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Plank pose (Kumbhakasana) steps, benefits and precautions

Plank pose or the Kumbhakasana is a balancing pose which strengthens the upper body and prepares the practitioner for more advanced upper body balancing yoga poses. It works very effectively on your hands and spine. It also leads to an improvement in the core strength.

Plank pose steps, benefits and precautions

Kumbhakasana meaning

The name Kumbhakasana is composed of two words.

  • ‘Kumbhaka’ meaning breath retention
  • ‘Asana’ meaning yoga pose

Since the practitioner holds his breath in the final pose, the yoga pose is referred to as Kumbhakasana.

Plank pose (Kumbhakasana) steps, benefits and precautions

How to do the plank pose?

Here is a step by step guide to do the plank pose or Kumbhasana.

Step one

There are multiple ways by which you can get into the Plank pose. However, it is preferable to start this pose from the position where you have placed both your hands and both your legs on the floor or the yoga mat. 

While you are on all fours with your knees on the ground, your wrists are also aligned with your shoulders with your arms completely straight. The palms of your hands are pointing in the forward direction with the fingers spread wide.

Step two

Take a deep breath and make your legs straight in the backward direction. As you lift your knees from the floor and step your feet back, keep the line from your toes, knees and hips straight.  

In this pose, weight of your body will be supported on your arms and your toes completely.

Step three

Hold the pose for 10-15 breaths. Keep breathing normally while holding the body and spine straight.

A lot of people have the tendency to have sagging shoulders or chest while they are holding the pose. That should be strictly avoided. At the same time, there should be no rounding of shoulders or back as well in the pose.

Step four

To release from the pose, lower your knees while exhaling and shift to the pose in step one. You can also go to the Child’s pose (Balasana) in this step.

Benefits of the plank pose

  1. In the plank pose, the core and abdominal muscles are used to maintain the posture. So it helps in toning these muscles and strengthens them.
  2. Kumbhakasana helps in building upper body strength and improves your core strength as well.
  3. For people looking for a thin waist and flat abdomen, this asana can be very helpful and lead to long term benefits.
  4. The pose also helps in improving the ability of the practitioner to concentrate and reduces restlessness and anxiety.
  5. It improves the strength of your arms, wrists and spine.
  6. For a lot of practitioners, sitting on their office desks for longer hours leads to issues like bad posture and rounded shoulders. Kumbhakasana’s regular practice can help you to overcome such issues with regular practice. 
  7. This yoga pose is very beneficial for people suffering from issues like migraine and insomnia.
  8. Since, you are supposed to maintain your pose without any sagging of the chest in this asana, it opens your chest and tones them.
  9. The Plank pose stretches your calves and hamstrings . This helps in toning these muscles and makes them more flexible.

Precautions and contraindications

  1. Anyone who is suffering from recent injuries in arms, elbows, wrists or shoulders should not practice the Plank pose.
  2. If you are someone who is facing issues with the Carpal tunnel syndrome, you should avoid practicing Kumbhakasana as it can further aggravate the issues.
  3. This yoga pose is also avoidable for people suffering from leg injuries since it puts a lot of pressure on your thighs, calves and hamstrings. That is why it is advisable to consult an experienced yoga practitioner before you incorporate this asana in your practice after an injury.
  4. If you are someone suffering from cardiac issues or problems of high/low blood pressure, you should avoid the Plank pose.

Related yoga poses to the plank pose

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