What on earth is a chaturanga I hear you cry.
Good question! Even if you dabble in yoga you may never have heard of it.
Chaturanga Dandasana (to give it it’s full name) is a sanskrit word, which translates directly to four-limbed staff pose.
It is that thing you flow past on your way between downward dog, and cobra…. didn’t catch it?
There it is again in your Sun Salutation….numerous times!
Okay let’s break it down. Chaturanga is the yoga plank or push up. It occurs many times throughout asana flows, but it is not easy…and that is why people (me included) often skip straight past it, get to over with as quickly as possible and don’t stop to think about alignment, positioning and breathing.
Most of the time it is over in a matter of moments, and you can go ahead and busy your mind with the next pose. I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t overlook this pose! It deserves some respect 😉 Here’s why….
It is a foundational pose that is found in many flow sequences . It helps practitioners to find their centre, to activate the legs in arm poses and is a fantastic preparation for inversions and arm balances.
The pose requires significant strength in the arms, shoulders and abdominal muscles. It is for this reason that half-hearted chaturangas are not acceptable…because they could actually cause harm.
As Jillian Turecki, Senior Yoga Instructor at Kula Yoga Project in New York City says;
It’s a problem I see across the board from beginners to seasoned practitioners, and you can develop really bad habits that lead to injury.
Repeating a pose again and again over time can result in injuries – and this is one pose that you will be repeating! Overtaxing the joints, particularly the muscle can cause real damage to your ball and socket joints.
When performing this pose incorrectly, Dr. Adam Cohen, Associate Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital Systems, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist says:
You’re putting more stress on all the soft tissue in your shoulder. This can compress your shoulder joint and can cause impingement syndrome, a common shoulder injury, and even rotator cuff damage.
Seriously, you don’t want that!
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