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Yoga Poses: Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

Resources, Yoga

Yoga Poses: Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

 The Plank Pose, in Sanskrit is known as the Chaturanga Dandasana. In this pose, the body stays in the shape of a plank on the ground and thus, alignment is the most critical aspect of this pose. It is a very common arm balance as well as strengthening pose and is well known in the sports world to help athletes develop wrist integrity.

Health Benefits

Plank Pose effectively strengthens the arms, wrists and spine and tones the abdomen making it one of the most useful poses for body toning. It is a preparatory pose for even more challenging arm balances pose. The pose strengthens the quads and abdominal and tones the core of the body. It increases the strength of the back and helps determine a neutral body position. Plank Position improves concentration and focus. It also relieves  from tension and mental stress.

Getting into the pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you. Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate Initial Position: Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Drishti or Gaze: To the ground. Steps

  1. Get into the initial position. Inhale on a count of 3 (1-2-3) and draw your upper body forward till your arms are perpendicular to the floor. Your shoulders should be above your wrists. Do not raise or dip your buttocks. Keep the whole body in a straight line.
  2. Spread your fingers wide apart with even spacing between each finger and firmly press your palms onto the floor.
  3. Slide your shoulder blades down the back, away from the spine, such that the neck muscles get stretched and elongated and the shoulders move away from ears. Do not let your chest sink and keep your legs long and straight. Point your heels up at the sky and square up your feet.
  4. Look straight down at the floor and hold the pose for as long as possible (15-30 seconds for a beginner).
  5. Exhale on a count of 3 and revert to the starting position. Repeat it thrice along with other yoga poses.

Rest in Child’s pose if you feel exerted.

Other variations

  • One-Leg-Lifted Plank Pose: After coming into the plank pose, inhale and lift the left leg up and parallel to the floor. Keep the body lengthened and the tailbone pressed towards the pubis. Exhale on a count of 5 and get the foot back to the floor.
  • Fisted Plank Pose: If you find your wrists are not strong enough or are injured to perform this pose, then you can make a fist of your hand and carry out the pose as usual. Bend your elbows and balance your weight on your forearms.
  • Chair yoga version: Stand a few feet away from a sturdy chair and hold the edge with both hands. Lower down body in the plank position as if performing the pose on a raised surface.

Preparatory poses

Beginners tips

Beginners can alternate between downward facing dog pose and plank pose by moving back and forth, but without moving hands and feet. The distance between the hands and the feet should be constant and same for both poses. Do not raise or dip your buttocks in either case. Also, absolute beginners can take up Chair yoga version first.

Advanced poses

Important Notes

  • Patients of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome should refrain from practicing this pose.
  • Plank pose is not advisable for those suffering from chronic low back pain or chronic wrist pain.
Last Update: July 2nd, 2014
Next Update: Sept 2nd, 2014

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