This is one of my favorite shapes.
I love how contained and strong the body feels in this asana – as if I could carry the whole word on my back (or at least a cute puppy…)!
Another major component of our sun salutations, we come upon Chaturanga Dandasana aka Four-Legged Staff Pose or Low Plank in most yoga classes and it is crucial to perform this asana well-aligned to keep our body healthy and our practuce sustainable. Be where you are and take joy in building the strength it takes to lower your plank with control and ease.
How to get into the pose:
- From Plank Pose, shift your shoulders a few inches forward of your wrists. Push the floor away by pressing down evenly through the base of each finger.
- Reach your heels back and firm the legs by lifting your kneecaps and pressing the tops of your thighs up. Draw your belly in and up to support your spine.
- On an exhalation, draw the elbows in as you lower down to Chaturanga Dandasana. Make sure that your elbows are stacked above your wrists and your shoulderheads aligned with your elbows (don`t dip your shoulders!).
- Reach your sternum forward and your tailbone back towards the space between your heels.
- Keep the gaze slightly forward and the neck aligned with your spine.
Key actions while you are in the pose:
- Press the shoulder blades into the chest and broaden through the collarbones as you draw the front ribs towards the back ribs.
- Release the shoulder blades down the back and the upper trapezius muscle away from the ears.
- Firm the side hips in and lift the pit of the abdomen.
- Lift your inner thighs towards the ceiling and firm your outer thighs.
- Lengthen from the pubis to the navel to the sternum as you lengthen the buttocks towards the heels.
- Firm the inner and outer arches of your feet and reach back through the heels.
- If you find your belly collapsing or your elbows splaying out, place your knees on the ground and practice lowering into Chaturanga Dandasana with the support of your knees while you work on the integrity of your upper body and core.