Forearm plank is ostensibly an upper body pose. The work is ideally in the core and we are solidly grounded through the forearms. But what are the feet doing? Something I repeat often in my yoga classes is the line, “We want to get to our core through our inner extremities” Our inner hand and foot—mound of the big toes and knuckle of the index finger – help to plug our extremities into their sockets and give us better access to the muscles we are trying to work.
If you stand up and press on the inside of the foot you will feel the inner upper thigh tone. This is actually a deep connection to the psoas major muscle. If you push down on the outside of the foot the outer thigh will engage and if you press down in the inner foot you should feel an engagement high up in the deep inner thigh. This connection and toning of the inner thigh through the grounding of the inner foot provides a great deal of support for the psoas major where it attached to the lesser trochanter, a bony projection on the back half of the femur, or thigh, bone.
There are similar connections going on with the inner hand and the arm that I will talk about in a later post sticking with the feet for now. As I walk around a yoga room teaching forearm plank, which I try to offer in every class, I often see people putting all of the weight of the feet, and therefore the legs, onto the pinky toes side of the foot. We would like to be on the inner foot with the heels parallel to each other.
Forearm plank like all core positions is meant to draw energy in to the center of the body. There is a time for reaching out and a time for pulling in. Placing weight on the outside of the feet goes further than reaching out, it actually allows the energy of the body to spill out and dissipate (I see the same thing in walking). Grounding your weight through the inside of the foot in forearm plank as well as other poses in an efficient means of harnessing energy to the core you are seeking to develop.