Pose of the Month: Plank Pose

Plank pose helps build wrist and shoulder strength.
Plank pose is a very basic pose used both in the yoga world and in the sports world. Although this pose looks to be an insignificant transition move, it is critical to assess your body. This pose, like several in yoga, tends to go untaught, and teachers assume students are versed in the nuances of the pose. This is a mistake. Plank pose is a great teaching tool for the student.

How to: Plank Pose

The best way to get to this pose is to start in downward facing dog. From there, press forward so your shoulders are over your wrist joint. Make sure wrists are directly under the shoulders at a 90 degree angle. The body should be in one line from the top of your head to your heels. Do not dip or raise your hips. This is the same positioning as a push up. You need to push back through your heels and forward through a neutral neck out through the top of the head. At the same time, press firmly down through your whole hand, and do not let your chest sink.

While here, make sure you have a hand that is totally engaged into the floor. Make sure hands are flat and fingers spread, with even spacing between each finger. Don't press so firmly in this pose that you end up with a hyper-extended elbow. Then gently slide your shoulder blades down your back so your shoulders are away from your ears and your neck is elongated. Your head should be a natural extension of the spine. If you have slight pressure in the lower back, pelvic tilt until the feeling dissipates. Legs should be strong, straight and engaged. Your heels should point straight up to the sky, and your feet should be square.

Benefits of Plank Pose

Performed properly and consistently, the most noticeable benefits of plank pose include:

  • Strong arms, wrists, spine, quads, abdominals
  • Toned core
For the lay person or yogi, plank pose elongates the body and lengthens the neck. It helps the determination of a neutral body position. Building back strength counteracts the wear and weakening the back undergoes on a daily basis. Developing a strong back and abs at the same time is great for spinal support and better posture.
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