Definition - What does Plank Pose mean?
Plank pose is a strengthening and balancing pose that prepares the arms and core body for more advanced arm-balancing postures.
Begin with the hands and knees on the mat, or table top pose. Align the wrists under the shoulders so that the arms are in a straight line from the shoulders down. Palms should be face down on the mat with fingers spread wide. The hands and arms must stay strong to support the body and protect the wrists. Draw the navel toward the spine, and keep the neck and head in alignment with the rest of the spine. Inhale and step the feet back toward the end of the mat. With the arms and feet strong, the body should be in a straight line from the crown of the head through the heels. Hips and thighs should remain lifted, but without moving out of spinal alignment. The pelvis should not dip toward the floor or rise toward ceiling. Practice gentle and controlled breaths while the abdominal muscles work to maintain alignment in this pose. To exit, softly lower the knees to the mat.
Plank pose is also known as kumbhakasana in Sanskrit.
Yogapedia explains Plank Pose
Individuals who are building strength, have sensitive wrists, or have carpal tunnel syndrome may wish to practice plank pose with a modification. Once the feet step back to the end of the mat, drop the knees to the floor so that the spine is aligned in an angle. To protect the wrists, drop the forearms to the mat with elbows aligned under the shoulders.
Plank pose is most often used as a transitional pose between sun salutation flows, especially in Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga. It helps improve balance and prepare the body for more advanced arm balancing postures (like side plank pose and wheel pose).
In addition to strengthening the arms and wrists, this pose tones the abdomen while strengthening the spine, which can help develop better posture over time. Although it is usually only practiced for five or so breaths (and sometimes only one breath when used as a transitional pose), plank pose is thought to also benefit the nervous system when practiced for several minutes.