Yoga Poses

7 Steps to Master Chaturanga Dandasana

Yoga teacher Natasha Rizopoulos shares her instructions to achieve this foundational pose. Plus, reap the benefits and avoid these mistakes.

Next in YOGAPEDIA Modifications to help you find safe alignment in Chaturanga >

Chaturanga Dandasana
chaturanga = four limbs · danda = staff · asana = pose
Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Benefit: A foundational pose that teaches you how to find your center and activate your legs in arm balances


1. From Plank Pose, align your shoulders slightly ahead of the wrists and come onto the balls of your feet, pressing the soles of your feet back, as if into a wall behind you.

2. Simultaneously push back through the heels to engage the quadriceps and bring the lower body to life, and reach your sternum forward, creating a straight, taut line of energy from the crown of your head through your feet.

3. On an inhalation, draw the heads of the shoulders and the tops of the thighs up and away from the floor, pull your lower body up and in, and release the tailbone toward the floor.

4. On an exhalation, bend your elbows, keeping them over your wrists and drawn in against your sides. Slowly lower yourself toward the floor, keeping your body as straight as a plank of wood, neither letting your center sag nor sticking your buttocks up in the air.

5. Bring your gaze to the floor, about 6 inches in front of you, and continue to lower until your shoulders are at the same height as your elbows.

6. Continue to reach through the heels, sternum, and crown of the head as you breathe.

7. To come out of the pose, exhale and lower down to your belly or push back up to Plank Pose. Or inhale and come onto the tops of your feet and into Upward-Facing Dog.

Avoid These Mistakes

DON’T stick your buttocks up or let your shoulders collapse any lower than your elbows.


DON’T lose integrity in your core and let your center sag.


Watch the video on YOGAPEDIA

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Want to practice or study with Natasha Rizopoulos in person? Join her at Yoga Journal LIVE New York, April 19-22, 2018—YJ’s big event of the year. We’ve lowered prices, developed intensives for yoga teachers, and curated popular educational tracks: Anatomy, Alignment, & Sequencing; Health & Wellness; and Philosophy & Mindfulness. See what else is new and sign up now!