The Chaturanga Dandasana, also known as Four Limbed Staff Pose, is an intermediate arm balancing yoga pose that build strength in your arms and wrists.
Since it is a challenging asana to hold, it can lead to greater flexibility, determination and focus. It builds patience and discipline.
This popular yoga pose is a major component of Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power Yoga. Chaturanga Dandasana is derived from its Sanskrit name that made from four words — Chatur + Anga + Danda + Asana:
- “Chatur” = “four”
- “Anga” = “limb”
- “Danda” = “Staff”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
The “staff” of this posture refers to the spine – the body’s main support system. When you performed correctly, your body resembles a rod or staff with the spine in a straight line. It is also known as the Low Plank Pose and is often shortened in Chaturanga. An essential element of Surya Namaskar, Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff) is a powerful power-builder and arm balancing yoga pose.
|Also known as:||Chaturanga Dandasana, Four Limbed Staff Pose, Low Plank Pose, Caturanga Dandasana, Four Limbed Stick Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||चतुरङ्ग दण्डासन|
|Type:||Strength, Arm balance, core|
|Total time:||10-30 seconds|
|Drishti:||On the floor;|
|Counterposes:||Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), Balasana (Child’s Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)|
|Preparatory poses:||Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Knees-Chest-Chin Pose (Ashtanga Namaskara), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), High Push-Up Pose, Dolphin Pose (Half Feathered Peacock Pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)|
|Follow-up poses:||Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Warrior Poses (Virabhadrasana I, II, and III), Arm Balances (such as Bakasana or Crow Pose)|
|Indications:||Posture, balance, tension, anxiety, depression|
|Contraindications:||Pregnancy, carpal tunnel syndrome|
Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) is one of those poses, which clearly pays more attention to physical and mental benefits, which are given below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Energizes the body
- Strengthens the legs, buttocks, back, abdominals, shoulders, arms, and wrists
- Builds core strength
- Improves circulation and digestion
- Helps relieve minor tendonitis and fatigue
- Mental Benefits:
- Develops focus
- Improves concentration
Step by step Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
- Begin in Adho Mukha Svanasana. Stand on the hands and knees with your shoulders directly above the hands and your hips above the knees. Press the hips straight up until both legs and arms are straight. Let the neck continue the straight line of your back from hips to head, and breathe deeply and slowly.
- Transition into a plank pose. Tense the shoulder blades across the back of your ribs and move your tailbone toward the pubis.
- Exhale and gently lower the body, followed by your legs, to a couple of inches above the ground, ensuring that they are both parallel. Avoid allowing the tailbone to point upward but ensure that the legs are turned slightly inward. Pull the pubis toward the belly button.
- Keeping the shoulder blades broad, squeeze the elbows in place and. Push the bottoms of the pointer fingers into the ground. Raise the breastbone and gaze ahead.
- Stay in this position for 10-30 seconds. Exhale and slowly lower the body to the ground until you are lying face down.
Anatomy Engaging Tips and Tricks
Press your mounds at the base of the index fingers into the mat by engaging your pronator teres and quadratus muscles to pronate the forearms. This activates the arches of your palms. Contract your triceps to attempt to straighten your elbows and lift your chest from the floor. Then draw your shoulder blades toward the midline of the spine and away from your neck using the rhomboids and lower third of the trapezius, respectively.
Activate your quadriceps to straighten your knees. Visualize your tensor fascia lata synergizing this action. With the feet fixed on the mat, engage your adductor magnus by attempting to draw your legs toward one another. It aids to extend your femurs and helps to lift your knees. Visualize your gluteus minimus stabilizing the ball of your hip in the socket in this neutral position.
Engage your pectoralis major and serratus anterior to lift your chest off the floor. Your serratus anterior draws the scapulae around your chest. Contract your anterior deltoids to draw your arms forward. A cue for this is to attempt to drag your hands forward on the mat.
Lifting your knees and your chest off the floor creates a concave curve throughout the body, with the apex at your pelvis. Turn this curve into a straight line by activating your psoas and its synergists; this flexes your hips and lifts them off the floor. At the same time, grip your rectus abdominis to stabilize your pelvis in the air. Remember that contracting your abdominal muscles raises intra-abdominal pressure, making it harder for your diaphragm to flatten and draw air into the lungs. Counter it by breathing deeply.
Avoid over-flexing your pelvis by contracting the erector spinae to maintain your back in a plank position. Co-activate your buttocks and your psoas to stabilize your pelvis in place. Tilt your pelvis back and down by engaging your gluteus maximus and hamstring muscles. This synergizes the pull of your rectus abdominis on the front of your pelvis.
Attempt to scrub the mat forward with your hands. This activates your biceps and brachialis muscles and stabilizes your elbows. Your anterior deltoids synergize this action, as described in Step-3. Then attempt to press your toes backwards on the mat, as if coming out of a starting block. This shifts the weight towards your hands, while your hands resist and press the weight backwards towards your feet. In this way, co-activation of your elbow and ankle flexors combines with the actions of the other muscles described to support the “suspension bridge” across the front of your body.
Modifying Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
1. Using yoga blocks
- Do the Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) with the help of blocks.
- You can place two blocks under the shoulders to maintain your level.
- You can also place a block under the sternum or abdomen to keep the body parallel to the floor.
2. Using bolster
- Bolsters can also be used to support your upper body.
- Keep it vertically below you from your chest to your stomach.
3. Using yoga strap
- Use a yoga strap by making a loop with width equal to the shoulders.
- Draw the arms between the loops and bring the loop up to your elbows.
- The yoga strap ensures that the hands remain below the shoulder.
1. Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff) Variation
- Start from the plank position and bend the knees to the ground before coming down.
- Now, raise the heel towards the ceiling.
- Bring the shoulders to the level of the elbow, which keeps your upper arms perpendicular to the front.
- Maintain this posture.
2. Double chaturanga
- It starts with a high plank pose and then pressing your palms to the floor brings the shoulders to the level of the elbow.
- Then, come to the high plank pose and press your palms again to bring the shoulders to the level of your elbow.
3. Three legged chaturanga
- After attaining a high plank pose, raise one of your feet up, lifting the toes off the floor.
- Now bend your both elbows 90 °.
- This forms one of the various forms of Four-Limbed Staff Pose.
4. Knee-to-arm chaturanga
- Get into the Plank Pose and raise your right toes while bending your knee slightly.
- Now bend and bring your knee to the upper right hand.
- Then bend the elbows to 90 ° and lower your shoulders from the elbows.
5. Chaturanga dandasana feet against a wall
- In this variation, the pose is held standing in front of the wall.
- Bend your elbow at 90 °, pointing your fingers upward in front of the ribs.
- Bring the hands forward to the wall and start leaning forward against the wall, similar to triceps pushups.
There are some contraindications and precautions keep in mind during practice of this yoga pose:
- An individual should not practice this yoga pose in any kind of wrist, shoulder or back injury.
- Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome will make it worse if Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) is practiced.
- On the other hand, with well-instructed by an experienced teacher/instructor, student can go slow on this pose with carpal tunnel syndrome. Individual with a weak back should walk step by step with this yoga posture and look for any sign from the body while practicing this yoga pose.
- Maintain posture with correct alignment of body. Keep a 90-degree angle between the upper arms and forearms.
- Close the posture if there is any discomfort in your shoulder or spine.
- Avoid practice this yoga asana during the later months of pregnancy.