of the front foot away from the mat, flexing strongly (toes pull up toward the shin). The top arm extends forward similar to Extended Side Angle, continuing to rotate the chest up toward the ceiling.
Continue to bend deeply into the back knee and flex strongly through the front foot, shifting the hips down into a squat. Hands can rest at the heart or remain on the mat. The back foot’s heel can lift away from the mat in the squatted position if necessary.
Rotate to face the back of the mat, bringing the hands inside the foot into a wide lunge. Remain active in the legs, pressing through the back heel and forward through the front shin.
Viśvāmitrāsana Variation I
From Lizard Lunge, place the same side shoulder behind the knee joint of the front leg and press the palm down into the mat aligned with the outer edge of the front foot. Place the back foot flat on the mat, similar to Warrior II with the outer edge of the back foot aligned to the back edge of the mat (parallel). As the hips, side body, chest, and opposite arm roll open toward the ceiling, allow the front foot to slide off of the mat, squeezing the same side arm with the knee joint. The upper arm reaches straight up from the shoulder just like side plank.
Viśvāmitrāsana Variation II
From the first variation, reach the top arm down to grab the outer edge of the lifted foot. Carefully begin to extend the lifted knee straight while gently rolling the upper side body and chest open toward the ceiling. The upper arm will have to shift behind the head. Press through the foot of the left leg and reach through the upper arm to continue to rotate the chest and open the side body.