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. 

How to:

  1. Start in plank pose. Hands slightly wider than the shoulders with fingers pointed forward or slightly turned out. 
  2. Lengthen your tailbone toward the back of your knees as you draw the public bone towards the navel.
  3. Make sure to distribute the weight in your hands evenly between the base of the index finger knuckle and the heel of the palms.
  4. Inhale, press forward from the toes to shift your shoulders slightly ahead of your wrists.
  5. Exhale, bend in your elbows to a 90 degree bend. Shoulders inline with elbows and elbows above your wrists. 
  6. Upper arms are parallel to the floor, hugging the elbows into the ribcage as you extend the breast bone forward. 
  7. Keep your gaze towards the mat and just ahead of you.
  8. Hold and breath, working up to 5 breaths.
  9. 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.