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Why Are People Still Planking and When Will Planking Die

Planking on upside down bus

It was over a month ago that I wrote a few posts on planking, including a story about planking. I even went so far as to create a category for planking. For those of you not familiar with what planking is, do a search on my site key word ‘planking’ and you will have a few planking articles.

I wrote about planking because it was a very hot topic after some guy died in Australia and I figured that I could get lots of traffic to my site. It worked. On the first day I got 1,250 views to my planking article and got an interview request.

My thoughts were that the whole planking craze would last no more than a couple of weeks and indeed it has been dying down. However the ‘Planking Australia,’ Facebook page has grown from the first time I looked at it when it had 20,000 people to now having over 500,000 likes! Planking is still making headlines in some places across Europe and the rest of the world. This past week it was on the news here in the US.

Planking started in Australia, and as it dies there, it has slowly come alive in the rest of the world. I find this interesting, because when I lived in Australia for 6 years I noticed that everything started in the US and Europe and then slowly made its way to Australia. Australia seemed to be behind in everything.

But now thinking about it, Australia is a country based on commodities. It exports raw materials: metals, wool, minerals, and so on. And thus it made sense for them to export planking. Planking is like a raw material that can be shaped into something, and therefore it made sense for Australia to export this.

Perhaps we can learn something from all this nonsense?

The Bal Shem Tov said that a person can learn something from anything he sees. Once while walking with his students they saw some Gentiles carving a crucifix from the ice. The students asked what could possibly be learned from this and the Bal Shem Tov was able to extrapolate a lesson from it.

I was thinking what could be learned from seeing someone laying face down in a planking position?  What can be learned from seeing a Facebook page grow to 400,000 followers about something as crazy as planking?

If you were to see someone lying face down on the ground what would your reaction be? Most of us would probably stop and check if the guy was alright and if he needed some help. In essence this is what is going on with planking. Millions of people around the world are laying on the ground saying ‘I need help.’ ‘I need something in my life.’ People are searching for meaning and for some spirituality and they want help.

Planking is way to express this but many express it in other ways. Perhaps we need to reach out to a friend who may not be literally lying face down on the ground but inside they are.  And maybe we can give them a helping hand to get them back on their feet.

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What is the Topsy Turvy upside down bus and where is the Topsy Turvy upside down bus?

The Topsy Turvy upside-down bus is now part of the Teval Learning Center Project

Some people saw the pictures of me planking on a strange-looking upside down bus. I found the bus near Eden Village Camp where I am now and thought it to be a very unique planking opportunity. I then got talking with Jonah Adels who spent nine weeks on the Topsy Turvy upside down bus, touring from New York City to Key West, Florida and then back to New York City. Jonah was kind enough to share some of his Topsy Turvy thoughts.

What is the Topsy Turvy/upside-down bus?

The Topsy Turvy bus is a traveling educational vehicle which largely runs on waste vegetable oil. Those people involved with the bus stop off at schools, community centers, and parks and talk to people about sustainable living.

How did you get involved with the Topsy Turvy bus?

While I was working for the Teva Learning Center I met Jonathan Dubrinsky who invited me to go on the Topsy Turvy bus, which was headed for its third tour of the United States that lasted 9 weeks.

Who built the Topsy Turvy bus?

Ben Cohen (from Ben & Jerry’s) had the idea. Then around ten years ago Tom Kennedy built the Topsy Turvy bus. Following him, Jonathan Dubrinsky of the Teva Learning Center made some changes to the fuel tank system to enable it to run on vegetable oil waste, as well as a number of interior changes.

Describe your trip experience on the Topsy Turvy bus.

It was an incredible experience meeting so many types of Jewish communities where we were able to give and share ideas and information.

An awesome memory from the Topsy Turvy bus?

We got paid $300 in Miami to dress up for Purim at the Jewish Museum of Florida.

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‘Zen and the art of Planking,’ Also titled ‘How to go Planking in Mid Air’

One of the all time great planking masters who I met personally in the Philippines

Zen and the art of planking is a story about a young orphaned boy who decides to win the annual planking championship and become the greatest planker in the world. His journey takes him to a man with great magic who teaches him that there is more to life than just planking.

Note from the author: My blog is not about planking, however many plankers have been enjoying my posts on planking and thus I decided to post this story. I hope you enjoy it and share it.


Once upon a timed there was an eight-year-old boy who loved planking. His name was Donny. He had blond hair, blue eyes, freckles and a sweet smile. Donny was a nice boy but most of the other children would make fun of him because he was so skinny and not very strong. This meant that he was never any good at difficult planking. Sure, he could go planking on the ground, on the road, and even on chairs. But Donny was always too scared and weak and to go planking on anything high above the ground.

Donny lived with his evil stepmother who was always mean to him. She would make him stay home and clean the house while all the other boys and girls were out planking. Often while scrubbing the walls, Donny would stop to look in the mirror. “If only I were stronger,” he’d say, “then I’d be able to do amazing planking things like everyone else.”

