Nurture Your Love-Hate Relationship with Plank Pose

The Yogi in the picture is Khun Nada. Our neighbor, friend and one of the strongest Yogis that we have had the honor of practicing with

The Yogi in the picture is Khun Nada. Our neighbor, friend and one of the strongest Yogis that we have had the honor of practicing with

You hate it, but you know it is good for you.

The studio’s one year anniversary is just around the corner and I have been thinking a lot about the foundations that were put in place to build this studio and community on. I recently find that while teaching I am coming back to many of the foundation postures and inviting people to find a deeper meaning or a deeper place in them in their own practice. Which brings me to the humble yet challenging Plank, Max and I thought we might have a bit of fun with Plank and all its various incarnations, so we have come up with the idea of #plankaday. Not an original idea and one we borrow the resources of Fitness Magazine to execute.

The idea is simple, every day starting September 1, do the plank on the enclosed poster and link, take a picture of yourself and post it on Instagram or Facebook with both #plankaday and #loveyogatique. Because I can’t respect a Yoga teacher that won’t get down and dirty with the hard work, Max (he is always up for a challenge, he’s been married to me for 24 years) and I will play along too.

On October 2, we will draw 3 names from the Yogis that participate and reward each, with one of three prizes:

  1. A month unlimited yoga pass
  2. A 10 class yoga pass
  3. A Yogatique T-shirt

It is not a contest for the best executed Plank or the most Plank, we are hoping it is a fun way that we can build strength and community together.  Our friends in Canada, Ed Isidro and Sanguine Yoga (our old home studio) are going to join in too.

Kumbhakasana (Plank pose) or Utthita Chataranga Dandasana (Extended four limbed staff pose) is more commonly known as high plank and is one of the foundation postures of the Sun Salutation sequences. It is often used as a transitional posture, but it can be practiced on its own to build strength and stamina. Let’s not confuse this asana with what is often called Chataranga Dandasana, low plank or yogi push up, the transitional posture used as a part of most Vinyasa practices to “clean the slate”.

Plank Pose tones all of the core muscles of the body, including the abdomen, chest, and low back. It strengthens the arms, wrists, and shoulders, and is often used to prepare the body for more challenging arm balances. Plank also strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, which improves posture. Practicing Plank Pose also builds endurance and stamina, while toning the nervous system.

It’s hard (I know I said it already) and it can be extra challenging for women to perfect this pose. The benefits to your overall yoga practice, body and posture are too many to ignore. Once mastered, this posture has a way of making you feel like you can move forward to undertake all the other stronger postures that you see other Yogis do with ease.

Jump on board and get your plank on!

We can compare biceps in October

The Posture:

  • Keep the palms directly under the shoulders.Arms straight and spreading the fingers wide, middle finger pointing forward. Pressing down into the base of your fingers, weight evenly distributed across the hands.
  • Legs straight, toes tucked under and facing forward.Imagine pushing back on a wall with your heels. Pressing the heels back is very important in helping keep the spine and neck in line and your bottom flat down.
  • Body in one straight line, abdomen, legs and bottom engaged, without any sagging or arching. Keep the core engaged and keep your belly button lifting to the sky.
  • Firm the shoulder blades to the back and spread them away from the spine. Make sure your shoulder blades aren’t slouching forward. Keep a lot of space between your chest and the ground.
  • Gaze (Sanskrit: Drishti) is forward and down.
  • Remember to breathe. Your breathe is your fuel through this pose!
  • To come out you can push yourself back into downward facing dog pose or lower the knees to the floor and rest in Child’s pose.

    Modifications:

  • If you are not ready for high plank, drop down to half-plank. From high plank, bend the knees and bring them to the mat. Flatten the tops of the feet on the floor. Keep the spine straight from the hips up through the neck.
  • If you have wrist discomfort, make the hands into fists, balancing on the knuckles (inner wrists facing each other) instead of on flat palms or roll up your mat or a towel and place it under the heel of your palm for more support and to reduce the angle of the bend of the wrists.

plankchallenge_calendarfinal

sherriSherri (Minh) Lowe is a 200 Hour RYT ( who is working her way towards her 200 hour E- RYT one yoga class at a time) and co-founder of Yogatique Bangkok. She is a fifty-one year old Canadian transplant living in Bangkok.  When she is not on her yoga mat, she enjoys cycling, trying new vegan recipes, a cold beer, lingering in coffee shops and exploring Bangkok. When not pursing these activities, she is writing about them in various on line publications

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