“It doesn’t matter how deep into a posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there” – Max Strom
Let’s face it, we all have a nemesis pose in Yoga, and for a lot of practitioners it can be Chaturanga Dandasana. This pose is super challenging to get right. But when the alignment is all there it gives us strength in our legs, core, shoulders arms and wrists. We can find stability and support from within and start to get real good support with our Mula Bandhas (root lock – or pelvic floor).
If you are pregnant, suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome or are suffering from a shoulder injury that you believe could be aggravated by this strong pose, we would advise sitting this pose out.
Phalakasana – Plank Pose
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Up Dog
Step by Step Guide
Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog) and float forwards into your plank. In plank get yourself nice and strong. Lengthen away through the heels behind. Draw in with your mula bandha and your lower abdominals to create support for your lower back, this will help you feel as if you get length in the low part of your spine. Have great hand function to the floor, pressing into the four corners of your palms and spreading your fingers wide. From here you can lengthen the crown of the head forwards and make sure your shoulders aren’t bunched up towards your ears.
If you’re a beginner to yoga and feel you need to build up strength you can practice the rest of this pose with your knees landed on the floor. Draw your shoulders forwards so they’re just a little ahead of the wrists and start to bend your elbows to lower your shoulders down. You can either go down by a couple of inches or as far as to bring your shoulders in line with your elbows. You don’t have to go too low down with your shoulders, just try to keep your elbows directly above your wrists.
Throughout this process you want to keep your elbows held in to your sides, try not to let them splay out to the sides. Try to keep your upper back broad. Keep pressing through the four corners of your palms, especially the index finger side. Hold this for up to 6 rounds of deep breath.
To come out of this pose you can exhale to land your body to the floor below, or land the knees to come to all fours position, or lift yourself back up to plank.
Chaturanga Dandasana is part of the Sun Salutation sequences in Vinyasa style Yoga. If you are new to Yoga you may want to practice this with knees landed on the floor in order to build strength in your core, arms and shoulders before trying the full pose.