Chaturanga Dandasana, or Four-Limbed Staff Pose, is one of the most-renowned Ashtanga postures. The name derives from the Sanskrit words, Chatur, which means “four”, Anga, which means “limb”, Danda, which means “staff”, and Asana, which means “pose”. To practice Chaturanga Dandasana, you must first learn Kumbhakasana or Plank Pose. Once you can practice this comfortably, you’re ready to move onto Chaturanga. If you’re wondering how to do Chaturanga Dandasana, put on your yoga pants and keep reading.
If you’re new to yoga, Chaturanga Dandasana may be difficult to perform. Thankfully, the posture will become easier when your arms, back, and legs are strong enough to support you. To increase strength in these areas, practice Plank Pose daily. When you feel comfortable in this asana, it’s time to take things up a notch. Resume Plank position and begin to lower your knees to the floor. With an exhalation, lower your chest to within an inch or two above the mat. Remain in this position for as long as possible to build strength in the arms, back, and legs. After a few weeks, you should be ready to move onto Chaturanga Dandasana.
If you’re finding Chaturanga Dandasana tricky, don’t panic! Even experienced students struggle with this challenging pose. To make things easier, place a thickly rolled blanket underneath you before getting into Plank Pose. With the blanket parallel to your spine, lowering yourself onto it for support. For best results, use the support minimally; rest your body on it just enough to keep yourself in the position.
If you’re struggling with Chaturanga, you may prefer a modified version. You can get a feel for the asana by practicing it standing upright. To do this, stand facing a wall with just a few inches of space in-between. Press your hands against the wall, slightly below the height of your shoulders. To engage your muscles, imagine you’re trying to push yourself away from the wall, but the firmness of your shoulder blades is preventing any movement. Finally, extend your spine by reaching the top of your head towards the ceiling and drawing your tailbone towards the floor.
If you’re finding Chaturanga Dandasana tricky, practicing with a partner can also be helpful. A partner can help you to anchor your pelvis in the pose before lengthening the spine. To do this, perform Chaturanga, using a blanket for support if needed. Next, ask your partner to straddle your waist and squeeze the top of your pelvis with his/her lower legs. Your partner should then pull your pelvis back slightly towards your feet whilst you draw your upper body in the opposite direction.
Chaturanga Dandasana has a range of great benefits including stronger arm, shoulder, abdominal and back muscles. It can also increase strength and flexibility in the wrists and tone the abdominal organs.
To practice Chaturanga Dandasana correctly you’ll need strength, coordination, and whole body alignment. With this in mind, the posture can help yogis learn how to balance effort and surrender in the pose. Seeking this balance can teach focus and concentration, or Dharana.
Chaturanga can also help yogis connect with their inner energy and strength. Although the pose may challenge students who lack self-belief, it can help them to overcome negative self-perceptions as they learn how to practice the asana correctly. Additionally, the posture is thought to stimulate the Manipura chakra, the energy center associated with confidence and self-esteem.
Although Chaturanga Dandasana is a challenging posture, the benefits make it all worthwhile. For best results, put on your yoga bra and practice Chaturanga every day. After just a few weeks, your arms, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles should feel stronger, and the overall asana should become easier to practice.