Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Catherine Tingey0
FOUR LIMBED STAFF POSE (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Considered one of the most difficult yoga postures and an essential component of the sun salute, this pose is also one of the most commonly misaligned. Over time, misalignments can cause injuries in the shoulder girdle and wrists, so Chaturanga is one pose you really want to get right.
To get a feel of the proper pose, slide a looped strap (I like the Unbleached Cotton 8’ Strap by Manduka) around your arms, just above your elbows.
Tighten it so the strap is taut when the elbows are shoulder-width apart.
In STANDING FORWARD BEND (Uttanasana), bend the knees and plant the palms on the mat, shoulder-width apart, fingers spread, rooting evenly through the hand.
Step one foot back, then the other into PLANK POSE .
Shift forward onto the toes, moving the shoulders away from the ears (and down toward the tailbone) as you do a slight pelvic tilt. You should feel the shoulder blades wrapping down the back ribs. This engages the entire shoulder girdle.
Lower halfway so the elbows do not exceed 90 degrees. If you have come forward enough onto your toes, your breasts should clear the strap and you will feel your torso supported by the strap, like a ‘hammock.’
The body is now in the shape of a level plank, supported by the braces of the 90 degree arms. You can begin to refine the pose by making sure the below three things have not occurred.
Make sure you do not ‘turtle’ the neck or ‘scrunch’ the shoulders up the ears, shortening the neck.
Do not drop the pelvis creating a ‘sway’ back.
Do not lower the shoulders below the elbows.