POSE: CHATURANGA DANDASANA (FOUR-LIMBED STAFF POSE)
Chaturanga means four limbs. Danda means staff, referring to the spine. This pose is a dynamic core building pose that requires all your focus, intent and will power to maintain accurately!
Start from the Plank pose (upper push-up). The feet must be flexed so that the toes are forward of the heels. This lifts the knees & helps get proper extension through the heels.Lower half way down into Chaturanga dandasana. The elbows should touch the body, not splay out lifting the inner palms, as this is dangerous for the wrist. Also, keep the body just as it was in plank, no lifting the hips, dumping the low back or head as you travel up & down, into and out of Chaturanga dandasana.Once you are in the pose,
The elbows should be directly over the wrists touching the body and square with the shoulders.The hands should be fully touching the mat at all times. Beginning students often let their fingers curl up away from the floor & buckle. This is bad foundation and will make the pose suffer because of the disconnect in your base. Imagine the foundation of a tall building. Now imagine your hands are the foundation of the building. Now imagine if like your fingers coming up off the floor in a pose, the building was to remove some of its foundation. Now how safe would the building be like this? The same is true of all your poses where your hands touch the ground!Exhale down, inhale up
You can put your knees down & bend them so your feet are close to your butt, starting in plank.
Note: If knees are chosen down, you must ensure that your shoulders start above your wrist and that your elbows stay above your wrist as you travel up and down. Often times students will take their shoulders past the elbows on the way down or up. This can cause shoulder injuries and often does to those who do lots of flo Yoga or vinyasa. Care must be given to the shoulders and wrist as a first priority in this pose. Secondary will be the head staying square with shoulders as you travel and finally keeping the belly in so that the low back doesn't collapse.
This pose is a key pose to preparing for downward facing dog which we will cover in future segments.
I hope this helps your practice be more aligned, more powerful, & more Graceful.
Brian Bales offers power yoga training in Bellevue www.b1Yoga.com