Phalakasana or Plank pose is one of the best yoga poses for beginners as it is an easy ‘arm balance’ asana. The term Phalakasana is a combination of the words ‘phalaka’ (the Sanskrit word for plank), and asana (meaning posture). Phalakasana strengthens the arms and abdomen which is why it is one of the best yoga postures for people who wish to increase their upper body strength or overall fitness levels. You can start with a daily routine that includes yoga exercises for beginners as well as basic yoga poses and once you are proficient in these, you can move on to more challenging asanas such as Phalakasana.
How To Perform Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
Phalakasanamust be performed at least 4-6 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach (and bowels) are empty at this time; therefore, it is best to include this pose as part of your morning yoga routine. You should perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform Phalakasana. You can learn a few Phalakasanaprep poses such as AdhoMukhaShvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose, ChaturangaDandasana (Four-Limbed Staff pose) before you learn how to do Plank pose. These prep poses for Phalakasana are basic yoga poses that will gently stretch and strengthen the muscles of your arms, abdomen, and back. These are the 3Plank pose steps:
Begin on your hands and knees in tabletop position with your palms flat against the floor and your fingers splayed out.
Keep your hands in the same position and stretch your legs out straight behind you and balance your weight on the balls of your feet. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be in a straight line and they should be at a 90 degree angle to the floor.
Stay in this position for 10-15 seconds.
Follow these Phalakasana steps carefully and do not make any changes to them. It is important to follow thePhalakasana sequence of steps to maximise the effects of this asana.
How To Release From Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
To release from Phalakasana, come back down on to your knees into the tabletop position and then slide your body back until your buttocks touch your heels. Come upright once again and sit in the Virasana (Hero pose). You can then move on to any one of the Phalakasana follow-up poses such as AdhoMukhaShvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose), ChaturangaDandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), Pashimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), and Bhujangasana (Cobra pose). Jerky or sudden movements can result in muscle strains so keep your movements smooth as you transition from one pose to another.
Similar Poses To Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
There are a few other poses that are similar to Phalakasanaand you can include them in your yoga routine to relieve any tension in your arms, shoulders and chest.
Tittibhasana – Firefly pose
Tolasana – Scale pose
Bakasana – Crow pose
Vasisthasana – Side Plank pose
These poses will enhance the benefits of Phalakasanaand will help to quiet your mind and relax your muscles.
Benefits Of Phalakasana(Plank Pose)
Strengthens your arms, shoulders, and wrists
Improves posture and balance
Firms the abdomen by working on your core stomach muscles
Stretches the muscles of the thighs and calves
Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to increase muscle flexibility and body tone while also eliminating stress and anxiety.Yoga for strengthening the upper body offers a wide range of benefits as it increases your flexibility, mobility and range of motion.
Furthermore, it helps to get rid of posture imbalances and helps you achieve proper posture. While there are many benefits of Phalakasana, it is most often recommended for people who are unused to exercise as it is one of the best upper body strengthening yoga asanas and it will help you get fit and toned. Phalakasana puts very little physical stress on the body; in fact, it is a common yoga pose during pregnancy as it helps to prevent the back pain and digestive problems that are common during pregnancy.There are several Phalakasana variations depending on whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced practitioner. Phalakasana is not physically challenging but it can be mentally taxing as most yoga beginners lose their focus within a few minutes as their minds start to wander. However, with regular yoga practice you will be able to overcome this problem.
Contraindications Of Phalakasana(Plank Pose)
While the benefits and importance of Phalakasana are immense, there are certain circumstances when you should avoid this pose. Avoid practicing this asana if you are suffering from any kind of shoulder or arm injury/problem. You should also skip this yoga pose if you have carpal tunnel syndrome or low back pain.
Tips For Phalakasana(Plank Pose)
Make sure that your neck is in line with your spine and that your chin does not drop towards your chest while performing Phalakasana.