Dolphin pose is, in my opinion, one of the most highly effective and underused strength and stability-building postures in the yoga practice. Essentially, Dolphin posture is done as such:
- Come to your hands and knees.
- Place your forearms on the mat, shoulder distance apart.
- Leave your elbows shoulder distance apart, then bring your hands together, interlacing your fingers.
- Lift your legs into a Downward Dog position.
- Come to your tip toes, and draw your torso and hips forward, so that your chin comes into contact with your knuckles.
- Push yourself back to your forearm Downward Dog.
- Repeat 10 to 20 times.
It may seem simple, but here are my five reasons why you should consider adding this little exercise to your routine.
1. Strengthens the Shoulder Girdle
The shoulder girdle is one of the most precarious boney structures in the body. Your shoulder blades, all the bones making up your shoulder joint, and all the bones in your arms and hands are connected to the rest of your skeleton only at the junction of your collar bone and sternum. Pretty crazy!
This means that the stronger the muscles in your upper back and chest (that protect the bone structure beneath), the more stable your upper body is going to become. This in turn makes you more durable in life and in yoga, and less likely to get injured.
2. Improves Forearm Stand
If you are just learning Forearm Stand or working to improve your strength in the posture, Dolphins are amazing for you. They develop the stability you need in your chest and shoulders, and will help you avoid sagging into shoulders in your forearm stand.
This practice will increase your stability and will help you balance in your posture for longer.
3. Improves Headstand
Just like with Forearm Stand, this pose is also a big help if you are just learning Headstand. Dolphins will help you develop strength in, and awareness of, the muscles in your shoulders and your back—the same muscles which need to be very actively engaged in a Headstand.
This pose will also help strengthen your awareness of your core muscles, helping you to balance in Headstand.
4. Abdominal Exercise without Crunches or Planks
We all know that Planks and other ‘Crunch’-like movements can help you develop core strength, but did you know that Dolphins will do this for you as well?
When you are moving yourself forward and back in this posture you are going to be engaging all the muscles in your core, both superficial and deep. This will increase your strength, posture, and may even help you develop your six pack.
5. Builds Confidence
This posture is actually a half inversion, so the strength and confidence it takes to take your face forward towards your hands is going to help you build the confidence to hold yourself upside down in other inversions. This is a great in-between pose that will help you learn to trust your center of balance.
Do you practice Dolphin Pose? How has it helped you in your practice?