It’s one of those poses that look quite straight-forward as a beginner (until you try and do it properly, obvs ?).
If you’ve ever done a yoga class, the chances are very high that you’ve performed some kind of Sun Salutation, of which the Chaturanga Dandasana is an integral part. Some people make the mistake of viewing this as a purely transitional pose, but there is value in appreciating the breath and muscle control needed to perform it. Don’t rush though, enjoy the effort it takes (no, really, it can be done!), breathe out from the top of your plank all the way down to the hover above the floor, and then (if you’re doing a Sun Salutation) you can either stay there for a bit or scoop up into the Upward Dog Pose.
What we’re aiming for is a lovely straight back at the top of the plank position, and then tight core as we lower down, arms pinned in to the sides and a nice controlled descent until the body is a couple of inches off the floor. Then……hold it……!
To do this pose smoothly requires a certain amount of particular upper body strength and a controlled core – not necessarily what you’ll have if you’re a beginner! Don’t let this put you off though; there are a few variations you can do to help you build up the necessary strength.
If you’re a little more advanced, you can try any number of fun and challenging variations.
The translation of Chaturanga Dandasana is “4 limbed staff pose” and we’re aiming to get a perfect balance between our arms and legs; the left and right of our bodies; the in and the out of the breath; and the balance between holding our bodies in space while connecting to the ground.
My top tip (as for pretty much every other pose that I’ll talk to you about…) is “shoulder blades back and down!”
How many times have my clients/classes heard me say this?! Honestly, it’ll change your practice if you can get to grips with this. We all tend to hunch when we’re putting physical effort in, and I want you to remember to push those shoulder blades back and down, open out the front of the body, and extend the spine – this is a tough pose when done properly, but don’t forget, I’m always available for questions, help and advice, as well as general chat and discussion – give me a shout if you’re having any trouble with the fantastic Chaturanga!