Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is similar to Plank Pose but the arms are bent to provide added support through the forearms. Similar to dolphin fins, you can keep your arms tucked close to the body which will make it a little easier on the core to balance itself and your limbs. 

If you find the regular Phalakasana too challenging, adding the forearms as a sort of bi-pod can create an easier posture that still exercises each muscle of the body.

Benefits of the Dolphin Plank Pose

Dolphin Plank Pose is a variation of Phalakasana that surprises the muscles of the upper body and encourages them to work in a new way. 

You will receive the same ab-tightening benefits as the core is activated through its attempt to keep the back straight and supported while the chest and shoulders are strengthened leading to improved overall posture. 

The pelvis is also worked in Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana as the lower back is subtly rounded to avoid dropping into the pose. This yoga posture increases energy flow throughout the body and is a great way to prepare yourself for a livelier yoga cycle.

Chakras involved in Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

The Anahata, or heart chakra, will feel as if bursting with energy in Dolphin Plank. 

The prana will run through your shoulders and chest, spreading self-love throughout the rest of the body. It is no wonder you take pride in your ability to hold yourself up in Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana as this pose activates the heart chakra where our self-esteem is held. 

You can hold your head high knowing you completed this challenging posture and carry the love you have rediscovered throughout the rest of your yoga practice.

How to practise Dolphin Plank Pose

1. To enter Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, you can begin in a table-top position with a neutral spine, the hands under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. The body resembles the stability of a table in this foundational pose.

2. From a table-top position, you can bring the forearms down one at a time so the outer arm connects with the mat and the inner arms face one another. You can choose to keep both arms parallel to each other or to create a triangle with the arms by clasping the hands together. Some people may find bringing the hands together helps with stability, but if you are ready for a challenge, you can try with them apart.

3. Extend the legs one by one by stretching them behind you and propping up your upper body by the tips of the toes. At this point, only the forearms and the toes should connect with the mat as your limbs and core are supported above the earth.

4. Bring your focus to your posture – often in a plank position the pelvis will begin to droop which the arms must work to overcompensate for. By squeezing the tailbone inwards and tightening your core, you can keep your pelvis strong in Dolphin Plank.

5. Your body will be nearly one straight line and you should try to keep your neck in line with your spine as much as possible so as not to strain the back muscles. You will likely feel the prana surging through your body. Instead of fighting this energy or associating it with struggle, choose to think of how you are awakening the spirit within.

6. To exit Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana gently drop the knees one by one onto your yoga mat back under the hips until the lower half of the body is supported. Push one hand into the mat to lift your forearm away from the earth and lengthen the arm, following with the other. You should find yourself back in a comfortable table-top position and can continue through your yoga practice.

Tips for Beginners

1. If you want to try Dolphin Plank but are concerned about a weak core, you can connect to the mat through the knees so the calf muscles and feet are pointed in the air.

The lower body will create a sort of ramp position which will alleviate some of the required energy from the abdomen.

2. Some people may shy away from the Dolphin variation of plank because pressing your forearms into a hard ground creates discomfort. You can try adding a folded blanket or thin pillow under the arms to create a soft barrier between you and the floor.

3. Play around with the position of your legs. See how you feel when you open the legs as wide as your yoga mat compared to how the body is worked when the legs are nearly pressing together. Is one easier on the body than the other? Find what works best for you and your body.

Optional Props to help you practice Dolphin Plank Pose

1. A folded blanket or thin pillow tucked beneath the forearms can take away any pain in the upper body in Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

2. Adding small changes to an asana can make the posture easier or more challenging to hold. Feel free to experiment with yoga blocks placed under the forearms or feet. Elevating the upper body may decrease the challenge of this position while elevating the lower body will force the upper body to compensate by increasing the strength needed to support itself.

3. You may be able to stack yoga blocks or books under the belly, chest, and pelvis to make Dolphin Plank a little gentler on the body. There is never any shame when it comes to listening to what your body needs, and it is always encouraged to find an easier variant than to dismiss a pose completely.

When to Avoid the practise of Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

Because Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana works the entire body, any recent surgery or traumatic injury should be taken into account before adding this posture to your yoga routine.

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