Peacock Pose
March 29, 2015
Plow Pose
March 28, 2015

Plank Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Phalakasana
(fal-ack-AHS-anna)
phala = to bear fruit, ripen

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the arms, wrists, and shoulders
  • Prepares the body for more advanced poses, such as arm balances
  • Strengthens and tones the abdomen and legs
  • Improves endurance
  • Builds spinal strength and improves posture

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Shoulder or arm injuries
  • Low back pain (keep knees on the ground)

HOW TO

  1. Start in Downward-Facing Dog.
  2. On an inhale, glide your body forward until your shoulders are directly above your hands and your arms are perpendicular to the floor. If your shoulders are not aligned over your wrists, you may need to separate your hands and feet a bit more.
  3. Press your hands firmly into the floor, fingers spread apart. Engage the outer arms by pressing them inward. Firm your shoulder blades into the back and spread your collarbones away from the sternum.
  4. Draw the navel in and up. Press the top of your thighs toward the sky, and lengthen your tailbone toward the heels.
  5. Set your gaze down on the floor or slightly in front of you, softening the neck and jaw.
  6. If practicing a vinyasa flow, only hold this pose for the duration of your inhale; then exhale and lower down to either Chaturanga or Knees-Chest-Chin pose. To build strength, hold Plank pose for five breaths.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

  • Bharmanasana (Tabletop pose)
  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

Modifications:

  • Lower your knees to the ground.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Ground down through all four corners of your hands.
  • Reach through the heels to lengthen the spine, activating the leg muscles.
  • Keep your neck long and soften the throat.
  • Gaze straight down or slightly in front of you on the floor.

VARIATIONS

  • Raise one leg as you lower down into Chaturanga for a lifted-leg vinyasa.

WATCH OUT FOR

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