Nail That Chaturanga!

Chaturanga Dandasana, sometimes known as the Four-Limbed Staff Pose, is a staple in all vinyasa yoga classes; it is almost impossible to go through a vinyasa flow or sun salutation without this pose. Unfortunately, it is also a widely neglected pose as we don’t usually spend a lot of time in the position and many people put themselves at high risk of wrist/shoulder injuries by performing it wrongly.

Here are some useful tips for mastering Chaturanga:
1. First, start in plank pose and ensure that wrists, elbows and shoulders are aligned. Pull your shoulders away from your ears.
2. Push through the back of your heels to engage the quadriceps and keep the front thighs lifted. Keep reaching your tailbone towards your heels so that your butt doesn’t lift up too much. Reach your sternum forward at the same time.
3. Engage your core and pull in your abdominals and lower ribs. This will help to prevent your hips and belly from sagging.
4. When you are ready, roll forward using your toes until your shoulders reach beyond your wrists. Bend your arms until your elbows form a 90° angle with the mat. Gaze on the floor about 6 inches in front of you.
5. For beginners, feel free to adopt the modified variation by dropping your knees down to the ground. You can also try the pose with your feet against the wall to help you engage your quadriceps better.

This is what the pose should look like:

chaturanga

Some common mistakes for this pose include:
– Not engaging the core, causing the lower body to collapse downwards
– Lifting the butt too high
– Bringing the shoulders below the elbows
– Not pulling shoulders away from ears

When done correctly, Chaturanga can help to strengthen the triceps, pectorals, serratus anterior, abdominals, gluteals, quadriceps and erector spinae. Doing push-ups is a great way to prepare for this pose.

Truth be told, I struggled with this pose for ages before finally getting it right. Don’t fret if you can’t do it now, for it will all come with practice. Just make sure that you practise safely (listen to your body!) to prevent injuries. 🙂

Li Xin
200hr YTTC (Weekend)