This is a pose that I see so much misalignment in as an instructor. Chaturanga dandasana is a crucial element of practice for anyone who enjoys vinyasa yoga or wants to eventually achieve arm balances. Misaligned chaturanga can lead to shoulder strain and rotator cuff injuries as well as neck pain and low back pain. So it is important to do this asana properly. follow these 5 steps to master your chaturanga dandasana.
1) Starting in plank pose, make your body parallel to the mat. The shoulders should be stacked right on top of the wrists. The head is an extension of your long spine.
2) Engage the quadriceps by gluing the thigh muscles to their bones. Keep the body actively engaged by pressing the heels back toward an imaginary wall and the chest forward into space in front of you.
3) Push the ground away from you and slightly round the shoulders to turn on the shoulder girdle. The biceps will rotate in toward each other. The eyes of the elbows will face out.
4) Engage the bandhas! Mula bandha: lift your pelvic floor. Imagine there is a shelf between your legs. Lift that shelf toward the belly and the back. Uddiyana bandha: Scoop the belly button in and up in a J motion. Jalandara bandha: keep the back of the neck long. Tuck in the chin slightly. note: if your are having trouble keeping the hips lifted here and the back is starting to banana place the knees on the ground.
5) On an exhale bend the elbows. Keep everything engaged and active. The arms should come to a 90 degree angle. Hug the biceps in toward the body. Make sure the shoulder heads NEVER drop below the elbows this is crucial to ensuring safety and symmetry in the shoulder joint.
See if you can hold this pose for 1 breath, 3 breaths, 5 breaths… Keeping the bandhas working and the shoulders moving away from the ears. Once you can hold this asana for a few breaths comfortably, see if you can push back up to plank.
Can you do chaturanga pushups ??
Tag anyone who can benefit from improving their alignment in chaturanga dandasana! Happy shoulders and happy practice yogis!
Lead teacher and founder of Yoga Academy International, Lauren is a globally celebrated yoga instructor. She has been teaching yoga for nearly a decade and comes from a variety of lineages and traditions. Lauren’s appetite for yoga and travel are insatiable. She continues to study with world-class instructors whenever possible, all the while leading her own yoga retreats and workshops. Lauren has solid roots in Hatha yoga with continued studies in Vinyasa flow, Anusara, Ashtanga, Restorative and Yin Yoga. She is inspired by teachers who tell stories. She has studied under Seane Corn, Chris Chavez, MC Yogi, Susan Cohen, Nancy Goodfellow and many others. Lauren is passionate about sharing yoga from an authentic and soulful point of view. She believes that yoga practice can help uncover the veils that hide us from achieving our full potential.