We’re living in an over stressed world. There is tension in relationship, pressure at work, financial stress and you name it and there is strain everywhere. Everybody is living on the edge and there is no time to relax. People are turning to yoga to de-stress and lead a tension free life. Yoga has taken the world by storm and we find yoga studios sprung up at every nook and corner of the world. People have taken to yoga in a big way and the asanas (poses) are widely appreciated by one and all. The yoga gurus are taking it seriously teaching yoga to students who can benefit from it. The deep breathing exercises like Pranayama, Suryanamaskar and several other poses help people to de-stress the mind and relax.
Yoga helps to balance the body, mind and spirit. It is a healer besides being a great exercise for the body. The beauty is yoga can be performed at any age. The famous yoga guru BKS. Iyengar performed yoga till the age of 95. That is the power of yoga. According to shastras (ancient Hindu texts) there are more than 8,400,000 poses in yoga and Plank pose is one of the basic yoga poses. The Sanskrit name of Plank pose is Chaturanga Dandasana. Each pose in yoga has physical benefits and plank pose is no different.
Benefits of plank pose
Plank poses have many benefits. It’s known as a beginner’s best friend. If you’re new to yoga then try these stretches to make you more flexible. Plank poses improves posture, core strength, develop balance, strengthens lower back and helps in being agile. Plank pose is part of Suryanamaskar i.e. salutations to the Sun. This is performed either in the morning when the Sun rises or in the evening during setting time. This pose is a transition between sitting and standing postures.
Strengthens arms – Since you rest on your arms while performing plank poses they help to strengthen the arms. If you’re into muscle building then this pose is ideal for you. These exercises will help to obtain sleeve bursting arms. It is equal to pumping iron or doing push ups.
Good isometric exercise – The contraction of muscles helps to heal and strengthen the muscles. In case you’ve had an injury and had refrained from work out then it is best to start planks to loosen and flex your muscles. Planks also help the energy to move from lower body to upper body so that there is balance in energy levels for optimum physical fitness.
Makes you flexible – Since the entire body is stretched and worked out it makes you supple and flexible. For an athlete or sportsperson plank helps in gaining speed and also to stay fit. In case you work from home and is all day cooped up in front of your computer, planks help you to stretch and be flexible. It helps in proper blood flow throughout the body.
Ideal for weight loss – If you’re looking to shed some weight especially around the middle, planks can do it for you. Plank poses put pressure on the abdomen and waist area there by helping you to lose weight. They burn the fat not only in the stomach region but also around thighs and legs as you stretch your legs to the maximum while doing planks. Your buttocks also get into shape.
Perfect for girls / women – Girls dread those 3 days of the month when they menstruate as it causes severe abdominal pain. Cramps are something that doesn’t go away with any medication. That is when planks come to your rescue. Performing plank poses helps the abdominal muscles to contract and expand combined with deep breathing aid in proper blood flow. This automatically reduces the stomach cramps. This is also an ideal workout to shed post pregnancy fat.
Improves respiratory function – While performing planks, breathe in and hold your breath for a minute before you release it. This inhalation and exhalation process helps the lungs to expand there by helping asthmatic patients to breathe effortlessly. Also deep breathing wards off several ailments connected with shallow breathing, which is what all of us normally do.
Stimulates thyroid gland – Poorvottanasana i.e. the upward planks pose stretches the neck backward. The throat gets stretched stimulating the thyroid glands. In case you’re hypo thyroid then upward plank pose is the best remedy for you.
Best exercise for seniors – For seniors who’re unable to run in the open or work out at a gym, a brisk walk in the neighborhood combined with plank poses is ideal fitness regimen. The stretching of the whole body keeps them agile and flexible. Plank poses are also ideal for arthritic people. In case you’ve severe arthritis then you should consult a physio-therapist before performing any kind of exercise. Since plank lays emphasis on wrists it is better to avoid if you’re suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Before you start any fitness regimen please consult your GP. Also learn planks under the guidance of an expert. Once you’re confident that you can manage on your own then start working out by yourself. Otherwise, it can have adverse effects on your health.
While performing planks see to it that your body is in perfect straight line. The benefits of plank poses are many. Besides being similar to push ups it also helps in mental well-being as the deep breathing and stretches help to remove toxins from the body. Planks keep the body and mind refreshed.