In Plank Pose, the body is kept as firm and straight as a plank, toning torso muscles and strengthening the arms. By mastering the Plank Pose, one prepares for the more difficult Chaturanga Dandasana that will be featured next week.
This pose presents the classic challenge of yoga asanas. Here we are asked to isolate and activate different parts of the body to support the pose, rather than rely on brute strength. Mastery is achieved when the pose becomes effortless and the mind serene. In this way of practice, asanas are more of a "work-in" than a "work-out"!
1. Lie face down and bring your hands level with your chest, fingers pointing forward. Spread your palms wide and press them evenly into the floor. Bring your elbows close to the sides of your body.
2. Spread your feet hip width apart and tuck your toes under to rest on the balls of your feet. Tighten your legs and lift your thighs and shins off the floor. Extend the heels back. Contract your abdomen and lengthen the buttock bones toward the heels. Keep your buttocks tucked in and not up in the air.
3. Look forward and pull your shoulders down away from the ears to keep the back of your neck soft. Widen your collar bones and open your chest.
COURTESY MANOA YOGA CENTER
Alison Sherwood demonstrates the plank pose.
4. Keep elbows in as you lift up until your arms are straight. Flatten the entire back of your body like a plank of wood by keeping your legs and torso firm and buttocks in. Tighten and lift the front body and legs to prevent the ribs and pelvis from collapsing. Work to fully straighten your arms, keeping your elbows firm, so that the upper arm bones sit in the shoulder sockets.
5. Do not let the your body weight fall with gravity but resist this by maintaining a lift from the front of the torso and legs.
6. Maintain the pose without collapsing for up to 30 seconds, keeping your face relaxed and your breath quiet and even through your nose.
7. Exhale as you return to the floor, keeping your elbows close to the body and shoulders down.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.