Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chaturanga: seriously, you can do it.

This article was originally posted on TheKnow on Oct 25, 2013, in an edited format.


Chaturanga dandasana is the asana of the week! Wild applause! Last week, downward-facing dog.

I see you cringing over there, in the blue shirt. Never fear, brave yogi, you're definitely in the majority. For the most part, the students I encounter seem to either A.) have their chaturangas totally nailed or B.) they're powering through each one mega-awkwardly because chaturanga makes zero sense to them whatsoever and fear of the thing is literally making them sweat. I see very little in-between.

It's definitely a tricky one - I think we've all been there. I actually had this sweet old lady instructor once at a fancy not-to-be-named gym yoga class who STOPPED THE WHOLE CLASS to come over to me and ask me what I was doing (um, chaturanga, natch) and fix me in front of everyone (what?!) and I STILL didn't really understand what was going on with chaturanga until I got to that section of my teacher training, three years later.

If you're banging out chaturangas left and right, then carry on, good Sir or Madam, and may hasta banda be with you. If you're in the second bucket, more of a 'what in the actual name of Ganesh is this pose supposed to be' bucket, then buckle up and get ready to join group A. Not only does chaturanga no longer make me want to cry, but now it's one of my all-time faves. Getting this one into a more solid place will change your whole vinyasa experience*, I swear it. Plus, triceps!

In Sanskrit (respect!): Chaturanga Dandasana
Pronunciation: chah-tuhr-UNG-gah dahn-DAH-sah-nah

Catur, meaning four
Anga, meaning limb
Danda, meaning staff
Asana, meaning pose, posture, seat

Chaturanga dandasana translates to four-legged staff pose, with the 'staff' portion referring to the spine. Sometime also called a low plank (versus a high plank - arms straight).

Typically follows: plank, ardha uttanasana (half-forward bend / flat back)

Why this pose?
Chaturanga dandasana is an essential piece of the vinyasa flow puzzle - you'll move through this pose many times in each and every class. It's a strenuous, cleansing pose and, if done improperly over and over, can start to be a bit wearing on the delicate little tendons around your shoulders, which isn't good. It's an important one to get right.

Breaking it down
Start in your high plank pose - shoulders over wrists, wide fingers, ribs knitted together, core zipped up tight - strong straight long line from head to heels. Big breath in here, filling all the way up.



This is where it starts to get weird. Listen carefully - as you exhale, keeping your arms tucked in at your sides, move your chest FORWARD and DOWN until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees ONLY. Seriously, do not bend past 90 degrees. That is a right angle. Like in a square.


Because you stopped at 90 degrees like a champ, your forearms are still totally perpendicular to the mat.


Your back is still 100% as straight and strong as it was in your plank, because you've got your ribs zipped up and your head in the game. Gaze to the ground 6-10 inches in front of your fingertips.


Your upper arms and elbows are superglued to your ribs. No chicken wings!


Because you moved forward, you are now kind of towards the tips of your toes, which sets you up perfectly to roll onto the tops of your feet in just a minute here.


Exhale entirely, and then press into your palms, fingertips and the tops of your feet to find your upward-facing dog as you inhale.



Exhale back, downward-facing dog.


This whole thing will feel weird for the first few times, guaranteed, but once you can get this form logged into your muscle memory you will be so gravy. Go do 50 chaturangas, or however many it takes to do this with your eyes closed. Literally, once you've got it, try doing it with your eyes closed. Take a second to wear the pose, feel it in your bones and breath and make that the focus, rather than what it looks like. And then maybe you will start jumping back into the pose like a boss, which is where you really start to fly.

Note: Jump into your bent elbows, please! No jumping into straight arms!
With love, your shoulders and elbows xoxo

Important reminder - I love writing about alignment, as a perfectionist and as a student. As a teacher, I beg you, please remember that every pose looks different on every body, and what the pose looks like on you matters ZERO to your practice and your overall experience. We really only cue alignment in an effort to help you target the right muscle groups and to keep you from getting hurt. If something feels painful in your body, DON'T DO IT, even if it looks right. Find the expression of the pose that works for you.

Go forth and chaturanga!


*I know I said that same thing about down dog. But having that lightbulb moment on pretty much any pose can really alter your whole thing, no?

33 comments:

  1. I'm Awkward One In The Blue Shirt (actually, currently purple & white, but not the point). This is going to be exceptionally helpful. Angles compute with me! 90 degrees is doable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. me too! use of angles were the lightbulb moment for me. happy chaturangaing!

