Here is a question from a student / friend: I have a question about hands & feet position in hands & knees, down dog and plank. Are the hands and feet supposed to be in the same place for all three? Or are hands closer to feet in downward dog than in plank?
Here is my answer: It depends. Many of you know this is my answer for almost everything. Because it does depend. It depends on the length of your torso, your arms and your legs. For “most” people, the hands and feet should be in the same position for all three. Here is how to tell…
In plank, the body should be long with energy being sent out of the heels of the feet. First, start on hands and knees. Your wrists should be under shoulders, knees under hips. Slightly dog tilt the tailbone (turn it up to the sky), then lift your knees off the floor for down dog. Move into plank without moving the feet. In plank, if your shoulders have moved past your wrists, you will need to adjust your feet by moving them back so the joints of the wrists, elbows and shoulders stack up vertically, or send more energy out the heels so you feel your weight shift back.
In down dog, the hand and foot position is a bit more complicated. Start from hands and knees as you did before. Dog tilt the tailbone and lift knees off the floor. You should essentially be in an upside down V. For “most” bodies, moving from hands and knees will give you the correct position. However, if your wrists hurt, walk your feet further back to take more weight in the legs. After much discussion between Brian and I, we realized that the position of the pelvis is more important in this pose. The tail bone should be in dog tilt and low back long. Any foot position you need for this is acceptable as long as you aren’t putting too much pressure on your wrists. Practice this pose in front of a mirror or ask your teacher to help you. A knowledgeable teacher is the best way to improve your down dog and keep you injury free.