Phalankasana (Plank Pose)
Phalankasana (Plank Pose) is a wonderful asana (Yoga pose) particularly for those wishing to work their upper and lower abdominals and overall core stability all at once. Also Yoga institutions try to help you draw in your belly button, as much as you can just with the use of your lower abdominal muscles. However, this is not the best way; you have to learn to completely relax the rest of your body, as well. The best way is to hold the contraction till such time as you start to feel the other muscles contract more
until you don’t feel anything anymore. While pelvic rotations do help you flatten your back completely, the Plank Pose achieves much more with so much less effort. All you have to do is bear in mind that you should use your abdominal muscles more for this; keep your legs relaxed and avoid using them for any pelvic rotations. Phalankasana is also called “push up position” as this pose tones up and strengthens the arms and abdominal muscles.
How to do Phalankasana
1. To start the pose, go into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose). Then, with a deep inhalation, draw your torso forward till your arms are at right angles to the floor and your shoulders are right above your wrists, body parallel to the floor.
2. Now press the base of your index fingers into the mat and press your outer arms inward. Compressing your shoulder blades against your back slowly spread them away from your spine. Likewise, move your collarbones away from your sternum.
3. Push your thighs up toward the ceiling, but gently shove your tailbone back down toward the mat, as you stretch it toward your heels. Lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and gaze down, placidly, at the mat. Keep your eyes and throat soft.
4. Phalankasana is one of the positions in the long-established Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) sequence. You can also do the pose as a standalone asana and retain it for anywhere from 30 – 60 seconds.
5. To help strengthen your arms even more in the pose, try looping and securing a Yoga belt or strap around your upper arms, a little higher than your elbows. Push your inner arms out against the belt. Release your outer arms from your shoulders down to the mat, and raise your inner arms from the bases of your index fingers to your shoulders.
Benefits of Plank Pose
- Strengthens the wrists, arms, back and spine
- Tones up the muscles and organs of the abdomen
Plank Pose Contraindications
- Carpal tunnel syndrome