Anatomy of a Pose - Laurel Marsh

Plank

Benefits

 Laurel Marsh

Laurel Marsh

  • Strengthens the spine, abdomen, arms, and wrists
  • Builds strength and stamina for more advanced yoga poses

Key Actions

  • Start on hands and knees in table top.  Be sure that the arms are parallel to each other and the shoulders are directly over the wrists.  Look back at the legs and bring them hips width distance with the hips directly over the knees.
  • Press down into the hands, especially at the base of each index finger.
  • Press up into the space between the shoulder blades taking any hollowing out of this area.  Feel how this slightly spreads the shoulder blades apart and firms them against the back.
  • Maintaining the previous actions, broaden across the collar bones and lengthen the sternum forward as the outer arms firm in.
  • Draw the frontal hip bones of the pelvis towards the lower ribs, shortening the distance between these two areas.  This brings the pelvis into more of a posterior tilt and helps to tone the lower belly.
  • Extend the right leg straight back and then the left leg, coming onto the balls of the feet.
  • Lift the fronts of the upper leg bones away from the floor to tone the legs.
  • Maintain the actions of the arms, shoulder blades and pelvis from table top and press the heels back as the sternum lengthens forward.
  • Keep the back of the head in line with the spine while gazing down to the floor.
  • Find a steady breath and relax the muscles of the face.
  • Stay for 5-10 breathes.

Modifications

  •  For wrist sensitivity, plank can be done on the forearms.  For this version interlace the hands and tuck the bottom pinky finger under.  Come onto the forearms and bring the elbows slightly narrower than shoulder width.  Stack the shoulders directly over the elbows and find the same actions as if coming into plank on the hands. 
  • Lowering the knees in plank is always an option if it gets to be too intense.  Continue to work the actions of plank in the body even if the knees are lowered.