I could not identify a Sanskrit name for this specific pose.
Plank pose is most frequently practiced during sun salutation (surya namaskar). For brevity, my instructions below begin with downward dog.
- Begin in downward-facing dog pose.
- Shift your weight forward so that your shoulders are directly over your hands. Arms are straight; legs are straight, with toes curled under. Look straight down at your hands and keep your fingers spread wide.
- Keep your tailbone tucked and your body straight. Activate the core muscles in your abdomen to help hold you up.
- Keep your breathing deep and even. Focusing on your steady breath will help you stay strong in this pose.
- Slowly lower down to rest on your belly.
Plank pose works arm muscles and tones core muscles. It builds heat and energy in the body while building strength.
Plank may be difficult for students with wrist problems or carpal tunnel syndrome. These students can instead practice dolphin plank, which puts less pressure on wrists by resting the forearms on the floor.
My Experience of Plank Pose:
I have always hated plank pose. It makes me feel weak and helpless. I’ve been practicing yoga for over eight years – I do plank all the time and I work out with weights, but no matter how much muscle I build or how strong I think I am, plank is always really difficult for me to hold. Whenever it becomes too much and I have to drop my knees to rest, it feels like a failure.
I think I need to change my attitude towards plank pose. So far, I’ve always approached plank with the idea that if I just worked harder, I would be strong enough to do the pose well. I think I need to let go of that idea and learn to appreciate my plank for what it is: a challenging pose that makes me work. When my arms shake in plank, that doesn’t mean that I’m weak, and needing to drop my knees doesn’t make me a failure. If I can approach plank with a feeling of acceptance about where I am with the pose, my experience of the pose (and hopefully my enjoyment of it) will improve.