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A Chaturanga Checklist

Take your Tadasana principles with you as we head into week two of our “Back to Basics” month.  This week, we will be focusing on a Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staffed Pose). 

Start by moving into Plank Pose and drawing your heart forward so your wrists are right under your shoulders.  You’ll notice immediately gravity is now working against you and it takes more effort to find Tadasana alignment in the shoulders, hips and legs.  Fine-tune your plank pose before moving into Chaturanga Dandasana:

  • Spread your collarbones and draw the shoulder blades onto your back. 
  • Firm your upper outer arms inward.
  • Engage the triceps without hyperextending the elbows. 

It is very common to let the belly drop towards the floor in this pose, causing the lower back to over-arch.  To counteract this tendency:

  • Lift your thighs toward the ceiling.
  • Engage your quads.
  • Draw your navel in and up.
  • Lengthen your tailbone toward the heels. 

To build the strength needed to safely move into Chaturanga Dandasana from plank pose, hold plank for 30 second intervals, taking child’s pose in between each interval.

Then, from plank, exhale and lower the legs and torso towards the floor until the forearms and upper arms form a 90 degree angle. 

  • Let the elbows and upper arms graze the sides of your torso as you lower, keeping the elbows over the wrists. 
  • Lengthen all four sides of your neck and gaze slightly forward.  Resist the urge to look back towards your toes as this will cause the upper spine to round. 

You will find yourself flowing in and out of Chaturanga Dandasana quite frequently in a traditional vinyasa yoga class.  It’s important to take time to break down the mechanics of this pose and remain disciplined with alignment so that we can safely build upper body strength and avoid repetitive stress injuries. 

This week, Erin Kander will be sharing helpful tips for a mindful Chaturanga Dandasana practice.  Follow us to stay in the loop:

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Upcoming Level 1 classes (click to register):

Friday 9:30-10:45am with Jill Delaney

Sunday 11am-12pm with Erin Kander

Monday 7:30-8:30pm with Jesse Bueno


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