Dolphin Plank Pose - Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

Dolphin Plank Pose - Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana - YanvaYoga


Dolphin Plank Pose, Forearm Plank Pose or Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (MAH-kar-ah ah-doh moo-kuh SVAH-NAH-sah-nah) is a yogic way of strengthening the body head-to-toe. This arm balancing pose gives a break to your wrists from the daily chores.

It is an intermediate-level variation of the basic Dolphin Pose as it balances the entire body weight on the forearms and toes. Hence, the Dolphin plank pose targets muscles of the core, shoulders, arms, and upper back.

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is quite similar to the plank pose with the only difference of balancing the weight on the forearms rather than the hands. Therefore, only the toes and the forearms lie on the floor while the entire body is lifted and aligned straight.

Besides strengthening and toning the body, practicing Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana opens the path of enlightenment focusing on activating energy chakras.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Lie down on the ground, facing downwards.
Step 2
Place your elbows firmly on the ground, parallel to your shoulders, and keep your palms grounded.
Step 3
Lift your hips, chest, and toes towards the ceiling, creating a gentle arch in your body.
Step 4
Engage your core by pulling your navel towards your spine and tightening your hips.
Step 5
Ensure that your body is a few inches off the ground, maintaining a parallel line from your feet to shoulders.
Step 6
Keep your gaze directed towards the ground, maintaining a neutral position with your head.
Step 7
Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds before returning to your initial position.

Benefits and Contraindications


Strengthens the abdominals, arms, shoulders, and chest

Relieves stress and mild depression

Improves posture

Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and arches of the feet


Shoulder, neck, or spinal injuries

High blood pressure

Eye or ear infections

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props and Tips

  • You can place a rolled-up towel or blanket underneath your elbows for support.
  • You can also try this pose with your knees on the floor until you build up more strength in your arms and shoulders.
  • Keep your head in line with your spine; don’t let it droop down or tilt upwards.
  • Make sure that all of your muscles are engaged when holding the pose, especially those in the core region. This will help prevent any injuries and ensure that you’re getting the most out of the posture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.