      Delete

  2. شكرا معلومات مفيدة يمكنك زيارة ايضا لمعلومات قيمة اخرى قم بزيارة :

    شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
    افضل شركة تنظيف

    ReplyDelete
  3. Download Canon Printer Drivers from Canon.com/ijsetup then Install and setup your canon printer product by visiting www.canon.com/ijsetup.
    canon.com/ijsetup | ij.start.cannon | canon.com/ijsetup | ij.start.cannon

    ReplyDelete
  4. Windstream login:- Windstream email is an online email service provided by Windstream, a US internet provider. Windstream Email allows you to send and receive emails from anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet-connected computer, smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Get your email from Windstream. To allow Windstream email, you'll need login credentials. If you don't want to use it in a browser, this is the way to go. Alternative applications may be used, such as Outlook or Apple Mail. For such systems, you'll need different settings.
    Windstream Email Login

    ReplyDelete
  5. Canon Printer Error 5200 is caused by low ink concentrations, but it can also be caused by a faulty cartridge or a problem with the printer's logic board. The Canon printer is set up to combine all of the remaining ink colors to make black. In a nutshell, it means that the ink cartridge in your Canon printer is either empty or nearly empty. As a result, the operator examines the manual for the ink stage and notices that the black has vanished and the colors are nearly gone. You can also reach us by dialing our available helpline number. One of our knowledgeable technicians will resolve your issue while also removing any errors or faults from your Canon printer unit. Canon Printer Error 5200 occurs when a defective printer driver is not installed correctly or when there is a problem with the Canon printer's logic board. This is a popular printer error that can affect any Canon PIXMA printer, including the Canon mp495 Printer Error 5200, PIXMA MP 480, PIXMA MP 490, and the Canon PIXMA MX 340 and MX 350.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Are you searching for assignment help in the UAE? Then don’t worry! We provide you the best assignment writing services at very cheap prices. Visit our website for help with your work.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Net email account holders will love the idea of being able to access important emails or respond to them when on the go. ATT configuration. att email settings for outlook 2010 allows you to access your emails quickly no matter where you are.Here are step-by-step instructions for syncing ATT.Net yahoo email accounts with Outlook. Visit our website for more details.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. Mcafee.com/activate | office.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  9. All subscribers have access to ATT.Net, which is a consumer web interface. It's a joint venture between AT&T Internet Services and AT&T Yahoo! Att.net also offers a wide range of information, including news, sports, and weather. Consumers can use Att.net email as an example of a service. Yahoo is used to access the Att Login. The reason for this is because AT&T has partnered with Yahoo! to offer AT&T Yahoo! This division of AT&T offers dial-up and DSL Internet access. Yahoo also offers collaborative services with other businesses. Your att.net email login can then be accessed from your PC or mobile device.

    ReplyDelete


  10. Webroot is a computer security software program for Microsoft Windows users that combine software as a service cloud protection with traditional Antivirus and anti-spyware desktop technologies.
    webroot install with key code | webroot install with key code |
    office.com/setup |
    camps.intuit.com |
    camps.intuit.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Canon printers, especially all-in-one Inkjet printers, are ideal for home and office use to gain maximum output with high-quality printing documents straightforwardly.
    canon.com/ijsetup | ij.start canon | ij.start.canon | cox webmail login | norton.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lepas dari realita jika Tank habiskan terbanyak Mana, ngobrol games Hylos memberinya banyak kerusakan untuk ukuran Hero Tank. Talenta ke-2 , Ring of Punishment, ialah pembangkit tenaga listrik yang tersering dipakai. gamesorbit Saat sekitaran Hylos dikasih energi, mereka jadi zone kerusakan 270 (+20 % Keseluruhan Magis Power). playergames
    Hero Tank Tersakit
    Hero Marksman Tersakit
    Hero Meta Tersakit
    Hero Assassin Tersakit
    Hero Support Tersakit
    Hero Fighter Tersakit

    ReplyDelete
  13. We advise wonderful assistance for AOL Mail. We have a unit of extremely proficient technicians, who can benefit users handling issues during AOL mail sign in now. So, do contact us via our official website or contact for help from the specialized members of our organization.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Are you searching for nursing assignment help? We offer you the best academic writing services including the help you need to create a nursing assignment. Visit our website for more help.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Assignment Help Chicago

    Are you seeking out a high-first-class, researched, customized, and plagiarism-loose Assignment Help Chicago? Then select Best Assignment Experts. We are one of the best venture writing carrier carriers withinside the world. Our professors and challenge rely professionals paintings honestly 24*7 hours to supply first-class assignments at an cheap and top price.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Assignment Help Houston



    Assignment Help Houston

    At Best Assignment Experts, the Assignment Help Houston group includes Ph.D. professors, talented tutors, adept venture writers, and Houston-primarily based totally professionals that will help you to jot down first-class and 100 % plagiarism-loose all instructional Assignment Help Houston. Our carrier is 24*7 hours open and price very minimum and realistic. We are very punctual and continually to be had.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much

    My web site - 부산오피
    (mm)

    ReplyDelete
  18. it's been from two days ago, I found a post that can educate my employees, and I finally found it here today. thank you very much to the author, because the gift given is amazing. slot joker388

    ReplyDelete

Thoughts?