Most often referred to as chaturanga, four-limbed staff pose or chaturanga dandasana is sure to show up in most yoga classes. Chaturanga dandasana is a part of a series of poses called surya namaskar (sun salutation) and is the foundational pose to learn alignment and build strength for arm balances!
Builds arm, wrist, back, and abdominal strength.
- Start in plank pose. Hands slightly wider than the shoulders with fingers pointed forward or slightly turned out.
- Lengthen your tailbone toward the back of your knees as you draw the public bone towards the navel.
- Make sure to distribute the weight in your hands evenly between the base of the index finger knuckle and the heel of the palms.
- Inhale, press forward from the toes to shift your shoulders slightly ahead of your wrists.
- Exhale, bend in your elbows to a 90 degree bend. Shoulders inline with elbows and elbows above your wrists.
- Upper arms are parallel to the floor, hugging the elbows into the ribcage as you extend the breast bone forward.
- Keep your gaze towards the mat and just ahead of you.
- Hold and breath, working up to 5 breaths.
- Exhale release all the way to the belly or push back to Downward Dog.
Practice standing facing a wall with hands on the wall to learn the arm position. When you are ready begin in a plank with bent knees on the mat. Practice with knees on the mat until you can hold for 5 breaths, without the shoulders dropping below the elbows, before exploring lifting the knees.