Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Plank Pose (Phalakasana in Sanskrit) is a strength building foundational posture.

It is often used when learning basic sun salutations, which are performed toward the beginning of a practice. The posture is a total body strengthener targeting the core, shoulders, wrists, and back.

Phalakasana translates to “plank” or “board”, because that is the position your body resembles while in the position. This is a fairly challenging asana (posture) strength-wise and may need to be modified by dropping the knees to the floor in the beginning when learning how to do it.

How to Do Plank Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Begin on all fours in a tabletop position. Make sure the wrists are stacked directly under the shoulders for stabilization. Step one foot back at a time until the entire body is lifted off the mat. The heels should press back while the crown of the head lengthens forward. Keep the gaze just past your fingertips.

Step 2

Draw the shoulder blades into the back, knit the rib cage into the center and lift the abdomen upward. There should be a straight line all the way through the body, from the crown of the head all the way to the heels.

Step 3

If you need to modify, lower the knees to the mat. The body will be at more of an angle here, but it is important to still ensure everything is lined up properly.

Plank Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens core, shoulders, wrists, and back muscles
  • Improves focus
  • Stabilizes entire body
  • Lengthens neck and chest
  • Improves postures