Another basic, everyday asana is the good old plank pose aka Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana. While it is a pose that does not neccessarily look too exciting, it often proves to be challenging. Not only does plank pose require a certain amount of strength (arms & core), its biomechanics are also more complex than first expected.
Understanding the dynamics of plank pose is definitely worth the effort though as this asana builds a strong foundation for your yoga practice and is extremely beneficial for your overall posture and strength.
How to get into the pose:
- Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Place your wrists right under your shoulders, with the creases of your wrists parallel to the short end of your mat. Spread your palms.
- Step both legs back, parallel and hip distance apart, grounding all ten toes.
- Reach your heels back and firm the legs by lifting your kneecaps and pressing the tops of your thighs up.
- Reach your sternum forward and your tailbone back towards the space between your heels.
- Push the floor away by pressing down evenly through the base of each finger and straighten your arms.
- Keep the gaze slightly forward and the neck aligned with your spine.
Key actions while you are in the pose:
- Root down through the thumb and index finger mound as you roll your inner upper arms towards your outer upper arms to externally rotate your shoulders and broaden the back.
- Press the shoulder blades into the chest as you broaden through the collarbones. Be mindful of “winging” shoulderblades!
- Draw the bottom ribs towards your frontal hip bones and gently engage your belly.
- Lift your inner thighs towards the ceiling and firm your outer thighs.
- Firm the inner and outer arches of your feet and reach back through the heels.
- If you find your belly collapsing to the floor, place your knees on the ground and practice the pose like this until you have build enough strength in your core and arms to safely practice the full interpretation.