Plank pose is translated to Kumbhakasana in Sanskrit. It is such a great asana to master for many reasons. One of the best benefits of a plank is that you significantly improve your core strength. Having core strength is not just for that six-pack in your Instagram photos; it ensures that the spine is kept stabilized and reduces risk of injury to the back.
The four main muscles that support the spine are:
- The transverse abdominals
- The rectus abdominals
- The internal obliques
- The external obliques
When these muscles are weak we adopt a poor posture, allowing our bodies to slump forward; the shoulders hunch forward, we lean to one side, and the natural curves in our spine may become exaggerated. This unnecessary stress on the spine can cause back pain and lead us to become depressed. That is why strengthening these muscles is so important. They allow us to hold a good posture all day long, therefore not putting any strain on any areas of the spine. They also give us the strength to balance. If you have ever struggled during balancing asanas during yoga classes, try to strengthen your core, and you will definitely notice a difference.
Planking also strengthens our gluteus muscles. These are the muscles on your buttocks that not only help to support your back but will also give you a nice-looking bottom. As well as the physical benefits, there are also mental benefits that come from practicing plank and strengthening the core. The improved posture, lessened risk of back pain, and the nice-looking bottom is sure to lift your mood.
How To Do It Right
- Start off in tabletop position. Make sure that your palms are flat on the floor, fingers facing forward and your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Also, make sure that your knees are directly under your hips.
- Curl the toes and come onto your tiptoes. Lift your knees off the floor and begin to straighten the legs.
- Don’t move the hips. Keep them in a straight line with your shoulders.
- Push up through the shoulders, don’t let the neck collapse into them.
- Keep the gaze forward and down (about 12 inches in front of you).
- Remember you should look like a plank of wood. If you are unsure of how you look in this pose, get somebody to help you out or take a picture of yourself. A common mistake is that hips are lifted too high or dropped to low.
Now go strengthen your core and have fun!