PLANK POSE (Chaturanga Dandasana)

   

Contra-indications: Recent or chronic injury to the back or shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, recent abdominal surgery.

How to perform: Begin on the hands and knees with the hands beneath the shoulders and knees beneath the hips. Spread the fingers apart with the middle finger pointing forward. Straighten the right leg out behind you placing the toes on the ground and turned under. Lengthen through the spine and engage the core muscles making sure that the pelvis is not tilting forward. Then without changing the spinal curves, straighten the left leg placing it at about hip width from the right one. Do not dip or raise your hips. The body should be in one line from the top of your head to your heels. Press the heels back and the crown of the head forward. Hold the pose for 6-12 breaths then bend the knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest in Balasana.

Do not sink into the lower back – press the front thighs up towards the ceiling, but scoop the tailbone down towards the floor as you lengthening it in the direction of the heels to find neutral position of the pelvis. Do not hunch the upper back – press the outer arms inward and gently slide the shoulder blades down the back so the shoulders are away from the ears.

Do keep the arms are perpendicular to the floor, shoulders over wrists. Make sure the hands are flat and totally engaged into the floor with fingers spread evenly. Keep the neck long and naturally curved – gaze downwards but don't let the head hang. 

What if… I have no strength to hold the pose? Keep one knee on the floor, just work on straightening one leg at a time as you maintain the natural curves of the spine.


Benefits:Strengthens wrists, arms, shoulders, spine and front thigh muscles. Tones abdominal muscles and teaches the proper way of using abdominal muscles in harmony with lower back. Improves posture. Develops stability and a state of inner balance.

 

 

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