Ah Chaturanga, the pose that’s easier to say than it is to do. You’ll find this pose in most yoga classes as it’s a staple in Sun Salutations. However, this pose is the most common pose that’s done incorrectly. Unfortunately, I see this pose done incorrectly in every class I’m in, whether I’m teaching or attending as a student. It makes me cringe every time as I know first hand how incorrect alignment and failure to modify for your body can cause pain and damage to your body. When you repeatedly perform a pose incorrectly you put unnecessary pressure on your joints and risk injuring yourself.
Chaturanga is done wrong so often because it’s extremely hard! It requires upper body and core strength, as well as balance, coordination, and endurance to maintain the pose.
Let’s look at how not to do the pose:
Now let’s look at how to correctly do this pose:
Begin in Plank Pose with your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in one line.
Keeping your elbows over your wrists, hug them into your ribs and slowly lower down towards the mat, hovering just a few inches above the ground.
Keep your back flat and your hips in line with your upper body.
Strengthen your core muscles, keeping them engaged.
Keep the tops of your shoulders pointing forward and ensure your shoulders don’t drop below your elbows.
Hold for 10-30 seconds and then lower all the way onto the mat.
What to do if you can’t hold the pose correctly:
Modifying poses is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of you honoring your body and practicing in a pain and injury free range. If you can’t keep your hips in line with your upper body as you lower down, DROP YOUR KNEES…. I often find that students don’t think they’re allowed to modify because it means they’re not good enough, but my thought is that those who do modify when needed are the best yogis around. Modifying will keep your body safe from injury while strengthening your muscles and joints to build up to the full pose. If you can’t keep your hips in line with you body and hug your elbows in as you lower down, DROP YOUR KNEES! I promise no one will think you’re not good enough, and your body will thank you! See the picture below for a visual:
Keep practicing Chaturanga and try holding the pose for several breaths to build up strength in your arms and core!