Of all the yoga asana, perhaps the plank pose is one of the most widely foundational poses. This may be due to its lots of good challenging anatomical benefits. Plank pose is also sometimes called by many yoga teachers as ‘top of the push-up’, Phalakasana, Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana, or Kumbakhasana.
Phalakasana or Plank Pose is a transitional pose that usually falls under beginner yoga poses and prepares your body for other intense and advanced yoga poses. Similar to its name, the body is in a plank-like position, that is, long and slender.
Because the Plank pose is an important part of Surya Namaskar and Vinyasa sequences and Power Yoga, It is normal for most disciplined yoga practitioners to be in a love-hate relationship with this pose. After all, not many people actually enjoy holding themselves in a particular push-up position for quite a length of time.
With regular practice, one may find the health benefits of plank pose which outweigh its challenges, physically. With this pose, you’ll build stronger strength while simultaneously toning the muscles in your core, chest, shoulders, thighs, and lower back. It can increase the stability of the upper body, which will improve posture.
Plank Pose Yoga Quick Facts
Sanskrit Name: Phalakasana or Kumbhakasana
Sanskrit Pronunciation: Phalakasana (fal-ack-AHS-anna) and Kumbhakasana (koom-bahk-ash-uh-nuh)
Meaning: Phalaka- “plank” “board” or “bench” and asana- “posture”
English Name: Plank Pose
Other Names: Hover exercise, front plank, Plank Pose, Phalakasana, Kumbhakasana, Santolasana.
Targets: Abdominals and core muscles
Focusing Chakras: Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra)
Breath Retention Hold in Plank Pose –
You may be wondering from its name if you have to hold your breath during this pose. Well, it is a yes and no answer. In the traditional practice of this pose, most yoga practitioners hold their breath for a small moment of time before lowering the upper body into a particular push-up position.
However, when you go through the plank pose as a part of the Sun Salutation sequence, you don’t have to hold your breath. Sun Salutation is regarded as the best practice that leads to longevity, good health, and efficiency. It also strengthens every part of the body. Plank pose is step four in this process, so it is quite an essential pose to get familiarized with it.
Plank Pose Preparatory Poses
How to do Plank Yoga Pose
Stand off on your knees and hands in table pose. Now draw the torso forward until the shoulders are over the wrists and the entire body is in a particular straight line, just like the push-up. Now extend the legs behind you and lift the knees off the ground while activating the core muscles.
Now support yourself by means of pressing firmly into the ground with hands and forearms. It can be quite helpful to spread the finger apart in order to better distribute body weight.
Look down between the hands in order to lengthen the neck’s back while taking extra care to keep the face and throat muscles soft.
Draw shoulder blades toward the lower back. Now broaden the shoulders by spreading both of them away from the spine.
Maintain the thighs and chest lifted as you keep on maintaining a straight line. If the bottoms start to stick in the air, realign the body such that shoulders are perfectly stacked above the wrists.
Hold this position for 20 to 25 seconds, the longer in case you can, then gently drop the knees and move back into the starting table pose.
Benefits of Plank Pose in Yoga
Some of the major body benefits of practicing this pose regularly are as following:
- Phalakasana is an excellent pose for building core muscle strength.
- It provides similar health benefits, just like aerobic exercise.
- It improves cardio-respiratory fitness.
- This asana enables the muscles in your neck, shoulders, biceps, triceps, lower back, knees, hamstrings, calves, hips, and quadriceps to allow you to perform daily exercises and other activities.
- This asana increases your stamina and boosts your metabolism by focusing on all four abdominal muscles, i.e. abdominal, transverse abdominis, internal and external disorders.
- It also tones your core and abdominal muscles and reduces belly fat.
- It prepares your body for more challenging poses involving arm balance, like a side plank pose.
- This yoga exercises your chest muscles and improves the functioning of your respiratory system.
- It helps in raising endurance levels and improves body posture.
Precautions and Suggestions of Plank Pose
You should always have to maintain the correct posture for this asana, and you can modify it as deemed necessary. Following are the precautions and suggestions of Phalakasana.
- Do modify this pose for your comfort and skill level. You can also try dolphin plank pose, meaning forearms to the ground rather than on your hands, or half plank pose, meaning knees on the ground.
- Do learn the Sun Salutation for a better understanding of how this pose is part of this popular sequence.
- Open the space between the shoulder blades in order to deepen this posture.
- Don’t practice full plank pose variation in case you have carpal tunnel syndrome since it can more pain and stress on the wrists. Rather, you can modify this pose by resting the forearms on the ground instead of holding your body up with your hands.
- Don’t practice this pose in case you have osteoporosis as it can lead to an increase in the risk of fractures.
- Never allow the chest to collapse to the ground, the proper posture is the major key to strengthen the core as well as back muscles.
Plank Pose is one of the most popular asanas in many yoga styles. It includes many different types of yoga sequences, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Sun Salutation. In this way, Plank Pose is often a repetition of a series of asanas that increase heat in the body, help with sweating and strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine, and tones the abdomen.
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