Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the most effective poses to activate your
core muscles. It also tones your body and strengthens your limbs. Chaturanga Dandasana is often performed as a part of Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation pose in the Vinyasa flow yoga.
If you have been planning to learn Chaturanga Dandasana yoga, we have the perfect guide for you. Keep reading to know its meaning, benefits, steps, and much more!
Chaturanga Dandasana Meaning And Basic Facts
Just like all the other yoga poses, Chaturanga Dandasana’s name is also derived from the Sanskrit language. It is made of words – Chatur that means four; Anga that means limbs, Danda which means staff; and Asana that means pose. Thus, Chaturanga yoga meaning
in English is the four-limbed staff pose.
The asana was not mentioned in Hatha yoga but it is quite popular in Modern yoga. In fact, it is called one of the primary foundation poses in the Vinayasa by Krishnamacharya. During this pose, your body is in a straight alignment supported by your toes and palms, parallel to the ground. It is a challenging yoga posture but it can be introduced in sessions of yoga for beginners as well.
- Other Names: Chaturanga yoga, Low Plank Pose, Four-Limbed Staff Pose
- Level: Intermediate
- Targets: Shoulders and core muscles
- Pose Type: Arm balance, core
As you would have realized so far, this pose requires the use of your arms and shoulders. Thus, it is essential to strengthen your arms by practicing a few poses in advance. This will also ensure that your body gathers enough flexibility and strength to do Chaturanga Dandasana. These preparatory poses include the following:
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or The Upward Facing Dog
- Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose
- Phalakasana or The Simple Plank Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana Benefits
There are plenty of Chaturanga benefits that are good not just for your physical but also mental and spiritual health. Some of the best benefits are as follows:
- Stronger Core and Back
Chaturanga is quite similar to the plank pose and that’s why it also helps in aligning your whole body. It also impacts your erector spinae – the muscles on either side of your spine – and makes them stronger and flexible. The pose also improves the blood circulation; thereby, enhancing strength of not just your back but also core muscles.
- Improved Functional Strength
If you master this pose, you can also notice difference in your functional strength. With a strong core and muscles, you can also improve your performance in day-to-day tasks and workout sessions.
- Improved Body Awareness
Chaturanga Dandasana requires you to shift all your focus to your body’s alignment and breathing pattern. You also learn to correct your body’s stability and manage the uneven weight distribution. This further helps in improving your body awareness.
- Stimulated Chakras
Chaturanga is also associated with the third chakra, called Manipura. This is located in your solar plexus and is linked to the strength of your self-worth and individual identity. By balancing this chakra can increase your determination, courage, and confidence.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, Chaturanga Dandasana can also help you in:
- Reducing back pain
- Improving body’s flexibility
- Increasing stamina
- Reducing mental stress and anxiety
- Improving your overall body posture
How To Do Chaturanga Dandasana
Whether you are performing Chaturanga Dandasana or any other yoga or exercise, you must always start the session by performing a 5-10 minutes warmup. This stretches the muscles to avoid any sudden strain or stress. In case of Chaturanga Dandasana, try the hip flexor exercises along with arms and shoulder stretches.
Once you are done with the warmup, follow the below mentioned Chaturanga Dandasana steps:
- Begin with a forward bend by extending your arms and opening your chest.
- Now, exhale and step back. Bend in a plank position by placing your hands and feet on the floor. Your feet should be hip-distance apart and your shoulders should be right above your wrists. Make sure you distribute your body weight evenly between your hands and feet.
- Engage your core by pulling your lower belly and pressing into your heels as you reach your sternum forward.
- Your gaze should be forward and elbows should have a slight bend.
- Slowly exhale and lower your elbows to shoulder height, pinning them against your sides.
- At this pose, your chest, shoulders, upper arms, and elbows will be in alignment.
- Hold this pose at the bottom. If you are doing Chaturanga Dandasana for beginners, you can hold the pose for just 10 seconds while experts can do it for as long as possible.
- To release the pose, exhale and return to the plank position. Trace your steps to upward facing dog.
Following the steps is not enough. You also need to know about the common mistakes one can make during Chaturanga Dandasana. By learning how to avoid them, you can reduce your chances of getting injured, especially during home workouts:
- Lowering Your Chest Too Far: To avoid this, try to keep the shoulders higher than your elbows or at least keep them at the same level.
- Letting Hips Sag: Do not let your hips and lower body sag as it can ruin the alignment. To avoid that, it is important to build a strong core by performing preparatory poses.
- Flaring Elbows Out: Hug your elbows close to your body to ensure they do not flare out.
No doubt that Chaturanga Dandasana is a safe pose and even beginners can practice this. But there are some safety tips and precautions everyone should keep in mind before starting this pose:
- Do not eat heavy meals before performing this yoga.
- Always do a warmup prior to Chaturanga Dandasana.
- Avoid Chaturanga Dandasana if you have – persistent pain in shoulders; injuries in the back, shoulders, wrist pain, or high blood pressure.
- Pregnant women, especially those who are in the later stages, should avoid this pose.
Chaturanga Dandasana is an excellent yoga pose to learn. It can significantly improve your strength, flexibility, and alignment. You can also modify it or try Chaturanga Dandasana variations and challenge your muscles more. However, to begin any such pose, always get guidance from a yoga expert.
Nowadays, you can also join online yoga classes and get training from top yoga experts while practicing at home. All you need to do is find one that suits your requirements and budget and sign up.
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