Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yoga 101- Plank

Before we get into plank, I have to share the two "first time for everything" experiences I had yesterday. Two in one day! 

1) I had to be somewhere at 9:00am. I was running a little bit late because I went through the inevitable "do I need to shower" debate (always a no). As I turned off of our street it hit me, I FORGOT to eat breakfast! How did this happen? Will I make it to lunch without eating? Who am I? I spent too much time in disbelief to think fast. I should've taken it as a sign that Chick-Fil-A had an extra biscuit with my name on it. 

2) Lately I have been thinking a lot about a specific topic. It is undoubtedly because I've been doing more yoga and thinking about yoga so much. I feel like I am connecting some dots in my brain but still trying to find the words to explain. Yesterday evening I was in the shower and I had the thought, "maybe if I write an essay about this it'll help me to....WAIT A SECOND" Now, for those of you who do not know Kevin as well, this is exactly the type of thing he does. Write an essay for fun? When I'm not in school? Who will grade it? Why would I do that? I have no idea where the notion came from, other than 7 months of marriage to the most scholarly person I know. 

But on to plank:

Plank is very versatile. It is a wonderful shoulder and core-strengthening pose if it is held for a few breaths and it is also a transitional pose to get you to almost any other yoga pose. When holding plank, think strong and solid. The whole body should be engaged, from the shoulders to the toes. Get into plank either by laying on the floor and pushing up, folding forward from a standing position and walking the feet back or starting in downward dog and dropping the hips. Once in plank, hold it for 3-5 breaths or to the count of 30. 

The Hands- are directly below the shoulders. The arms are in a straight line from the shoulder to the wrist. Spread the fingers wide to distribute the weight throughout the hands. The hand position may feel more snug then the top of a push-up position, depending on your push-ups. 

The Head- is in a neutral position, reaching the crown of the head away from the feet. Looking between the hands or just in front of the hands helps keep the head in the right place. 

The Shoulders- push back away from the ears. Imagine you are trying to make the shoulder blades touch in the center of the back, just like in downward dog. This visual keeps the shoulders from hunching. 

The Back/Core- is straight and strong. All of the core muscles are engaged to hold the body stable and the hips up.  

The Legs- are straight with the knees lifted. The feet are about hip width apart, the toes press into the mat and the heels are lifted. 

Focus on: Creating a diagonal line from the head to the shoulders, hips and heels. Pull the crown of the head forward while pushing the heels back. 

NOT plank: 
hips are too high and the shoulders are behind the wrists
midsection is sagging and the shoulders are hunched
Still working on it? Drop the knees to the floor for a kneeling plank. Think girl push-ups, which is just a little bit offensive to girls. Keep the wrists directly below the shoulders, the whole body engaged and straight, with the diagonal line ending at the knees instead of the feet. 

There you have it, plank pose! Have you tried plank? Do you love it or hate it?

Alas, we shall see if Kevin has REALLY changed me or if he's just put new thoughts in my brain. Will I really write an essay for "fun"? 

1 comment:

  1. Don't think of it as an essay for fun, but just a blog rough draft!! Also, not eating breakfast spells sure impending disaster for me. Not cute.