Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)

English Name(s)
Dolphin Plank Pose
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana
Sanskrit
Makāra Adho Mukha Śvānāsana / मकरअधोमुख श्वानासन
Pronunciation
MAH-kar-ah ah-doh moo-kuh SVAH-NAH-sah-nah
Meaning
makara: “crocodile”
adhas: “down”
mukha: “facing”
svana: “dog”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Dolphin Plank Pose strengthens and tones the entire body, from the toes to the abdominals and right up into the head. It is an intermediate pose that requires body awareness in terms of alignment in the pose. It requires strong arms, core, and legs to achieve the full expression of the pose.

This pose is excellent preparation for Dolphin Pose, as well as headstand and other inversions because you are building a strong foundation in the arms and shoulders.

The pose is also great for warming up the muscles to attempt a high plank or side plank pose.

Planking is a great way to strengthen the core muscles and improve your posture and Dolphin Plank is no different in that sense. The results of this study[1] show that plank exercises are related both to where you’re placing your hands (whether they’re next-to or far away from yourself) as well what kind of position it creates for each muscle group involved in order to make sure all areas get worked equally hard with benefits like stronger abs, low back pain relief, etc., even if they don’t have any specific medical issues going around!

Muscle Focus

Dolphin Plank Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Core Muscle Group (Transverse Abdominis, Rectus Abdominis, internal and external obliques, and multifidus)
  • Arm muscles (Deltoids, Biceps & triceps)
  • Back Muscles (Rhomboids)
  • Leg Muscles (Glutes, Tibialis Anterior)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • People who are looking to lose body fat.
  • For those who want to tone up and strengthen their muscles.
  • Core activation.
  • Prevention of Back Ache.

Benefits of Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank Pose

1. Helps to Improve Bones Strength

Practicing this Pose helps to improve bones strength and prevents osteoporosis. This is because Dolphin Plank Pose is a weight-bearing exercise.

2.  Strengthens the Arms, Shoulders, and Legs

Dolphin Plank Pose strengthens the biceps, shoulders, as well as tones abdominal muscles.

3. Tones Abdominal Muscles

Stretches and tones the muscles of legs and feet. Additionally, it strengthens the key abdominal muscles: such as the transverse abdominus (TVA), rectus abdominus (RA), quadratus lumborum (QL), and the obliques.

4.  Lengthens your Spine

This pose lengthens your spine creating strength and flexibility in the same. This also enables a low risk of getting spinal injuries when you exercise at home.

5. Prevents Osteoporosis

The key to preventing osteoporosis with this posture is to do it in conjunction with proper muscle engagement.

Dolphin Plank Pose is a weight-bearing exercise, so if done correctly with proper muscle engagement it can help prevent osteoporosis.

6. Improves Bone Strength

In addition to preventing osteoporosis, Dolphin Plank Pose also helps improve bone strength because it’s a weight-bearing exercise. This means that you are putting pressure on your bones as you hold the pose, which over time will make them stronger.

7.  Provides a Strong Foundation for Inversions

If you’re looking to work up to inversions such as headstand and forearm stand, practicing Dolphin Plank Pose is essential. It helps build a strong foundation in the arms and shoulders so that you can safely practice these more advanced poses.

8. Warms up Muscles

Before attempting a high plank or side plank pose, practicing Dolphin Plank Pose is a great way to warm up your muscles. This will help you achieve the full expression of these poses with less risk of injury.

Contraindications

People suffering from recent or recurring issues or injuries in the wrists, shoulders, or back should refrain or practice caution when practicing the pose.

Variations

  • Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Preparatory Pose

  • Downward-facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Beginner’s Tips

  • You can place a rolled-up towel or blanket underneath your elbows for support.
  • You can also try this pose with your knees on the floor until you build up more strength in your arms and shoulders.
  • Keep your head in line with your spine; don’t let it droop down or tilt upwards.
  • Make sure that all of your muscles are engaged when holding the pose, especially those in the core region. This will help prevent any injuries and ensure that you’re getting the most out of the posture.

How to do Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank Pose

  • Start with Phalakasana or Plank pose.
  • Place your forearms on the floor, keeping them shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other.
  • Position your elbows directly below the shoulders and keep your upper arms parallel to each other. Your palms should be placed on the floor, with fingers spread outwards. You can also place a folded blanket under the elbows for added comfort if needed.
  • Keep your spine straight from head to heels; make sure you are not arching your back too much as this will cause strain in the lower back region of your body. Engage all core muscles firmly and draw belly towards the spine while exhaling.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of the pose, slowly release your hands and knees to the floor and then rest in Child’s Pose (Balasana) for a few breaths.

Mental Benefits of Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank Pose

  • Helps in anxiety, stress, frustration, and anger
  • Brings calmness, peace of mind
  • Focus

Bottom Line

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana or Dolphin Plank Pose is an excellent pose for strengthening and toning the entire body. It requires focusing on alignment and proper muscle engagement in order to achieve the fullest expression of the pose. The benefits of practicing this posture include improved bone strength, strengthened arms, shoulders, and legs, tones abdominal muscles, lengthens the spine, preventing osteoporosis, and warms up muscles.

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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