Lower with love and strength - Chaturanga dandasana
Looking to bring more Boom into your Vinyasa's?
Try lowering into this pose from Phalakasana (Plank)
As a Yoga teacher on the borders of Shropshire I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching my students modifications (shortcuts) in their Yoga practice. Being able to progress their skills,cutting a corner here and there while still flowing seamlessly plus the added bonus of building huge amounts of strength into their sequences is extremely rewarding.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit, Chatur, meaning "four," Anga - "limb," Danda - meaning "staff," and Asana of course "pose." hence it's literal translation; Four Limbed Staff Pose.
As much as I love this pose, its not always necessary for your sun salutation or repetitive Vinyasa's. It's worth building up to Chaturanga with the knees lowered to the ground to build the strength in your core, your arms and your shoulders first to avoid injury.
I've had a year off lowering from Plank into Chaturanga in the name of self care after I incurred elbow pain by doing it too frequently in my classes.
I'm back to it now though with a fired up core and stronger shoulders, also executing the pose with a great deal more love and respect for my body as I go into it.
Your whole core needs to engage to hold your body weight straight and strong, its an amazing feeling when you do it right.
So here's how in straightforward steps:-
From Plank, line your shoulders up slightly forward of your wrists whilst pushing back through the heels and reaching forward with the chest, imagining you're beaming your heart forward.
Breathing in whilst bringing the heads of the shoulders and the tops of the thighs away from the floor at the same time tilt the pelvis as if the tailbone wants to curl toward the floor.
On the out breath.
With your next extended out breath bend your elbows keeping them lined up alongside your body and over your wrists, slowly lower yourself to the floor, keeping your core engaged and your body poker straight.
Send your gaze forwards and continue to lower until your shoulders are the same height as your elbows. Continue reaching through the heels,sternum and crown of head as you breathe in. Hold and hover here for 10 or so seconds then release with an exhale.
From here you can push forward and through into Bhujangasana (Cobra) or lift back up to Plank.
Have fun trying it out, little and often to build the strength without hurting yourself.
You wont find this pose in my Pregnancy Yoga classes, although I see many established pregnant yogis using Chaturanga when you're pregnant I dont see the need. Contact me regarding my Thursday night B class if a more dynamic class is your style .
Photography by Laura Stanley of LauraMayPhotography.com