Yoga Pose of the Month- January 2013-Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana- Four Limbed Staff Pose
For many yoga practitioners, Chaturanga can become a quick stop on the way to Downward Facing Dog. While this pose is often used as a transition pose, it is important to keep the integrity of the pose in the process. When done correctly, Chaturanga builds strength in the upper body, wrists, and core. Chaturanga also builds the foundation for many arm balances. However, when done improperly, Chaturanga can compress the shoulder girdle and the lower back. By taking the time to learn proper alignment, this pose can become an important strength building portion of your yoga practice.
Starting in plank pose, come on to your tiptoes to shift your shoulders an inch or so past your wrists. Before lowering down, draw the belly towards the spine and point the tailbone towards the heels. Keeping this action in the lower body and the legs active, begin to lower down. Keep the elbows hugging in to the sides of the torso. When lowering down, don’t allow the shoulders to dip below the elbows. Keeping the 90 degree angle in the arms with the elbows over the wrists and the shoulders in line with the elbows will protect the shoulders.
To modify the pose, come to your knees before lowering down to Chaturanga. This will allow you to build strength without supporting the entire weight of the body.
As always, breathe and have fun. Building body awareness by taking Chaturanga slowly will improve your yoga practice and translate to the climbing wall.