Chaturanga Dandasana, or “Four Limbed Staff Pose” (that’s the English name, but nobody calls it that) is widely known as the “Yoga push-up”. Chaturanga is a staple of the Sun Salutation, but is also widely used throughout all types of yoga flows & practices. Chaturanga is different from the traditional push up in elbow placement & speed, but provides many of the same benefits.
- Increases strength & flexibility of the wrists
- Builds strength in the arms, chest, back, and abdomen
- Teaches the body control, endurance, and stability
Chaturanga: How To
- Begin in a strong plank position, with hands on the floor directly under the shoulders
- Keeping the elbows close to the body, slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle
- As you lower yourself down, your chest should be “open” and moving forward (this is how your hands go from directly underneath the shoulders to midway down your torso without re-positioning. Your chest comes forward).
- Keep the head neutral, with your gaze directed forward
- Exit Chaturanga by either transitioning into Upward Dog, or pushing yourself straight up back into plank.
If you learn better through video, check out this Yoga Basics program with Patrick Beach. Yoga Basics is a set of video tutorials made for people who want to try yoga, but are too scared to go to a studio first.
If you cannot yet perform a full Chaturanga without letting your form suffer, then begin with Half-Chaturanga. Begin in a modified plank, with your knees on the ground, and perform Chaturanga keeping your knees on the ground.
If you are looking for an extra challenge, keep one leg suspended off the ground as you perform Chaturanga. Make sure that if you are doing Three-Limbed Chaturanga, you practice on both sides evenly.