How to Do Chaturanga the Right Way

How to Do Chaturanga the Right Way

As one of the key poses in Vinyasa yoga, Chaturanga (otherwise known as a yogi push-up) is one of those poses we all love to hate. That’s because getting the right alignment can be difficult! Especially towards the end of the class when you’re pretty tuckered out.

The good news is, you’re not doing all those Chaturangas for nothing. It’s an incredible core stabilizer and strengthens your arms, shoulders and legs, preparing you for more intense poses. Without the ability to perform a proper Chaturanga, arm balances like Crow Pose and would simply be out of reach.

Read More: This Yoga Pose Will Make You Feel Like a Badass

If you’re looking to perfect the pose, here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Wrist Placement

Your wrists should be stacked directly underneath your elbows. When viewing Chaturanga from the side, your shoulder, elbow and wrist should look like a perfect 90 degree angle. If your wrists are way in front or behind this can de-stabilize your shoulders and cause pain in your wrists or upper back.

Elbow Placement

In order to maintain a solid Chaturanga, your elbows need to be practically glued to your ribs. This is the biggest difference between a military style push up and a yogi push up. In the former you’re activating your pectoral muscles and in the latter you’re primarily using your triceps and shoulders.

Hip Placement

Your entire body from the crown of your head to your heels should be one straight line (similar to Plank pose). If your core is weak or simply disengaged, your hips could end up sinking lower than your elbows which over time can result in lower back pain.

Jump Backs

When you’re going through a Vinyasa flow your instructor may give you the option to jump back from a forward fold half lift to Chaturanga. It’s really important that if you choose to jump back that you actually land with bent elbows in Chaturanga and not in Plank pose. That’s because jumping back so abruptly into Plank can lead to major wrist injuries like tendinitis, overstretched ligaments, broken toes and back pain due to the backwards momentum and impact.

Modification

If you’re struggling with any of the above alignment tips, it may be best to choose the “knees, chest, chin” option rather than a full Chaturanga. Or simply practice Chaturanga with your knees on the mat, focusing on keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle and building strength in your upper body.

Getting comfortable with Chaturanga may take time but once you master it you’ll open yourself up to a world of new arm balances and inversions that you would have never dreamed of doing before!

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