Dolphin Plank Pose
March 31, 2015
Downward-Facing Dog
March 31, 2015

Dolphin Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Makarasana
(mah-KAH-rah-nahs-ahna)
makara = sea monster or serpent, dolphin

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, legs, and abdominals
  • Relieves menstrual cramps, back pain, headache, and fatigue
  • Stretches the shoulders, calves, and hamstrings
  • Relieves stress, anxiety, and mild depression
  • Improves digestion

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Shoulder, neck, or spinal injuries
  • Tight hamstrings

HOW TO

  1. Come onto all fours, aligning shoulders over hands and hips over knees.
  2. Keeping the arms parallel to one another, shoulder-width apart, slowly lower one forearm to the ground at a time. Press your palms and forearms firmly into the mat.
  3. Exhale and curl your toes under, then begin to lift your hips toward the sky. Keeping the knees bent slightly at first, lengthen your spine, draw the tailbone away from the pelvis, and soften your chest. Then engage your core and extend the legs.
  4. Continue pressing the forearms down and firm your shoulder blades against your back. Gaze slightly forward and down between your arms.
  5. Stay here for 30 seconds to a minute. To release, exhale and lower your knees to the floor.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Lower your knees to the ground.
  • For additional support, place a block beneath the forehead.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Relax the shoulders away from the ears.
  • Keep the legs active and strong.
  • Keep the gaze slightly forward and down to keep your neck in line with your spine.

VARIATIONS

  • Inhale and lift the right leg; then exhale and lower. Switch sides on your next breath.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Shoulders hunching toward the ears
  • Arching or rounding of the back