Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
This is the foundation of the yoga practise, and I realised through the first week of YTT that I did not get my alignment right before this and no one had corrected me despite it being one of the fundamental poses. We engage in chaturanga arms in most if not all arm balances, and it is an essential part of the Ashtanga practice when we transit between asanas. Here, I would like to highlight a few key pointers in getting the pose right:
1. To know where your hands should be rightfully placed, while standing up, try placing your palms at 90 degrees angle with forearm and parallel to your upper arm. (like how you’d hold up a stop sign). When your body is parallel to the floor, the palms will be next to your rib cage and not any higher, forming a perfect 90 degrees between your upper arm and forearm.
2. engage your quads, glutes and sides of body (serratus anterior) to draw the shoulder blades (scapula) to open up the chest and stabilise the upper body. So do not totally rely on your triceps muscle while in this pose. Do not sink the core down.
3. Strong deltoids, biceps and triceps are essential to ensure that you don’t collapse your body weight to the floor especially while transiting from high plank to chaturanga. This can only come from hard work, so 20 triceps pushups a day to keep your chaturanga going.
4. Don’t stick your buttocks up or allow the shoulders to collapse below the elbow. Tuck in your tailbone.
5. Hug the elbows towards the ribcage and do not allow them to splay to the sides.
* options for half chaturanga or astanga namaskara (knees-chest-chin) possible if your shoulders or arms are not strong.