How to do Chaturanga Dandasana
If you have performed Sun Salutations, chances are you’ve run into Chaturanga Dandasana before. Chaturanga is often part of the traditional Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga Sun Sequence.
Chaturanga Dandasana Meaning
Chaturanga Dandasana is pronounced chaht-tour-ANG-ah don-DAHS-anna and translates to Four-Limbed Staff pose in English. Chatur means four and anga means limbs, indicating the points of the body which support the body in this pose. Danda means staff, which refers to the body being in a straight line during Chaturanga.
Chaturanga Dandasana Benefits
The Four-Limbed Staff pose activates your arms, wrists, shoulders and legs. Core strength can be built up by practicing Chaturanga, which makes it a perfect preparatory pose for arm balances such as Bakasana. Chaturanga captures the foundation of many other yoga poses as it trains full-body awareness and strength. Practice the pose as a seperate asana or incorporate it in your Sun Sequence.
Explore: How to master Bakasana - Crow Pose
Proper alignment in Chaturanga Dandasana
Your shoulders should be at bent at no more than a 90-degree angle, at about the same height as your elbows. Your shoulder blades should be moving towards each other as you lower down into the pose. Avoid dumping your weight into your shoulders - instead, push away from the floor.
Your legs should be fully engaged. Press down into the balls of your feet.
Lift your chest upward and forward.
Rotate your arms externally and keep your elbows close to your upper body as you lower down.
Chaturanga Dandasana modifications
Just starting out?: From Plank Pose, bend your knees and practice lowering down to Chaturanga from there. Alternatively, practice Chaturanga against a wall. Face the wall and press yourself against it, with your palms a bit lower than shoulder height. Pretend to push away from the wall, but keep your shoulder blades together to resist the movement.
Chaturanga with blocks: Practice proper shoulder alignment by placing two blocks, shoulder-width apart, in front of you. Lower down into Chaturanga and rest your shoulders on the blocks (make sure you place the blocks at elbow height).
Do your elbows splay out?: Place a strap around your arms, above your elbows, before lowering down into Chaturanga.
Challenge yourself: Lift one leg while in Chaturanga. Alternate between each leg.
Urdhva mukha svanasana - Upward-Facing Dog
Bhujangasana - Cobra
Adho mukha svanasana - Downward-Facing Dog