It is usually a beginner yoga pose but difficult to hold for a long time.
With the practice it can do wonders in helping you build bodily as well as mental strength.The basic plank with its variations is a good workout for your spine too.
Pose for stronger arms and spine.
Plank is an essential component of sun salutation and is often used as a transitional pose, in which the breath is not held.It can also be practiced on its own to build strength and stamina.
Benefits of Plank Pose
- Tones all the core muscles including abdomen, chest and lower back.
- Strengthens the arms, shoulders and wrist.
- Prepares the body for more challenging arm yoga poses.
- Strengthens spine muscles.
- Improves posture.
- Tones the buttocks.
- Helps to get rid of back pain.
- Improved flexibility.
- Improves metabolism.
- Improvement in mood.
- Peace of mind.
How to do Plank Pose step by step
- Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders.
- Breathe smoothly and evenly through the nose.
- Spread your fingers and press down through your forearms and hands .
- Do not let your chest collapse.
- Gaze down between your hands, lengthening the back of your neck and drawing your abdominal muscle towards your spine.
- Tuck your toes and step back with your feet by bringing your body and head into one straight line.
- Keep your thighs lifted and take care not to let your hip sink too low.
- Draw your pelvic floor muscles toward your spine as you contract your abdominal muscles.
- Keep your head in line with your spine.
- Broaden across your shoulder blades and across your collarbones.
- Draw down through the bases of your index fingers – do not let your hands roll open towards the pinkie fingers.
- Press the front of your thighs up towards the ceiling while lengthening your tailbone toward your heels.
- Hold the pose while breathing smoothly for five breaths.
- If you are holding this pose to build the strength and stamina – hold for more than 3 minutes.
- To release, slowly lower onto your knees, then press back into the child’s pose and rest.
Modifications and Variations
To deepen or lighten the pose, try these simple changes to find the variation that works best for you.
- If your arms or abdominal are not yet strong enough to support your full body weight, you can lower your knees to the floor ( half plank pose ).Make sure you keep your head and spine in a straight line.
- To deepen the pose you can try these following plank pose :
Contraindications and Cautions
- Plank pose should not be practiced if one is suffering from injury in the arms or wrists, legs including the upper leg at the thighs.
- Anyone suffering from low or high blood pressure should avoid this pose as a lot of pressure is felt at the chest while balancing the posture.
How long should I hold a Plank ?
If you can hold a Plank for 60 seconds or more, I consider that strong.
It is a challenging practice for your entire body because doing them everyday will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises such as crunches, sit ups etc.
The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day to day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary.
I would suggest you to follow the instructions on how you can plank properly with the proper posture and hold for a minimum 30 seconds and later increase the duration as per your limits taking into consideration any arm or shoulder pain, surgery.
How do I know if I am doing Plank correctly?
To know better look yourself into the mirror while you hold the posture and find if you are in a proper posture which should be in a straight line ( To get a straight line hold your body on your big toes ) and look forward to avoid backache.
What is the easiest way of doing Plank?
- Come on your fores.
- Traditionally hold the straight plank by resting your knees on the ground.
- Breathe in and out gently while you practice.
- Hold the posture as long as you can as per your ability.
- Rest in the child pose.
- Downward Facing Dog Pose.
- Dolphin Pose
Follow Up Poses
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Yoga asana is the third limb of the eight- limbed path outlined in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali- a seminal yogic text.
The eight limbs are as follows.
- Yamas and Niyamas ( Moral and ethical codes.
- Asanas ( Postures)
- Pranayama ( Breathwork)
- Pratyahara ( withdrawal of the senses)
- Dharana ( concentration)
- Dhyana ( Meditation )
- Samadhi ( spiritual absorption)
Practice of these yoga sutras shouldn’t be painful.
If you are experiencing an excess of emotional and / or physical discomfort during your practice – either come out of the pose you’re doing or ask your teacher on how you can adjust and go with the flow which suits your body taking into consideration any contraindications or injuries.
At homasana, our goal is to inspire your practice with in-depth articles, video courses and challenges. We are devoted to sharing yoga with the world inspiring everyone wishing for a respectful life, Happy and peaceful mind- body.