Side Plank Practice

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Any version of Plank pose strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, core, legs, and improves balance. I’m a BIG believer that yoga is for everybody and every body. Planks are amazing for building strength and stability. Everybody should be doing planks!Read on for a few tips for your plank practice...

The above photo is showing the version of Side Plank that we’re currently working on in my Vinyasa class, but there are so many plank variations.If you’re new to planks, take a look at my last few posts for good starting points to work up to a full Side Plank, and check out this post How To: Plank Pose with a short video tutorial. The strength and stability for it doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t be discouraged. Especially when you consider that this is also an arm balance. Start with developing the correct alignment in poses like Kneeling Plank and Plank before you make the jump to Side Plank. Then work up to longer holds to build strength. And never do anything that hurts.

Build your strength over time and add progressions only when you feel ready. Planks are great for adding all kinds of modifications and movement to make them easier or harder. Eventually, challenge yourself with something like the Plank March.

Here are a few *TIPS* for your plank practice…

• First, whatever version of plank you’re in (Kneeling Plank, Plank, Side Plank, etc), you have to stay super aware of your shoulders. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body, which explains why so many people develop injuries there. Stay active and supportive at the shoulder— always. Think of lifting up through the arms and shoulders so that you don't start to sag onto your shoulder joints. Another way to think of it: create space at your shoulder joints, not compression.

• Next, while we are thinking about shoulder alignment, also make the effort to pull the shoulders away from the ears. Do the opposite of a shrug. This will help stabilize the shoulders and take tension away from your neck.

• Finally, treat your legs like you would in an active standing pose. Activate them, lengthen them, squeeze them! This will make your Side Plank a lot more solid and strong. If your legs aren’t engaged, you're missing a whole aspect of this post and you’ll probably find yourself a little wobbly. Use your legs more to stabilize the entire pose.

Happy planking, and remember: practice makes progress.

Love & Light.

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