Plank Pose  – Kumbhakasana – is hard if you have never attempted it before. However, with a few options and with practice this is a pose that will open doors and give you access to many other postures. So…practice, practice, and practice.

If you are just starting out then here are some options for you:

–          Begin on your knees and forearms, and eventually, come up onto your hands and then balls of the feet

–          Look down and out about a foot in front of you so that your neck remains in line with your spine

–          Draw your belly button up towards your spine, you want to be as straight as a piece of timber from the top of your head to your knees or balls of feet

–          Lift your pelvic floor muscles gently up towards the centre of your belly

–          Let your shoulders broaden between the blades and feel them move away from your earlobes

–          Keep the shoulders above the elbows (or wrists if on your hands), hands shoulder width apart

–          Spread the fingers out for a solid foundation

–          If your wrists hurt, practice on your fists, or put a raise under the base of the palms to reduce the pressure on the wrists

–         If you have lower back pain or recent injuries here or in the shoulders or wrists, then take care with this pose, take it slowly  – there is no rush, be prepared to take it one breath at a time

So what is this pose good for?

  1. SHOULDER STRENGTH – This pose helps develop strength in the shoulders which in turn will give you access to poses that require upper body stability and strength such as crow, handstand, down face dog or feathered peacock
  2. ACCESS FUN – Plank firms up the trunk and develops strength in the deep muscles of our torso. If your practice plank, boat pose will get easier and you will have the core strength to move on to inversions and hand balancing poses, which are fun
  3. FOCUS – it is pretty difficult to think of anything else whilst you are holding plank – you will feel it in the legs, arms, belly, back – you will sweat and begin to shake. For the time you plank your mind will be focused on one thing, maintaining plank pose
  4. FLOW – plank pose is a great transitional pose, it lets you move from one pose to another, so you will find you are able to flow more easily from down dog to up dog, from down dog to side plank etc
  5. BOOST – as you develop strength you will discover that your practice advances, other poses get easier and your sense of personal confidence grows

Listen to your body. Practice good alignment. See if you can hold it a little longer each time. Keep breathing. Enjoy the benefits.


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