Chaturanga is a cornerstone pose of yoga, and many variations can be applied to fit your level of practice. But before you start altering this asana (pose), it is important to know the basics and the proper way to move through this asana, as it is often linked within the flow of other poses.
Chaturanga offers many benefits to the practitioner of yoga, such as:
- Strength to the arms, including that of the wrists
- Helps with the alignment of the spine
- Improves your sense of balance
- Tightens the abdominal muscles
If you are newer to yoga, you will likely hear a few phrases that your instructor will speak to the class that will accompany this move, so it is important to know what it is required of you to do. Chaturanga is a pose that often follows Downward Dog, and is also included within the Vinyasa that the teacher will have you do. It is a transitional pose and so can often be overlooked as not being that important.
The best way to understand the positioning of this pose is to practice it on its own in a step-by-step manner in order to better understand how to incorporate it within the flow of your Vinyasa.
Where To Start?
High Plank is a great place to start as it teaches you how to stack your body parts properly. Your shoulders are to be stacked above your wrists, and your core is to be engaged. Your legs are elongated and strong, while your feet are on the pads of your toes.
The next step is to prepare yourself to move forward and in a downward motion at the same time. Make sure that your elbows are tight by the sides of your abdomen, shift your weight forward so that you are now more on the tips of your toes. Your shoulders are now past your wrists and are no longer stacked.
Making sure to keep your arms tight against your body, slowly lower your whole body towards the ground. Your core muscles should still be engaged and remember to breathe. You will stop when your shoulders are now aligned with your elbows, and your arms are in the shape of an “L.” Once you have reached this position, you will pause and hold it. Continue to engage your core and keep your gaze slightly ahead of you.
After The Pose
If you are continuing with your practice, you can push back up to Upper Plank and proceed through the process again. If you need a break, you can lower down to the mat and move back into Child’s Pose to catch your breath and allow your muscles a chance to rest. If you are continuing with your Vinyasa, you can move into Baby Cobra or Cobra, and then move back into Downward Dog.
Chaturanga is practiced many times throughout a Vinyasa Flow, and it is important to understand all the elements that go into it. Once you feel confident, you can push your limits further by adding an extra push up following the pose before you move into Cobra. You will realize you have the proper alignment down when it starts to feel more attainable, and you may be able to stay in the position for longer than before. Keep at it, and you will find your power within.