Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing yoga for life.

Dolphin Plank: Step-by-Step Instructions

Nothing is better to prepare you for a Headstand than Dolphin Plank Pose (Chulukyasansa), which builds up the muscles in your arms, core and thighs. This posture is also perfect for women to do during light days of their menstrual cycle since they should not do full inversions during menstruation.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits

Chulukyasansa or Ardha Adho Mukha Shvanasana

(Pronounced as "choo-loo-KEE-AHS-anna" or "ardhaa-ad-HO-MOOK-ha-SHVAN-AHS-anna")

The word "dolphin pose" in Sanskrit is Chulukyasansa. Since the pose also resembles half of a Downward-Facing Dog Pose, some teachers also refer to it as Ardha Adho Mukha Shvanasana.

How to do Dolphin Plank Pose

Step One:

Kneel down on your yoga mat. Clasp your hands together tightly so that you interlock all your fingers completely. Bend forward and put the outside edges of your hands on the yoga mat in front of you.

Step Two:

Put half of your body weight onto your forearms and interlocked hands. Then straighten your legs behind you so that your shoulders remain right above your elbows and you hold up your torso parallel with the floor. All your weight should rest on the balls of your feet and your forearms. Breathe as you hold this plank variation for a few seconds.

Step Three:

Now inhale while lifting your buttocks up toward the ceiling as you walk your feet in, taking about two steps forward. Press back hard with your shoulders and do not let them drop down toward the floor. Your armpits should stay stretched open. Tuck your shoulder blades into your back and keep your chest open.

Press your heels down to try and make them touch the ground, lengthening your hamstrings. The whole spine should lengthen up toward the ceiling. Your elbows, shoulders and spine should push back and up together, all in one straight line. Your body will form a 45 degree angle between your legs and your torso.

You can look down at the floor, keeping your neck extended.

Step Four:

Hold this posture for 30 seconds or longer when you build up your stamina. Do not hold your breath. To come out of it, exhale as you kneel back down onto the floor. You can rest in Child's Pose to catch your breath.

Beginner's Tip:

If you have trouble bearing your weight on your forearms, then brace a chair against a wall. Press your interlocked hands and forearms onto the seat of the chair and straighten your legs back into plank position. Then lift your hips up and walk in to perform the rest of Dolphin Pose as usual.

Dolphin Plank Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Chulukyasansa or Ardha Adho Mukha Shvanasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  • If you have had a recent shoulder injury, then do not do this pose without the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher.
  • For neck injuries, you can rest your forehead on a block or bolster.


  • Relaxes the nervous system to release stress and improve your mood
  • Opens your shoulders
  • Stretches out tension in your hamstrings and calves
  • Builds core strength

Next Pose:

Downward Dog Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
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Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
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Fire Log Pose
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Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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