Learning the Language of Yoga: The Plank Pose #MovementMondays
Here is a pose that can really strengthen your entire body. Plank pose – Kumbhakasana – is known as an arm balancing pose. It is also one of the positions in the traditional sun salutation sequences. Plank is often used as a transitional pose, or can be held for up to one minute to build strength and stamina.
- Getting into it: from downward dog, look to your hands and glide forward. Your sitting bones are now low, and your body is parallel to your mat. There is a nice long line in your body. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your wrist creases are parallel to the front edge of your mat. Press your hands and fingers down and evenly into the mat. Pull your shoulders away from your ears, and keep the back of your neck long. Tuck your tailbone in to lengthen your entire spine. Push your thighs up to fire up your core muscles. Press out through your heels and reach the crown of your head forward. Be sure to keep breathing.
- Tips and tricks:
- Spread palms wide and press into your fingertips if your wrists are sensitive.
- Press your inner upper arms away to engage you biceps and hyperextending your elbows.
- Ground down all 10 toes and press your heels back to take any pressure off of your arms.
- Use your core muscles to help maintain this pose longer.
- Provides a great way to warm up your body before a yoga class or any activity.
- Strengthens your arms, wrists and spine.
- Prepares you for more challenging arm balances.
- Tones your abdominal muscles.
I once held plank pose for five minutes. It was a huge challenge but, in a strange way, fun as well. They key was to press out of my heels like crazy. Pressing out or down through your heels often comes in handy during a yoga practice.
Natalie Anthony, BA, RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
After a serious accident, Natalie was revived by discovering the physical and emotional benefits of yoga. Her yoga journey began as a client at Balance, and evolved into a passion for teaching the practice to others. Natalie is registered with the International Yoga Alliance as an instructor. Her creative sequencing inspires students to develop strength, flexibility and joy – both on and off the mat. Natalie instructs group classes and facilitates private one-on-one Yoga sessions at Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness and wellness centre. balancefit.com