Crow Pose
March 31, 2015
Dolphin Pose
March 31, 2015

Dolphin Plank Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

(mah-KAH-rah AH-doh MOO-kah
shva-NAH-sun-uh)
makara = sea monster or serpent, dolphin
adho= downward
mukha= face
svana = dog

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the abdominals, arms, shoulders, and chest
  • Relieves stress and mild depression
  • Improves posture
  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and arches of the feet

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Shoulder, neck, or spinal injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Eye or ear infections

HOW TO

  1. Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale and move your body forward into Plank pose, aligning your shoulders over your wrists and hands.
  2. Lower your forearms to the ground, one at a time, placing your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to one another and to the sides of your mat.
  3. Firm your shoulder blades across your back. Press your palms and forearms down, or bring your palms together in prayer position.
  4. Engage your core. Firm the front of your thighs (quadriceps) while lengthening your tailbone toward the heels.
  5. Gaze slightly forward and down to keep your neck in line with your spine.
  6. Hold this pose for five to 10 breaths. To release, exhale and lower your knees and hips to the floor.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Lower your knees to the ground.
  • For additional support, rest the forehead on a block.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Relax the shoulders away from the ears.
  • Gaze slightly forward and down to keep your neck aligned with your spine.
  • Align your shoulders directly over your elbows.
  • Keep the legs engaged and strong.

VARIATIONS

  • Inhale and lift one leg, pressing the heel toward the sky. Exhale and lower the leg down. Switch sides on your next inhalation.
  • Walk the feet forward and come into Downward-Facing Dog, with forearms down. This is a precursor to Pincha Mayarasana (Forearm Stand).
  • Press the palms together in prayer position or clasp the fingers together to deepen the shoulder stretch.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Collapsing the hips down
  • Collapsing through the upper back
  • Dropping the chin toward the chest