Step by step
- Come onto your hands and knees (all fours). Place your forearms on the floor, your elbows directly under your shoulders. You can either place the palms of your hands down with your forearms parallel with each other or interlace your fingers, tucking the bottom little finger in.
- As you exhale, curl your toes under. Engage your lower belly and lift your knees away from the floor
- Lift your sitting bones up and lengthen the tailbone as you straighten your legs and lower the heels towards the floor – they do not need to touch the floor.
- Engage your thigh muscles and keep the lower belly drawn in, press the forearms actively into the floor.
- Firm your shoulder blades down onto your back while maintaining space between them. Lengthen your spine. Hold your head between your arms, off the floor.
- Stay for 5 to 20 breaths.
- To come out of the pose, allow your knees to come back onto the floor as you exhale and rest in Child’s Pose.
- Before you lift your knees off the floor touch the elbows with the fingertips of the opposite hands. This helps ensure that your elbows are shoulder-width apart.
- If your legs are straight but your back is rounding, it’s better to keep the knees bent to find length in your spine.
- You can build strength for this pose by practising Forearm Plank and Downward Facing Dog.
Benefits of Dolphin pose
- Great alternative to Downward Dog pose if you have sensitive wrists.
- Strengthens the shoulders, arms, upper body and legs.
- Activates the arches of your feet.
- Dolphin pose gives you the strength and actions needed for Headstand and Forearm balance. You should be able to hold the pose for 20 breaths before working on those poses.
Watch out for
- Avoid Dolphin pose if you have shoulder injuries.
- Take care to keep the shoulder blades firmly against the back to support you.
- Keep the neck relaxed and in line with the spine.
- For a dynamic movement, come to your toes on an inhale, and back down to your heels on an exhale
- You can transition from Dolphin to Forearm Plank as you inhale, and back to Dolphin as you exhale.
- Try walking your feet closer to your hands, lifting one leg at a time as preparation for Forearm Balance and Headstands.
- Add an extra challenge with Dolphin press-ups – with your fingers interlaced bring your chin closer to your hands and then push through the forearms to lift yourself back up.
- Turn Dolphin pose into ‘Turbodog’ pose by lifting the elbows slightly off the mat – forearms parallel.