CHATURANGA DANDASANA commonly referred to as plank but more accurately translated as the four-limbed- stick pose because the body is poker straight while supported on the hands and feet.
In addition to the physical body work of the previous poses in our pose of the month series, we now ask more of the arms in connecting them with the shoulders, and the legs in engaging the tailbone (sacrum).
Stage 1 How to go into Chaturanga Dandasana for the first time
With motion from Adho Mukha Svanasana (AMS) i.e. don’t stay in Chaturanga but ‘touch and go’.
Start in AMS ensuring strong leg extension, as in TADASANA and feel you can make the back thighs broad from inside out.
Open hands well and press down to feel a firmness in the forearms, lift from wrists to lengthen the upper arms and feel shoulders blades connect to back ribs.
Maintain this and bend the elbows lowering the whole body towards the floor until pelvis and chest are horizontal, return to AMS or if you find yourself on the floor come onto all 4’s to return to AMS
Please note : While learning this pose alignment can be found by practicing to hover over a bolster for thighs and chest 1a or slightly more challenging thighs only 1b. (see below)
Stage 2 Staying in Chaturanga Dandasana
As above plus now learn to stay in the pose breathing normally for 3 cycles of breath to start with, building up to 10+
Stage 3 Coming up into Chaturanga Dandasana from the floor
From lying on your tummy on the floor.
Position and prepare hands and feet as above but also consider elemental energy: by optimising these 4 points of contact with the ground (earth-pritvhi element) to gain extension for the whole spine by engaging the tailbone.
Now lift up from the floor, stay initially for 3 cycles of breath building up your capacity over time.
There is always the option to progress your practice with bolster on back thighs!
Chaturanga dandasana strengthens the joints and muscles of the upper and lower extremities.
Any questions you may have in practising this please ask to your teacher.