How to do Chaturanga Dandasana

Posted on 2018-10-26


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.


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 wrists and the heels pressing back. Keep your gaze on the floor and 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 past 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 for releasing down onto the floor or progressing into downward facing dog or plank pose.

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Progression poses

  • Urdhva mukha svanasana - Upward-Facing Dog

  • Bhujangasana - Cobra

  • Adho mukha svanasana -  Downward-Facing Dog

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