Yoga Pose of the Week: Chaturanga Dandasana

By far, the yoga pose I see students struggle with the most is Chaturanga Dandasana.
Chaturanga is usually practiced a lot in a vinyasa yoga class as it’s one of the Sun Salutation sequences of yoga poses, and is often used as a connecting vinyasa between segments of a vinyasa yoga class.

How to get into Chaturanga:

  1. From Plank Pose, draw your belly in and lengthen your tailbone. Extend out through your heels and your heart.
  2. Begin to bend your elbows, keeping them close to your ribs, and lower your torso about half way to the floor. Your upper arms should be in line with your torso.
  3. Pause here and maintain for 3-5 breaths – this is Chaturanga!

Sounds simple enough, huh? Here are some common misalignments:

  • Elbows flay out to the sides. Draw the elbows in towards your ribs and send them straight back as you lower down.
  • Belly sinks to the floor. Draw in your belly and lengthen your tailbone. If you cannot lower into Chaturanga without maintaining the line from your heels to your shoulders, then practice everything above on your knees. If you still “break the line,” then practic Plank Pose until you develop the core strength you need.
  • Too close to the ground / shoulders dip. This is so bad for your shoulders! Have a buddy guide you to the proper height by placing their hand under your shoulder so you know when to stop.
  • Too far forward in Plank before lowering down. This puts a lot of pressure on your wrists and shoulders, and is unnecessary. Maintain your shoulders over your wrists – do not shift forward before lowering.
  • Collapse between the shoulder blades. While in Plank or Chaturanga on your knees, practice broadening your shoulder blades and pressing your hands into the ground.
  • Grimacing and looking miserable. Ok not so much a misalignment but a reminder to ENJOY your yoga practice! Even a challenging yoga pose like Chaturanga can be enjoyable when you practice it and adopt the right attitude!
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