Every night before going to sleep, Donny would read to himself from his much loved book, ‘The Legends of Planking.’ His favorite part was ‘The History of Planking and its Great Dreaming.’

                “During the Dream Time when the great island was created there were two Spirits  Beings who both wanted to marry the same beautiful Ocean Spirit. Altjira, the earth spirit, cast a bolt of lightning which turned the two Spirits into men, and said, “He who will perform the greatest planking will have the Ocean Spirit for a wife.” The problem was that Altjira never explained what is planking, how planking should be done, and who and who would decide on the winner.

                “The people who lived on the beautiful golden island passed down the legend since the first dreaming. Some tribes believed that the planking was meant to be done facing up because Altjira lived in the sky, but overall most agreed that planking must be done facing the ground. Once every year, there was a great planking competition when the islanders  would select their new planking champion.”

“Please G-d,” Donny prayed every night before bed, “make me strongest and bravest boy in the village so that when I am eighteen and old enough to enter the planking competition, I will be able to perform the most incredible planking ever.”


The Great Island where Donny lived was surrounded by the beautiful ocean spirit. It was a Magical place with lots of kangaroos, wombats, platypuses, and possums. There was bush land and desert depending on which direction you’d walk. And oh, the gum trees! Donny loved the gum trees.

It was the day of the great planking Championship. Everyone was in the town center enjoying the festivities – that is, everyone besides Donny. His evil stepmother forced him to stay home and clean the house.

Donny sat on the floor, crying. Tears flowed down his face. He wished he could be 6 years old again and with his real mother who always took him to see the planking championship.

He fell asleep and in his dream he saw his mother. She whispered to him, “Head into the bush and follow the sound of the didgeridoo, where you will learn to go planking in mid-air…head into the bush and follow the sound of the didgeridoo…”

Sunset on Planking Zen

Donny woke with a start. He grabbed a few things and ran from the house. The sound of the didgeridoo spirit guided him far over the river to a large gum tree. There he found an old man with gray hair who had painted his dark body with white and red stripes.

“My name is Nanjare,” said the man. “The whispers have guided you to me, and now I must train you in the ways of my people’s ancestors.”

“Can you teach me how to perform planking suspended in mid air?” Donny asked

Nanjare smiled. “The power of planking is already in you, you must learn to become one with this force.”

Days turned to months, and months into years. Donny learned the ancient wisdom, to meditate and to talk in whispers. He learned to play the didgeridoo, to collect wild plants, and use magic to heal.

Sometime after Donny’s eighteenth birthday Nanjare led him to the sacred pool under the red dreaming rock. “Look at your reflection,” said Nanjare, “You have become a man and it is now time for you to return to your people.”

Donny realized that in his last ten years with Nanjare they had never once planked.  They were always so busy that there was never any time.

“But what will I do at the planking championship,” asked Donny. “I cannot even perform a simple planking!”

“Here,” replied Nanjare, giving him to drink from a small bottle. Donny felt a magical sensation creep through his body and he slowly began to rise above the ground. When he was fifty feet above the ground he stretched out and performed a perfect mid-air planking. He held the plank for a few moments and then slowly floated down to the ground.


It was the night of the first full moon. No one recognized Donny as he stood amongst the crowed waiting his turn. People had long ago forgotten about the orphan boy. They figured that he got eaten in the river by a crocodile, or maybe died from a snake bite out in the bush.

Donny’s heart raced as his turn to perform a planking arrived. He checked his pocket for the small bottle of magic potion Nanjare had given him. It was still there. His heart began to race as he hurried towards the center were there were all kinds of things set up that people could plank on. There was even a spear sticking out of the ground. Everyone was curious to see what the stranger was going to do.

As Donny approached the center, a young boy ran in front of him. Donny tripped and landed face down in the mud in perfect planking position. Everyone began to laugh and squeal with delight. Here was someone performing the easiest planking of all!  Donny felt the small bottle of magic potion in his pocket break and the liquid spill out. The villagers continued to laugh. Donny, unrelenting, remained with his face in the mud holding the planking position. He was not sure what to do. He could not bring himself up to face the crowed.

The years of training with Nanjare had showed him how not to feel any anger towards the people who laughed or to the boy who tripped him. He felt no anger over the past. And for that moment he accepted everything perfectly for the way it was.

Time passed and he continue to hold the planking position. His spirit became one with the earth dreaming, and he felt an incredible sense of peace. As he rested there, he heard the song of the rainbow spirit as it echoed through the deep resonance of the didgeridoo.

And it was at this moment out of time that he heard the whispers of the dreaming and became enlightened.

