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Know your Chaturanga

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

Those who practice Vinyasa will understand what I mean. Yes, Chaturanga Dandasana is a pose in which most of us transit through a lot of difficulties.

The perfect alignment is a long time goal for many students. So here I have a few tips that can help us improve our Chaturanga.

Let’s understand the practice of Chaturanga

1. Stabilize the Shoulder Joints:

There are indeed four different joints at our shoulders and the most preferred one is the gleno-humeral joint. This is where the humerus meets the shoulder griddle.

Since it is a joint that can be mobilized easily, it becomes very tricky when we have to use it for weight-bearing positions like chaturanga Dandasana. Since the glenoid cavity is four times smaller than the head of the humerus bone, it is just a small portion of the humerus sits in the glenoid cavity.

2. Shift the weight forward:

As we notice a beginner practising this pose, we can always see that the elbow is far behind the wrist line. This is because they think of chaturanga as a simple plank and try to hold the body against gravity. What if I said that it is completely damaging to do so?

Yes, the wrist becomes the first victim when you just think of being parallel to the floor and not aligning the elbows exactly above the wrist.

To align the elbows exactly above the wrist, we have to focus on shifting the weight forward in space by gently pressing the ball on our feet and scrolling the body forward as we transit into this pose.

3. Direct your Elbows:

Another huge mistake we do is to wing away from the elbows or to tuck them under the core while making an effort to hold the pose. By doing so we risk our wrists or we disengage our core and end up resting the torso on the elbows. The ideal position is to direct your elbows exactly behind you and align your forearm perfectly perpendicular to the floor.

4. Direct your Shoulders:

Most of the time, those who are weak in their arms, end up pointing the front of the shoulders down. Anatomically speaking we end up with a medial rotation at the shoulder joints.

Positioning the front of our shoulders facing straight forward is possible only when we retract our shoulder blades by engaging our rhomboids major and minor.

By doing so we end up having a wonderful lateral rotation at the shoulder joint and the shoulders directed exactly to face forward.

5. 90o? It’s ok :

If we find it difficult to get a 90 degree at our elbow joints, then it is ok to face our shoulders diagonally up rather than directing it straight forward. Anything less than 90 degrees will land us in collapsing the collar bones. So focus on widening the chest and broadening the collar bones.

Make an effort to follow these tips friends and soon you will find yourself floating in Chaturanga.

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