Tips For A Safe Chaturanga

 In Beginner Yoga

If you’ve been to a few yoga classes already, you’ve almost certainly heard the phrase “chaturanga dandasana” cued by your instructor. If your immediate reaction was to say, “bless you!” or “gesundheit,” we don’t blame you. Chaturanga dandasana, in Sanskrit, translates to “Four-Limbed Staff Pose.”

If “Four-Limbed Staff Pose” still sounds like a foreign concept, think of it as a forearm push-up.

Because chaturanga is such a foundational posture of vinyasa yoga (podFLOW classes), it’s worth taking the time to perfect. At the least, you want to make sure you have a safe chaturanga, as this type of push-up can be taxing on the shoulder girdle if done without proper alignment.

Yoga Pod Denver West compiled these tips to help you better conceptualize chaturanga, understand proper alignment, and know what modifications to take.

To really get the hang of your chaturanga, there’s nothing like actually practicing it. Stop by our yoga studio in Golden today and take a podBASIC or podFLOW 1 class — each of these yoga class types are designed for beginner yoga students, and they take the time to demonstrate a correct chaturanga series.

1. Chaturanga Starts With The Hands

When you think about the strength it takes to do a push-up, you probably think of the core, shoulders, and arms. While these muscle groups are important, hands are actually the key to taking your yoga practice to the next level.

The way yogis use their hands (and toes) is one of the best indicators of skill level. To set your plank up for success, focus on your hands.

  • Avoid putting weight entirely into the base of the hand; this puts undue strain on the wrist.
  • Imagine that you have a cute little creature under your palm and you don’t want to squish it; this helps to distribute weight more evenly throughout your hands
  • Align the tip of your third finger directly in front of you; this encourages proper alignment through the shoulders.

2. Chaturanga Requires An Engaged Core

“Engage your core” might be one of the most frustrating yoga cues that exist. What does it even mean to “engage” your core? Is there a button to press that magically activates it for you?

All jokes aside, engaging your core is incredibly important for chaturanga. A helpful visual is to press your belly button toward your spine. You should feel your lower core tighten. You could also think of it as scooping in your lower belly.

3. Chaturanga Modifications Exist For A Reason

Beginner yoga students tend to avoid modifications. It’s usually a combination of ego and uncertainty, but props and modifications are an excellent and highly recommended yoga skill.

If you find yourself sinking into your shoulders during a push-up, or if you leave the class feeling sore, consider taking chaturanga from your knees. This is a great option to build strength, give your body a rest, and focus on alignment. You can always mix and match the flow you choose to take, too. Take chaturanga from your knees to start, and then move to a full chaturanga if you’re feeling up to the challenge.

Interested in improving your push-up game and general yoga practice? Sign up for $30 For 30 today at Yoga Pod Denver West!

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