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SURYANAMASKARA

The Sun Salutation - Step 8 - Plank

Complete Yoga Breath
with Sound!

Links to Sun Series

Click to enlarge images below for complete instructions.

  
Steps 1, 2


Step 3


Step 4


Step 5


Step 6


Step 7


Step 8


Step 9


Step 10

  
Steps 11, 12
Eugenia in The PlankSTEP 8
(Exhalation and Retention)

This is The Plank, Step 5 repeated. But as I pointed out previously, you can also do The Downward Dog (see below for variation). Personally, I prefer it. It feels great from Step 7 to stretch up high.

  • Exhale as you come into this position and then wait to inhale for a moment  (after you have learned how to do this position, of course). While exhaling, lift your hips and push back and up. Stretch your elbows and arms and support your arms with the palms of your hands pushed down against the floor.
  • When you feel ready, you can attempt to bring the soles of your feet down to the floor (which is more difficult). Your arms are stretched with your elbows straight. Hold your neck straight (as shown in the image above), as you look down at the floor.
  • While you are in this position, you are not inhaling, yet. But remember, this is only for a very short time. You are not actually holding this position, but moving into it and then out of it. As you move out of this position down to the floor for Step 9 (a repeat of Step 5 on the other side), you will be inhaling.
  • There is another way to think of this position. If you would rather keep your back straight and simply lift yourself with straight arms and legs, standing on your toes, you would be doing a push-up. If this appeals to you more, just keep your neck and head aligned with your straight back and look at the floor.
  • And then there is the inverted V position, the Downward Dog, the Pyramid, All Fours. There are so many names for this posture! I call it The Downward Dog (see below).

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Variation - Downward Dog

My Favorite

Downward Dog for Sun Salutation.

The popular name for this is Downward Dog, but it is also known as The Pyramid, All Fours, and in Sanskrit Adhomukha Svanasana.

  • While exhaling, lift your hips and push back and up. Stretch your elbows and arms and support your arms with the palms of your hands pushed down against the floor.
  • Try to align your ears with your arms. Stretch your entire body while you straighten your legs and arms and look at your feet. Remember what you see. As you progress, it will be a nice surprise to see how much easier it will be to do this the second time in this Series.
  • Again, you can either stand on your toes, or place the soles of your feet on the floor (often more difficult). This will stretch the muscles in your legs even more.
  • While you are in this position, you are not inhaling. But remember, this is only for a very short time. You are not actually holding this position, but moving into it and then out of it. As you move out of this position into Step 9 (a repeat of Step 5 on the other side), you will be inhaling. And, as always, I caution anyone with heart or respiratory problems not to hold their breath or to practice retention of exhalation while doing this Series.

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