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Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana

chaturanga chaturanga

(chaht-tour-ANG-ah don-DAHS-anna)
chaturanga = four limbs (chatur = four
anga = limb)
danda = staff (refers to the spine, the central "staff" or support of the body)

Step by Step

Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana, then Plank Pose. Firm your shoulder blades against your back ribs and press your tailbone toward your pubis.

With an exhalation slowly lower your torso and legs to a few inches above and parallel to the floor. There's a tendency in this pose for the lower back to sway toward the floor and the tailbone to poke up toward the ceiling. Throughout your stay in this position, keep the tailbone firmly in place and the legs very active and turned slightly inward. Draw the pubis toward the navel.

Keep the space between the shoulder blades broad. Don't let the elbows splay out to the sides; hold them in by the sides of the torso and push them back toward the heels. Press the bases of the index fingers firmly to the floor. Lift the top of the sternum and your head to look forward.

Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the positions in the Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose individually for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Release with an exhalation. Either lay yourself lightly down onto the floor or push strongly back to Adho Mukha Svanasana, lifting through the top thighs and the tailbone.


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Reader Comments

Kristin

I can relate to rotator cuff issues, and Dr. Loren Fishman has an exercise to do to resolve injury in that area. Also, I learned from him and his yoga therapist a great technique for chaturunga - move from downdog to childs pose, put a block under your head and inhale to plank, pushing forward to the tips of your toes, then lowering to the block, keeping elbows pulled in but forearms perpendicular and not lowering shoulders beneath elbows. Then rise to upward dog (no sinking pelvis or legd to floor) on the inhale, exhale downward dog.

Yogagran

Love the idea of the rolled blanket. Judith Lassiter also suggests the use of a "hammock" created from a strap around the upper arms just above the elbows. This allows the torso to be suspended while one fine tunes other aspects of positioning.

Mary

I also tore my rotator cuff--or finished it off after gardening--doing Chaturanga Dandasana.

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