Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose) is one of the first strength poses we encounter in yoga. It requires us to use our core to support our long and lean structure. Only our hands and the balls of our feet support us on the earth (or knees if doing the modified version) but it is our core, our center that engages and fires and holds us steady.
This pose is fundamental in bringing ourselves into a natural state of existence. It does not require of us but asks us to let go, to BE and to accept.
Body Parts Effected: wrists, forearms, shoulders, core, upper and mid back, legs and feet
Preparatory poses: Foundational pose
Pose type: Strength pose, arm-balancing
Also known as: Kumbhakasana (kumbhaka =inhaling, exhaling and retaining, Asana = Pose)
1. Moving from downward facing dog, step one foot back in a lunge then the other.
2. When moving between plank and downdog the feet may need to move to allow for proper alignment. It is find to adjust the feet forward or back to achieve the long line.
3. Shoulders directly over wrists, use the strength of the skeleton to hold you in the pose.
4. Begin to pull the lower belly in supporting the lower back. There should be no sway of the belly towards the floor.
5. Firm the legs by lifting the back of the knees; lift the quadriceps into the hamstrings.
6. The legs should be far enough apart to provide balance but not overly wide.
7. The heels should be pointed to the sky and you should be on the balls of the feet.
8. Begin to round slightly at the shoulder blades, spreading them apart, use the strength of the back body to hold you in place.
9. Breathe calmly and steady through the nose, lengthening the breath.
Modifications and Use of a Props
1. To prevent sway back drop the knees, bring chest forward keeping back straight.
2. For wrist injuries, the full pose can be performed on forearms.
3. For wrist injuries, the full pose can also be done on the knuckles.
4. Using hand gel pads can help lesson wrist tension or folding mat over a couple of times to make a softer surface.
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone with wrist injuries should not practice the full version of this pose.
c. Anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome should not practice the full version of this pose.
d. If you have osteoporosis this pose should be modified on either forearms, or knees down.