Yoga Asanas

Chaturanga Dandasana - Four-Limbed Staff pose

Posted on 2018-10-26

Chaturanga Dandasana Meaning

Chaturanga Dandasana is a yoga pose also known as "Four-Limbed Staff Pose" in English. It is a pose that involves balancing on the hands and toes while maintaining a low, plank-like position with the body. The name "Chaturanga" comes from the Sanskrit words "chatur," which means "four," and "anga," which means "limb." The word "danda" means "staff" or "rod," and "asana" means "pose" or "posture."

Chaturanga Dandasana is an intermediate yoga pose that requires strength, balance, and control. It is a typical pose in many vinyasa flow yoga sequences. It is often used as a transition between poses such as Upward-Facing Dog and Downward-Facing Dog. It can help build upper body strength, core stability, balance, and coordination. As with any yoga pose, it is crucial to listen to your body and practice safely, using modifications as needed.

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 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 much other yoga poses as it trains full-body awareness and strength. Practice the pose as a separate asana or incorporate it in your Sun Sequence.

Explore: How to master Bakasana - Crow Pose

Proper alignment in Chaturanga Dandasana

  • Your shoulders should be bent at no more than a 90-degree angle, at about the same height as your elbows. Your shoulder blades should move 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?: From Plank Pose, bend your knees and practice lowering to Chaturanga. Alternatively, practice Chaturanga against a wall. Face the wall and press 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.

Chaturanga Dandasana Contraindications

Avoid practicing Chaturanga if you are pregnant or have a previous wrist or shoulder injury. Also, proper execution is vital to prevent shoulder and joint misalignments. 

Master Chaturanga Dandasana - Step-by-Step

  • Start in a regular plank, stacking your shoulders over your wrists and the heels pressing back. Keep your gaze on the floor and your fingers spread out firmly on the mat.

  • Tighten your core and keep your back in a straight line. 

  • Lean forward onto your toes so that your shoulders pass the wrists. Bend your elbows, lowering down to shoulder height. Exhale while moving down. 

  • Stay in Chaturanga for as long as 30 seconds. Exhale. You can opt to release down onto the floor or progress into the downward-facing dog or plank pose.

Beginner yoga videos


Step by step: Chaturanga in Lizette Pompa’s Vinyasa Fundamentals Day 2

Learn how to practice a vinyasa style safely and firmly so you can move through an entire class feeling confident and better understanding the postures. Practice placement of elbows to lowering correctly from plank to low plank with the correct placement of shoulders

You will review something different in each class, from the concept of ujjayi breath to the foundational postures such as downward dog, plank pose, chaturanga dandasana, upward dog, warrior l, warrior ll, and high lunge.

Progression poses

  • Urdhva mukha svanasana - Upward-Facing Dog

  • Bhujangasana - Cobra

  • Adho mukha svanasana -  Downward-Facing Dog

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