The Chaturanga Dandasana or four-limbed staff is a primary pose that you should regularly come across. You will fully utilise your arms and legs, and it can be pretty tricky to get right. It’s the yoga version of a push-up/plank, which requires balance, control, stability and strength. Even advanced students can find it difficult. It is however a great way to build strength!
Sanskrit Name: Chaturanga Dandasana Chaturanga: four limbs Danda: staff Asana: Pose
How to do:
Many beginners will find this pose a struggle, but your mind and body will strengthen over time. It’s best to fix any issues you might be having at the get-go, or you may develop an injury through repeating the pose incorrectly. Alignment is a fundamental part of this pose, so it should be considered as you’re going through it.
You should know your limitations before entering into this pose. There’s no denying that you will need strength in your arms, shoulders and core. Don’t let that put you off, because as with all yoga poses, there’s always room for modifications.
If you feel you’re having difficulties holding this pose, you can use your knees to lessen the pressure. Drop them to the ground for a few beats and then try again. Don’t push yourself to be perfect straight away.
In the beginning, it’s a good idea to practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. If you’re able to visualise where your arms are positioned at the moment, it will give you an idea of how long you’ll need before reaching a full 90-degree angle. You can then use this as a reference for the future.
If you want to get a feel for Chaturanga Dandasana before attempting it on the ground, you can use the wall as a prop. Try the pose upright to get an idea of the ideal positioning of the arms and shoulders.
When correctly executed, this pose will help to strengthen the abdomen, arms and wrists. If you have chronic back pain, it can assist in strengthening your spinal muscles. The pose can help with constipation and correct poor posture.
Chaturanga Dandasana is ambitious and requires great core strength. It’s important to note that if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you should avoid this pose. Due to its dependence on the arms and shoulders, if you have any existing injuries in these areas, including the wrists, you shouldn’t try it.