Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

(Cha-tur-ung-ga Daan-das-ana)

Benefits

•Strengthens the arms and wrists
•Tones the abdomen

Contraindications/Cautions

• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Pregnancy

Step by Step

1. Start in adho mukha svanasna, then move into plank. Firm your shoulder blades against your back ribs and press your tailbone toward your pubis.

2. With an exhalation slowly lower the torso and legs to a few inches above and parallel to the floor. There is a tendency in this pose for the lower back to sway toward the floor and the tailbone to poke up toward the ceiling. Throughout your stay in this position, keep the tailbone firmly in place, with the legs very active and slightly turned in, pressing through the heels. Draw the pubis toward the navel.

3. Keep the space between the shoulder blades broad. Don’t let the elbows splay out to the sides – hold them in by the sides of the torso and push them back toward the heels. Press the bases of the index fingers firmly to the floor. Lift the top of the sternum and your head to look forward.

4. Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the positions in the Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose on its own, anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Release with an exhalation. Either lay yourself lightly down onto the floor or push strongly back to Adho Mukha Svanasana, lifting through the top thighs and the tailbone.

Deepen the Pose: If possible, slowly roll over the balls of your feet onto the tops of your feet, and shift the torso slightly forward. This will bring the hands back beside your waist and increase the challenge of the position.

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