PLANK POSE VARIATION
BENEFITS Strengthens your arms, legs, wrists, shoulders, and back; engages your core; promotes healthy bones; builds self-confidence
INSTRUCTION Come to your hands and knees. Spread your fingers wide and walk your knees slightly behind your hips. Root your fingertips firmly into the earth. On an exhalation, stretch your legs straight back behind you so that you resemble a plank. Lift your thighs, waistline, and head. Draw your tailbone toward your heels. Avoid dipping your lower back toward the floor or rounding it up toward the ceiling. (You will know your back is in the right place when you feel your core engage.) Your neck should be in line with your entire torso. Maintain this line as you imagine that your arms are straws drinking energy from the earth—with energy moving up your fingers to your wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Squeeze your feet toward each other as if there were a block between your heels. Make sure your arms are perpendicular to the floor and your shoulders are over your wrists. Press evenly into your hands, and imagine that your thighs are moving slightly up toward the ceiling. Look down at the floor. Inhale, and shift to your tiptoes. Imagine that the top of your yoga mat is a cliff and you are peering over the edge of it. Isometrically drag your thumbs toward each other and your hands toward your feet to further engage your core. Hold for 3–5 breaths.