I told you about the physical benefits of planking in my 2-minute plank challenge recently (if you missed my 2-minute plank challenge, check it out here). But there’s so much more to planking than the physical.
Plank Pose is a potent tool for not only strengthening your body, but also for getting your mind right so that you can change that self-defeating, self-sabotaging language into positive encouragement that will sharpen your mental focus about how capable you really are.
With regular practice your own natural mental chatter will sound more like an empowerment coach guiding you with laser focus to get through the toughest of tasks and situations — you may even fall in love with plank pose, like I have!
Plank, like Tadasana, is a foundation pose in yoga. Every other posture mimics the details of holding Plank.
Clients and colleagues know that I use Plank in all my workouts. I teach them the alignment, engagement, and breathing principles over and over until they’ve got them memorized and their bodies naturally go right into it with a simple cue:
The cue to “find plank” may begin as a physical alignment exercise, but eventually it opens us up to deeper opportunities in life. The chance to find alignment, balance, strength and focus extends far beyond the mat.
Examine where in your life you can “find plank.” Where do you tend to flee rather than face the challenge and grow stronger?
When you cultivate the language that will align your heart and mind, engage your positive energy, and unify your breath with focused action you will see major breakthroughs where you need them.
How to Plank Perfectly:
- Begin on your hands and knees with palms flat & fingers spread wide, fully connected to the earth. Allow no space to develop between you knuckle pads and the ground.
- Shift your torso forward bringing shoulders over wrists and chest between hands (this is a common cue that I give when clients get tired— they tend to shift back).
- Engage the core by exhaling to close the rib cage and press belly button to spine.
- Lift the knees away from the floor without shifting your chest backward.
- Tighten the quadriceps (front of thighs) so much that the legs straighten and you feel lifted.
- Curl the tailbone down to lengthen the low back & draw low belly in (this is neutral pelvic alignment)
- From the hips, lengthen in opposite directions: Crown of head reaches forward while heels press back
- Gaze will remain steady, targeted just above fingertips so that front and back of the neck are equal length.
Every ounce of your body should be engaged and contributing to the execution of this posture.
With a steadfast mind’s eye calm your breath, still your thoughts, and squash your doubts. Empower your body and mind to focus on what’s possible!