To do Upward Plank Pose: Come to a seat. Bring your palms behind you, fingertips facing towards the body, pinkies on the outside and thumbs closer to the body. Bend the knees and place the feet about a foot or so away from the buttocks. Stay here and take a preparatory breath, deep inhalation and exhalation. On the next inhalation, press the hips up towards the ceiling. Root down through the feet to lift the hips higher. Bring the hips and torso in line with each other.
Begin to straighten and extend one leg and then the other. Point the toes and reach the bottoms of the feet towards the ground. If the hips start to sink lower, press down through the feet to lift the hips higher. The legs are actively working to keep the hips lifted. Draw the shoulders blades down the back in order to lift more through the chest and expand the space in between the
collarbones. If comfortable on the neck, drop the head back in order to receive a stretch in the front of the neck. Stay here for 3-5 rounds of breath, long and smooth inhales and exhales.
To come out: Relax the hips down to the ground. Stay seated and take a few breaths. Allow the heart-rate to calm. Notice how you feel.
When we build focused energy, or tapas, in our yoga postures, we focus on our breath and on our alignment to become completely present and “absorbed” in the posture. We can transfer that concept of focus and mindfulness into our day-to-day lives, becoming more present with the here and now, and letting go of events in the past and concerns for the future.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga