Article by Rev. Daya Devi-Doolin
There are quite a few benefits for practicing what is called the Plank Pose (high plank). For the plank pose, she explains to students, you do not need to use props like a chair, stool or anything else except your body weight. This is a great core asana (pose) and it isn’t necessary to go to a gym to practice it either. It involves using your shoulders, your core, muscles in the back, in the thighs and legs and a determination to increase the time in holding the pose for yourself as a goal. Use a stopwatch to help you, if you can in seeing the time go by quickly and making it fun for yourself.
Begin in table position, hands and knees on the floor, hips distance apart, elbows are straight and shoulders are over the wrists, palms flat and firm on the floor, fingers wide on the mat. Lift up the body with your inhale breath and straighten your legs back behind you as you curl your toes under the feet. You can adjust your arms for high plank or low plank. In low plank, your elbows are bent, shoulders are stacked over the wrists, and close to your ribcage like in Sphinx asana. Make sure your knees are straight up off the mat. If that is uncomfortable, try resting the knees on the floor. Remembering to breathe through the nostrils to give you more strength and power in holding the pose.
You can do a modified side plank by turning your body to your right side on your right elbow, stack the left leg and foot on top of the right foot and line your body to the right side.
Place your left arm and hand on the left thigh. Breathing in about 2-5 breaths through our nostrils. Come back to center, balance yourself and practice the low plank on the left side, in the same manner.
Tips: If getting into the plank is difficult, try first lowering the knees to the floor. Don’t sink the lower back, keep the body in plank line, head level with buttocks, buttocks level with the heels as toes curl under. Try not to sag in the shoulders but try to open the chest by placing shoulder blades touching each other. Hold the pose for about five inhalations and 5 exhalations. Keep your body in nice long plank. When you feel the urge to quit, tell yourself, “I will just hold for one last breath” and when that comes say again, “I will hold just for one more last time.” And say to yourself “Thanks.” for accomplishing this difficult feat. This is inner strength and it develops inner confidence.
What Are Possible Benefits You Might Reap?
The benefits number quite a bit and making your back stronger not necessarily #1 but, gathering your muscles tightly around the vertebrae and yet making them flexible enough to support your spine as you now begin to sit with a straighter back.
If you have trouble with wrists supporting your arms and shoulders, you can always start working from hands on the base of a chair on the back of a chair to experience making your wrists strong and pain free. Make sure the chair is stable against a wall.
Use this chair as a push-up and away for you as well to benefitting from stronger and pain-free wrists. Just believe in yourself and have the breath work with you and let go of any fear or stress about hurting yourself. Trust that all is well for you and just do a little at a time as far as push-away/push-ups using the chair.
While you are inhaling through your nostrils, taking in pranic energy and oxygen, you are warming up the arteries and veins so that your body can receive a steady flow of blood and more can get to parts of the body that are starving for fresh energy and to get “unkinked”.
Your spine can become longer and stronger and buttocks become tighter and firmer.
The hamstrings, the backs of the legs can become firmer and your ankles and feet become tighter around the bones. Less chance of ankles falling over to the side as you walk in heels or flats if you are a female.
As you breathe during the Plank your shoulders blades should touch and that could give you more space for your lungs to expand and take in more oxygen and release toxins or carbon dioxide.
The firmer and stronger your body becomes, the more confident you become in your skin and an air of self-confidence becomes a part of you that you had been missing.
The Plank builds your core and upper body strength. It strengthens the tendons around the wrist and lengthens the muscles along the spine.
The Plank or Phalakasana (High Plank)
Rev. Daya Devi-Doolin, is a 500-hour E-RYT (Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher). She is Known as a “Doctor of Thought”. Daya Devi-Doolin is an Ordained Minister and the Co-founder with her husband Chris, of The Doolin Healing Sanctuary in Deltona, FL. She is an internationally known speaker and Award-Winning Author of metaphysical and self-help books. Her inspirational speeches share the secrets for a successful life. She is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher. The Doolin Healing Sanctuary was Voted among Top 5 Yoga Studios on Orlando’s A List in 2013 and the 2nd Top Yoga Studios of Orlando A List for 2014. They received Best Alternative Healing Business Award for Orange City and Deltona, FL in 2013 and 2014. Daya is the host of her own show at www.blogtalkradio.com/padaran and she’s going into her sixth year as host.