How to Do Dolphin Plank Pose in Yoga (Guide to Catur Svanasana Phalakasana)

Dolphin Plank is a variation of Plank Pose that mimics the same arm position as Dolphin Pose.

Although it may appear easier in some aspects (e.g., no pressure on the wrists), it still requires a great amount of strength, endurance, and coordination. In more advanced yoga sequences, it can be used to prepare the body for Dolphin Pose and Feathered Peacock Pose.

“Dolphin Plank is like a full-body workout in one pose,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “It’s a great pose to include in your yoga practice because it builds strength necessary for other, more advanced asanas.”

Dolphin Plank Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Catur Svanasana Phalakasana
Pose Type: Arm Balance Yoga Poses, Core Yoga Poses, Strengthening Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Core, shoulders, glutes, legs (esp. calves and hamstrings)
Benefits: Similar to Plank Pose, the Dolphin Plank strengthens your entire body. It engages your core, back, shoulders, chest, arms, glutes, and legs. Regular practice of this pose encourages the lengthening of the spine, resulting in better posture over time. In addition to physical strength, it requires endurance and mental focus to perform this pose properly. Dolphin Plank is a great variation for those who can’t do Plank Pose due to wrist injuries such as arthritis or carpal tunnel.
Preparatory Poses: Tabletop, Cat/Cow, Bird Dog

How to Do Dolphin Plank Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start in a tabletop position, with the knees positioned directly under the hips.
  2. Carefully lower the forearms to the yoga mat. The elbows need to be directly under the shoulders, and the forearms must be positioned parallel to one another. Open the palms by spreading the fingertips and gripping the mat.
  3. Engage the core and begin moving the knees backwards until the torso is parallel to the ground.
  4. Tuck the toes under and lift the knees. Engage the glutes and the entire back surface of the legs. Pull the heels back to lengthen though the calves. Reach forward through the crown of the head, keeping the neck in a neutral position with the gaze underneath the face.
  5. Hold Dolphin Plank Pose for up to 30 seconds, then lower the knees to the floor and pull the hips back to rest in Child’s Pose.

Beginner’s Tip

It can take a while to build up enough strength for this pose. As an alternative, you can keep the knees on the ground for an extra point of contact. If this pose causes your neck to tense up, you can rest your forehead on a block. If you notice that the spine starts to collapse (i.e., there is arching in the lower back or sagging at the hips), exit the pose and have a rest. It’s best to perform a shorter variation with proper form than to struggle and risk injury.

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