Dolphin Plank Pose

Sarah Noel
Written by
Sarah Noel

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.

Dolphin plank yoga pose
Dolphin plank yoga pose
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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:

Dolphin Plank Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Chulukyasansa or Ardha Adho Mukha Shvanasana

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

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  • 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