Even with my unrelenting hips, I adore practicing Eka Pada Vasisthasana. The diligence of fully utilizing both strength and balance is something to be admired. It has taken a lot, I mean a lot a lot of patience for me to pull this pose together. Before I was so zealous for my body to bear even the slightest resemblance of what it was supposed to look like, that I sacrificed many alignment positions that would have aided in my progression. I know better know. And, it feels better now. By engaging the right muscles I am now able to hold this pose 3 times longer than when I was just depending on strength or balance alone.
If you have been having trouble maintaining this asana, I'd first like to offer the suggestion to take a step back, and slow down. This posture doesn't like to be rushed. It wants you to take your time with it and breath with and through it. Make sure you are inhaling up into the position. Each time you find yourself lengthening... inhale. Now, take a look at the list below and see what part of your one-legged side plank you can engage more on.
1. Don't hyperextend the elbow of your rooted arm (basically don't lock out that arm).
2. Don't rotate bicep in towards your body.
3. Don't slack off in your rooted foot and ankle.
4. Don't sink weight into your planted shoulder.
5. Don't drop your hips down towards the floor.
6. Don't rotate your chest down.
6. Don't round in your spine, or bend in the back allowing the chest to open (unless you're going for a backbend).
1. Do keep your fingers forward, spread and press your inner hand down.
2. Do rotate your bicep/armpit forward (external rotation) of your grounded arm.
3. Do slide shoulders away from ears, taking your shoulder blades towards one another. Think about making a straight line with arms/shoulders.
4. Do press against the floor with both your rooted hand and foot/ankle.
5. Do flex the grounded foot (think about tadasana legs)... you can keep yur foot flexed and stacked on the pinky toe side ("not this" picture) if you keep a strong flex and feel stable there. But, if you want more stability you can ground the foot ("this" picture) pressing through the big toe.
6. Do bend your knee of the lifted leg and rotate your hip up and out (external rotation) before straightening the leg. Think about taking your top butt cheek towards your grounded foot.
7. Do hold your big toe or use a strap.
8. Do keep side body and hips lifting.
9. Do create a straight diagonal line to your body.
10. Do look down if you feel a strain in your neck, otherwise look forward or up.
11. Do pull abs up and in to help keep you stable and from backbending.
Note: you can lift your pelvis/hips higher breaking the diagonal line if your body can move that far, but just know that the pose will be less about core strength and more about arm strength, upper back and hip mobility. So choose your vice.
Grow With Your Flow,