One of the most popular and common yoga asanas, Chaturanga dandasana is a part of most vinyasa yoga classes and is often repeated many times per class. While this posture is so pivotal to many yoga flow practices, it is often misunderstood.
A foundational yoga pose, Chaturanga dandasana requires thoughtful alignment and activation of muscles. In this article, we will tell you how to do Chaturanga dandasana, various chaturanga dandasana benefits, and common mistakes one should avoid while practising chaturanga dandasana.
How To Do Chaturanga Dandasana or Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do Chaturanga Dandasana.
- For the starting position, on the floor or a yoga mat, get in Phalakasana or plank pose with your shoulders over your wrist and your heels right over the balls of your feet.
- Push through your hands and stretch your body. Make sure your body is strong and in a straight line from head to heel.
- Now, keep your core tight, your legs straight, and your hips extended. Begin to bend your elbows.
- Work on keeping your body strong and straight as you lower down.
- If you can’t hold your body in a straight line, you may bring your knees to the ground.
- Now, as you lower your torso, keep your shoulders lifted and broaden the scapulae so they draw down onto your rib cage. Try to resist the tendency to let your shoulder blades lift away from the rib cage or to squeeze your shoulder blades in towards each other.
- Bend your elbows until your shoulders are as high as your elbows and get into a low plank. Your upper arms should be roughly parallel to the ground forming a 90-degree angle at the elbow joint. It is important to note that everybody has slightly different body proportions hence the angle does not have to be an exact 90 degrees for everyone.
- Avoid letting your chin draw towards your chest in the low plank. Instead, lift your chin very slightly. Keep broadening your shoulder blades, widening your collar bones, and stretching your elbows back behind you.
- Be sure to root down through your index knuckle and push the floor away with your hands.
- This is Chaturanga Dandasana.
The practice of chaturanga dandasana pose is usually followed by Bhujangasana, or Cobra pose, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or Upward facing dog pose. Alternatively, after the chaturanga dandasana pose you may also move back into Phalakasana, or plank pose, or move into Adho Mukha Svanasana, or downward-facing dog pose.
Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana or Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the most popular yoga poses. When done regularly, one can reap various chaturanga dandasana benefits.
Here are a few chaturanga dandasana benefits for your knowledge.
- Improves abdominal strength and endurance: Practicing Yoga chaturanga requires one to have and build a good amount of core and abdominal strength. A strong core may help in keeping the body balanced and preventing any damage to the body due to various movements. The Chaturanga Dandasana pose also increases stamina as it requires one to hold the pose strongly.
- Strengthens the arms: Practicing chaturanga dandasana is the simplest and most effective way to train the arms. When practiced regularly, one can build strong arms, biceps, and a steady grip making this an ideal yoga for beginners practice.
- Strengthens the shoulders: Along with the arms, the shoulders also play a pivotal role in this posture. The shoulders stay activated throughout the chaturanga dandasana posture and gradually become strong.
- Benefits the back muscles and the chest: Chaturanga dandasana is known to be very effective for people suffering from back-related problems. The posture uses the strength of the chest and upper back along with the hip to keep the body in good alignment resulting in strong and toned chest and upper back muscles.
- Improves posture of the spine: Chaturanga dandasana aids expansion and lengthening of the spine and the neck. The posture targets the upper and lower back and helps in correcting the spine alignment and strengthening the back muscles.
- Increases flexibility and stability: Chaturanga dandasana works on granting the body of the practitioner stability as well as flexibility in the whole body and especially in the elbows and the wrists. This makes the practice of chaturanga dandasana for beginners ideal.
- Increases body awareness: Chaturanga dandasana helps in establishing the mind and muscle connection and teaches proper distribution of weight using the arms and legs. It may also teach a persona a lot about proper body alignment.
All the above-mentioned chaturanga benefits explain why this posture is such an integral part of most yoga flow practices.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Chaturanga Dandasana or Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Yoga chaturanga dandasana is undoubtedly not an easy pose to achieve. This can be especially true if you’re practising chaturanga dandasana for beginners. If it gets difficult for you to get the yoga chaturanga dandasana pose just right, keep your eyes out for these common mistakes and work on avoiding them.
- Avoid having your shoulders hover over your wrists as it does not offer the support the shoulders needs. Make sure you rock forward from plank before lowering into chaturanga yoga position. Prioritize this set-up of the shoulders and arms in order to perform the chaturanga yoga position safely.
- Avoid collapsing the chest or pointing the chest at the floor. Focus on broadening the chest in plank before lowering to four limbed staff pose. This should correct a collapsed chest.
- Avoid lowering too far and skimming as close to the floor as possible. Bringing your shoulders lower than your elbows in four limbed staff pose can put a lot of weight on your wrists and your shoulders. This may result in injuries when repeated over and over in the course of many practices.
- Do not let your hips sag. If your hips begin to sag, take it as an indication to drop your knees to the floor and work on building the core strength required to support the plank throughout yoga chaturanga.
- Do not let your elbows stick out. Make sure to hug your elbows strongly into the sides of your body. Depending upon how wide your shoulders are, you may even feel them hugging your torso in a low position.
Now that you know so much about chaturanga dandasana and the various chaturanga benefits, make sure to practice this posture and include it in your everyday yoga practice.
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