Image source: Canva
|Sanskrit pronunciation||Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana
(MAH-kar-ah ah-doh moo-cow SVAH-NAH-sah-nah)
|importance||Makara = crocodile / Adho = below / Mukha = opposite, Svana = dog / Asana = posture ”|
|anatomy||Arms, shoulders, lower back, core (stomach) and legs|
|other names||Dolphin plank posture|
Information on Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana aka Dolphin Plank Pose is a yogic way of strengthening the body from head to toe. This arm balancing pose gives your wrists a break from daily chores.
It is a moderate variation in the basic posture of dolphins, as the entire body weight is balanced on forearms and toes. Hence, the Dolphin Plank Pose targets the muscles of the core, shoulders, arms, and upper back.
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is quite similar to the plank pose, with the only difference that the weight is balanced on the forearms rather than the hands. Therefore, only the toes and forearms rest on the floor while the entire body is lifted and straightened.
In addition to strengthening and toning the body, practicing Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana opens the way to enlightenment, with the emphasis on activating energy chakras.
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana exercise instruction
Prepare for this balancing pose, understand the pros and cons, and follow the exercise instructions provided.
- Avoid this posture if you have an injury to the spine, back, and neck muscles.
- People with high blood pressure need to skip Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana.
- Do not try this pose if you have an infection in your eye or ear.
- It's best to avoid people with osteoporosis.
- In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is recommended to practice Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana with knee support.
How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana
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- Lie on your prone position with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Now lower your elbows to the floor and stack them under your shoulders to place your forearms parallel to each other.
- Curl your toes and bring your heels together by lifting your thighs, hips, chest, and core off the floor.
- Contract your stomach and pull your pelvic floor muscles towards your spine.
- In the end position, the head is aligned so that the view is directed to the floor.
- Hold this position for 5-10 breaths, then lower your hips and knees to the floor.
Follow up poses
- As you hold the pose, keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your shoulders.
- For proper neck muscle alignment, keep your eyes slightly forward on the floor.
- Be careful not to fall to the floor through your upper back and hips.
- Do not let your chin drop towards your chest.
Tips for beginners
- Beginners can put their hands in front of their head and form an inverted V with forearms for simplicity.
- Place folded blankets under the elbows for a smooth surface under the elbows.
Props and modifications
- Yoga block– Rest your head over a yoga block as you balance your body in the final pose. This brings extra support to your raised body.
- Trying to try the plank pose as a substitute would be an easier change if someone is having trouble practicing the dolphin plank pose.
1. Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana lifts one leg
In this variation, exhale deeply after balancing your body on your forearms and toes to raise one leg. As you lift your leg, push your heel toward the sky. As you exhale, lower the leg back to the floor and repeat on the alternate leg.
2. Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana hand variation
Here the posture remains a few centimeters above the floor on the forearms. After that, join your palms together in a prayer position or fold your fingers together to improve the stretch on your shoulders.
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits
1. Tones the arms
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana stretches the shoulders and the entire arm muscles. Balancing the body on the forearms puts pressure on the shoulders and elbows. It strengthens the forearms, upper arms, relaxes the wrists and strengthens the arm muscles.
2. Strengthen your legs
The lower body also remains lifted off the floor except for the toes. In the last pose, the arches are activated, the calves and thigh muscles are also stretched. It increases the flexibility and strength of the leg muscles.
3. Activates the core
It seems like all of the work is being done by the forearms and toes while she balances in this position. However, the core muscles also remain constantly busy. It contracts the abdominal muscles and strengthens the abdominal organs.
This also serves as a workout to burn the fat around the abdomen. Hence, performing Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is an excellent stretching pose for maintaining a toned body and flat stomach.
4. Improves posture
This pose is performed by keeping the back straight and aligning the body from head to toe. This increases the strength of the back muscles and also corrects poor posture.
5. Good for digestion
As the abdominal muscles experience pressure, the pose holds. It improves blood flow to that region. It facilitates better functioning of the digestive organs and induces the secretion of enzymes and digestive juices. Thus, it helps in improving digestion.
6. Calms the mind
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is a rejuvenating posture that improves blood circulation, stamina and endurance. It lets you go beyond your limits and helps you overcome the mental blocks and hurdles that increase mental awareness.
Also supplies the nervous system with oxygen-rich blood and thus heals depression, anxiety or psychological stress or problems.
7. Develop spirituality
Because this pose stretches the upper body, especially the back and neck muscles, it affects the entire spine, starting with the crown of the head. This stimulates the crown chakra (Sahasrara). It is also performed with a focus on a specific point on the floor. This helps in awakening the third eye (Ajna) chakra.
The stimulation and opening of these two energy chakras lead the practitioner to enlightenment. It connects you with the highest power and enables you to use your intuitive skills.
It is time to try this pose to feel the joy flowing through your body by activating all muscles and increasing energy levels.
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is a pose that everyone must do in order to lead their yoga practice to the ultimate goal of spirituality and to connect with the highest soul.