Chaturanga, probably the only Yoga pose known only by its Sanskrit name, has the meaning of “Four-limbed sfaff”. It is one of the fundamental poses of Sun Salutation and of the Vinyasa Cycle, which is why it can be executed dozens of times during a Yoga lesson.
Chaturanga Dandasana represents the connection between Downward facing and Upward facing Dog: from the first, bring your forward and pelvis down going into Plank pose, where the body lays on a straight line, from head to heels. Now, bend your elbows and lower down into Chaturanga.
When lowering from Plank pose to Chaturanga, it is very important to check that your elbows are narrow, very close to your body and in line with shoulders, which stay low, far from the ears. Bend until your elbows create a 90° angle. If you are executing correctly, your hands must be at the same level of your lower ribs.
Attention: legs should be straight, but if you are a beginner or don’t feel strong enough, place your knees on the ground: now your body must lay on a straight line from head o knees: this precaution will prevent undesired injuries!
It is very important to avoid two types of potentially damaging errors due to body misalignments:
- Avoid lifting the pelvis up, which would transfer a great part of your bodyweight on your shoulders. This may cause shoulder tensions, elbow tendonitis or strained muscles in the upper arm, shoulder, or chest.
- Avoid letting your pelvis fall towards the ground, which would be detrimental for your lower back!
Engage your core and think of your body as a stick laying only on your feet and hands: the four-limbed staff!
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
On the physical level, Chaturanga is a great asana to strengthen the upper body: shoulders, arms -especially triceps, and the core.
On the emotional level, it helps alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and stress, and feeling more balanced and resistant.
With respect to the energetic body, this asana acts at the level of the third Chakra, Manipura, located in the area above the navel, which activation helps calming emotions and releasing tensions, while also increasing self-confidence and will power.