More posts on planking

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The Complete Guide to Planking – How to go Planking Like a Professional Planker

Select the target objective: Where you will perform the planking. Planking can be done on any object, building, person or animal. You can go planking anywhere, though execute caution before planking on a police car, on a balcony railing, or on a moving vehicle. Plankers who went planking on the above three mentioned had planking experiences which resulted in undesirable consequences.

Plan your planking: How will you reach your planking objective? Will you need physical assistance from a non-planker? You may need to educate them about planking. Who will take your planking photo? The last thing you want is to perform a difficult planking position and the person who has your camera doesn’t know how to take a photograph.

Approach your planking target: Approach with caution. Some plankers have gotten injured on their approaches. Is the terrain slippery, are there any potholes, electric wires, or barbed wire?

Perform the planking. Ease into the planking position slowly. Exhale as you press your body downwards. Flow into the planking experience. Become one with the object you are planking on. Feel a permeating connection with all plankers around the world who are in middle of a plank.

* Maintain awareness and caution when exiting your planking. You may feel an overwhelming desire to celebrate and share the experience with fellow plankers, but if you are on top of a 100ft flag poll you need to come down slowly.

Happy Planking!

A Story about planking from the great planking master

Check out my other posts on planking.

How to Perform the Most Incredible Planking Ever!

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Planking: one person died from planking, and one person is in a Coma from planking so Why am I still Planking?

This is Rabbi Ben Planking on the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Bus...

I will keep planking. This is my third post about planking and if this keeps up I’ll need to change my name to the ‘Planking Rabbi.’

I think I really dig this whole planking craze because it makes me feel connected to Australia. I lived there for seven years and I kind of miss the place. And when I did this planking thing on the upside down bus, I felt like I was back in Australia.

Australians have this thing for irreverence, like worshiping Ned Kelly and the guy from Waltzing Matilda who steals a sheep. It’s Australians who would cheer a guy for planking on a police car and then buy the guy a beer. Something like planking would probably not go far in, say, a place like Germany where a passerby would see you planking on top of a national monument in the middle of the city and be horrified. They would then admonish you for your planking irreverence and instead of you putting a smile on their face you probably would have ruined their day.  Australians would probably ask you to hold the planking position again so they can get a photo. Australia is the kind of place where you could probably almost get the prime minister to plank on parliament hill.

So that’s why I’m planking: it makes me feel so Australian!

My other posts on planking:

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What is Planking, Why are People Planking, and How to go Planking

An impossible plank in Salar, Bolivia

I first learned about planking when I read in the Australian news about the guy who planked on the back of a police car. I was rather thrilled to read this planking story, as I felt that it far more deserved front page headlines over celebrity gossip. It’s nice to hear about real people doing real things, like planking.

Because I lived in Australia and New Zealand for six years I feel a close connection to the absurdity that people over there come up with. Like A.J. Hackett, the New Zealander who developed bungy jumping. Who would have thought you could get people to tie a rubber band around their feet and dive head first off a bridge, and give you money for the opportunity to do it!

I’ve got to admit, planking has got me excited. It is such a stupid thing to do but it has some sort of pull to it. It has got my creative juices flowing as I walk around looking for the perfect place to plank.

What has made planking a success as a new craze is that it is simple, harmless, and easy enough that almost anyone can perform a basic plank. All you need to do is lay down straight as a board facing downward. Than the sky is the limit as to where you may plank.

Planking was started by a few guys just having fun taking some silly photos. Facebook allowed for it to go viral very quickly. There is something compelling us to go planking in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, or on the steps of the capitol building in Washington.

For the meantime, planking is legal, although now with the death of one Australian planker, some are pushing for planking laws. The Australian planker died a couple days ago when he tried to plank on a balcony railing seven stories high. Sadly, he ended up planking on the ground. Perhaps in his memory they should bury him face-down so he could be doing the first underground-coffin plank!

Last night I planked on my mattress and felt like I was connecting to the millions of people who were out there doing the same. It got me thinking. Perhaps what we all crave is a way to connect with others? So we come up with things like flash mobs, flash freezes, and now planking. We feel good when we connect with others and even if it is by doing something as stupid as planking, we still feel part of a community.

I think with time people will come up with more things like planking because we are searching for ways to connect. We in our western world no longer live in tribal communities and have become more and more disconnected from each other. Many have never spoken to their neighbors other than a courteous ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ And now we spend more and more time alone on our computers, when we are at home or in the office. We go about listening to our own music with headphones when we take public transport, and we are even doing our shopping online.

Sometimes I see people walking down the street listening to their headphones and I want to stop and ask them, “Hey, are you participating in the world?”

Planking reawakens our desire to participate in the world and it makes us feel good to connect with others even if it is doing something as simple as planking. Perhaps what we need now is for people to create more global bonding experiences that we can use to achieve good.

One of the all time great planking masters who now lives in the Philipines

A Beautiful story I wrote about Planking

My other post on planking

Planking on an upside down bus

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