Tips for a Safe Chaturanga
When you start to take yoga classes more frequently, you’ll notice the term “chaturanga” popping up over and over again. As a foundational strength-building pose in yoga for beginners and a transitional pose for more advanced practices, chaturanga is a staple of vinyasa yoga.
Because we do the pose so frequently in power yoga classes, it’s important to maintain safe alignment as you move through your chaturangas.
Here are some tips to keep in mind from Yoga Pod Dallas to help you perfect your chaturanga push-up!
One of the most confusing aspects of starting a yoga practice is the terminology. Not only do yoga classes switch between English and Sanskrit, but they also use different names for poses interchangeably.
When it comes to chaturanga, you might hear it referred to by these different names: chaturanga, chaturanga dandasana, push-up, flow, or high-to-low plank.
No matter the variation, the pose involves a forearm push-up, usually starting from a halfway lift , moving through upward dog, and ending with downward facing dog.
For the sake of this blog, we will focus on the alignment and safety of the actual forearm push-up, as this is where you are most likely to injure yourself.
Alignment Tips for Chaturanga
Assuming you’re starting in high plank, keep these tips in mind as you move through your next flow! As always, be sure to ask any of your teachers for alignment adjustments or advice the next time you stop by Yoga Pod Dallas!
Keep Your Core Engaged
Even though it’s known as a forearm strengthener, proper chaturanga push-ups actually rely predominantly on core strength. It’s imperative to keep your core engaged as you move through the plank so that you do not compromise your lower back. To engage your core, imagine connecting your belly button to your spine.
Don’t Bend Your Elbows Past 90 Degrees
As you hinge forward and start your push-up, keep in mind that you do not want to go beyond a 90-degree angle with your elbows. If we dip below 90 degrees, we put undue strain in our shoulders and upper back. Try checking yourself out in the mirror the next time you do a push-up to make sure you aren’t dipping below 90 degrees. Or, you can always ask your yoga teacher to keep an eye on your push-up and give you feedback on alignment!
Especially in yoga for beginners, chaturanga is a totally new movement. Since you are still developing forearm, core, and back strength, consider dropping to your knees as you do the push-up. There’s no shame in this! If anything, it’s far safer and still helps you build strength.