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Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose Or Forearm Plank Pose)

makara adho mukha svanasana
English Name(s)
Forearm Plank Pose Or Dolphin Plank Pose
Sanskrit
मकर अधो मुख स्वानासन / Makāra Adho Mukha Śvānāsana
Pronunciation
mah-kah-rah- ah-doh moo-kah svan-nah-ah-sah-nah
Meaning
Makara: Crocodile
Adho: Downward/ Facing Down
Mukha: Face
Svana: Dog
Asana: Pose

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana at a Glance

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, also known as the Forearm & Dolphin plank pose. This is a beginner-level forearm balancing posture, which provides benefits to the entire body, balancing on your forearms. This is a simpler variation for the Plank pose.

Benefits:

  • This helps to strengthen your arm muscles, legs, and core muscles.
  • This helps to stretch and enhance your spine and improve your posture.
  • This pose helps to improve your focus and concentration.
  • This pose also improves your confidence and understanding of your inner self.

Who can do it?

Yoga practitioners can do this pose. Individuals who are healthy and have some amount of upper body strength can do this pose. People who want to enhance their core strength can do this pose. Dancers can do this pose.

Who should not do it?

Individuals with any neck injury, or injury to their knees, arms, ankles, or shoulders should avoid it. People with any back injury should avoid or consult their doctor. People with Any recent surgery should avoid practicing – dolphin plank pose. Pregnant women should avoid it.

How to Do Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

Prepare your body, to avoid any injury, pain, or sprain. You can get this pose started from a tabletop position, a downward dog pose, or a plank pose.

  1. Start this yoga practice from the tabletop pose which could be an easier way to get in for the beginners.
  2. Come down on a yoga mat or any soft surface and bring yourself in a tabletop pose.
  3. Place your hands, at shoulder width distance and your legs at hip width distance.
  4. Take some deep breaths, relax, and stretch your back and neck.
  5. Now first, inhale and slowly bring your forearms on the mat, palms pressed to the ground and your elbow should be in line with your shoulders.
  6. Your knees are still on the ground, and this is one of the variations for beginners before they can get into the full dolphin plank pose.
  7. Inhale and lift your knees and thighs by exhaling and engaging your core.
  8. Flex your toes and you can bring heels together or keep it at hip-width distance.
  9. Tuck your navel toward the spine and engage your pelvic floor muscles.
  10. Slowly pull your abdominal muscles in and relax them as you exhale.
  11. In this final position, keep breathing and your body is from head to heel in a straight line.
  12. Gaze between your hands or gaze slightly forward.
  13. Hold this pose for a few breaths.

When you exit, exhale slowly come back to the tabletop, and then relax in the Bal asana pose.

What are the Benefits of Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana?

  • It helps to stretch and strengthen your forearms & upper arms, leg muscles, and shoulders.
  • It strengthens your back and chest region.
  • It strengthens your abdominal muscles.
  • It helps to stretch your hamstring muscles and calves.
  • It helps to improve your balance and confidence.
  • It also improves your focus and concentration with patience.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • This pose stretches your back muscles which helps to improve your body posture.
  • It pressures your abdominal muscles, which helps with better digestion and reduces constipation and bloating.
  • This pose helps to reduce the fat in the abdomen, hips, and arms and tones it.
  • This pose helps to reduce your stress and anxiety and helps you to be calm.
  • It improves your blood circulation and helps boost your energy level.

Safety and Precautions

  • People with high blood pressure, spinal injuries, neck injuries any recent surgery, or eye or ear pain should avoid it.
  • Do the preparatory poses and warm-ups.
  • Do it on an empty stomach.
  • If you experience any discomfort or pain, consult your yoga teacher.

Common Mistakes

  • Avoiding the proper Alignment procedure.
  • Collapsing your upper back.
  • Avoid holding your breath.
  • Keep your core engaged.

Tips for Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Keep your forearms parallel.
  • Respect your body and progress slowly.
  • You can place a folded blanket under your arms for more comfort.
  • Gaze on the floor and keep your back and knees straight.
  • Don’t let your hips fall and avoid shrugging your shoulder.
  • Do the relaxing pose.

Physical Alignment Principles for Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Your toes should press down on the ground and heels should press behind.
  • Rotate your thighs slightly inward and keep engaged.
  • Your feet should be hip-width distance and in line with the knees.
  • Legs should stretch back and keep straight and engaged throughout the pose.
  • Your core should be engaged, tuck your navel toward your spine.
  • Keep your back flat, your spine should be elongated and stretched.
  • Keep your chest open, and shoulder blades rolled back and away from your ears.
  • The crown of your head should be pulled forward and your shoulders aligned with your wrists.
  • Your neck should be in line with the spine and relaxed.
  • Keeping your legs straight, position your heels directly above the toes.
  • Your shoulder joint and elbows should be in one line.
  • Your forearms are placed on the ground and should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep the fingers spread wide and pressing against the ground.

Makara Adho Mukha Savasana and Breath

Breathe deeply before coming to the pose and relax your body. Inhale when lifting your hips and exhale when you form a slide from the head to heel and get out your stress and tension. Now hold the pose and keep breathing naturally keeping yourself relaxed and calm and let your breath flow in and out gently.

Now to come out of the pose inhale and bring your hips or knees first to the ground extend your arms and exhale to relax your muscles and calm your mind letting out the stress and tension with the exhale of the breath.

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana and Variations

  • You can keep yoga blocks underneath your forehead for support.
  • In the final pose, you can bring your palms in the prayer position.
  • Do the Half Dolphin pose- Dolphin poses on the knees.
  • You can also lift one leg after the final posture, for more stretch.
  • Plank pose or Phalak asana posture.

The Bottom Line

The Dolphin Plank pose is a base pose for inversions (headstand and forearm stand). It helps to build strength and resistance in the body. This also gives relief to your back pain improves digestion issues reduces stress and helps your body and mind to calm down.

Beginners can do the Dolphin plank pose under the guidance of a yoga teacher. If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor. Breath is the guide for this pose and maintain it throughout the pose. You become more focused and the Dolphin plank pose is good for maintaining balance and stability.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was 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. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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