HOW TO PRACTICE Plank Pose IN YOGA (Phalakasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Plank Pose
Plank Pose (Sanskrit name: Phalakasana) is a seriously strong yoga pose. Seemingly simple, the asana is a superior core strengthener. Regular Plank practice can reap the benefits of toned abdominals, stronger arms and legs, and better postural support.
With many variations and progressions available for approaching the yoga posture, virtually anyone can find a suitable version of this pose.
Whichever Plank variation suits you, you’ll find the asana to be a total body-mind experience. Learning to spread your awareness and effort throughout your whole body is imperative for a productive Plank experience.
Benefits of Plank Pose
When done correctly, Plank Pose is a great strengthener for the entire body. Not only will your shoulders, glutes, biceps, triceps and wrists get stronger, but the entire core has to work hard to hold this asana, resulting in a toned midsection. The legs should be active the whole time you’re holding Phalakasana. When the legs are active, the quadriceps and hamstrings become stronger from practicing Plank. This yoga pose can also be energizing and can build focus.
An important foundational yoga posture for building strength and stability, Plank Pose and its preparatory variations are well worth the effort it takes to perfect your form. In addition to the boost in strength, Plank posing can help improve stability, reduce injury, improve your posture, and help maintain maximum mobility. In fact, the U.S. military has been phasing out less efficient exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches, in favor of Plank Pose variations in its training regimes.
Basic Plank Pose
- Stand in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) on a nonskid yoga mat. Place your hands on the floor, shoulders-width apart, and step both feet back to Plank. Right away, lengthen and straighten your body from head to heels, just like a plank of wood.
- Adjust the distance between your feet and hands so that you are truly on the balls of the feet.
- Lift the tops of your thighs, while simultaneously lengthening through your heels. This should make you straight from your heels to your shoulders.
- Press into your hands and feel your shoulder blades firm onto the back.
- As you press the hands into the ground, simultaneously reach the sternum forward.
- Draw the muscles of your abdominal core toward your spine for stability. Make sure you don’t drop your hips or sag through the shoulders.
- In the final version, your entire body should be energized, with your head in line with your spine—take care not to tilt your head back—and your shoulders, hips, and ankles in alignment on the right and left sides.