Yoga is a discipline that requires mastery of various poses and techniques to get the most benefits from it. One of the important poses that every yogi should master is Chaturanga, also known as the Yoga Push-Up. This pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core while improving body alignment and increasing overall stamina.
The Starting Position: Plank Pose
Before you master Chaturanga, you need to start with the basics – the Plank Pose. This pose is a simple and effective exercise that strengthens your entire body, especially your arms, shoulders, and core muscles. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie down on your stomach facing the floor.
- Bring your elbows close to your body and place your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart, aligning your wrists with your shoulders.
- Lift your entire body off the ground, straightening your arms and legs, and hold it parallel to the floor.
- Engage your core muscles by pulling your navel towards your spine.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds, breathing deeply, and release.
Tips for Plank Pose
If you are new to yoga, start with short holds, gradually increasing the time as you build strength. Remember to keep your neck and spine in a neutral position, and avoid dropping your hips too low or lifting them too high.
How to do Chaturanga: Step by Step Guide
Once you master the Plank Pose, you’re ready to try Chaturanga. This requires lowering your body slowly towards the floor with control, engaging your core muscles and keeping your elbows close to your body. Here’s how to do it:
- Start in the Plank Pose, with your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart and your body parallel to the ground.
- Shift your weight forward onto your toes, and lower your body slowly towards the floor, bending your elbows and keeping them tucked close to your body.
- Lower your body until your arms form a 90-degree angle, and your chest and thighs hover a few inches above the ground.
- Hold the pose for a few seconds, breathing deeply, and then release.
Tips for Chaturanga
One of the most common mistakes beginners make when doing Chaturanga is not engaging their core muscles enough. To avoid this, imagine pulling your navel towards your spine throughout the pose, and keep your elbows as close to your body as possible. If you struggle with the pose, trying doing it with your knees on the floor.
Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Chaturanga requires proper form and technique to avoid strain on your shoulders, neck or back. Here are some common mistakes and how to fix them:
Mistake: Not engaging your core
Solution: Before lowering your body, engage your core muscles by pulling your navel towards your spine throughout the pose. This will help you maintain proper alignment and avoid strain on your back.
Mistake: Letting your elbows flare out
Solution: Try to keep your elbows as close to your body as possible throughout the pose. This will help you engage your triceps and avoid overloading your shoulders.
Mistake: Lowering your body too fast
Solution: Lower your body slowly towards the floor with control, using your breath to pace yourself. This will help you maintain proper alignment and avoid any unexpected strain on your joints.
Mistake: Lifting your hips too high or dropping them too low
Solution: Keep your hips in line with your body throughout the pose, avoiding any peaks or dips. This will help you maintain proper alignment and avoid strain on your back or shoulders.
Variations of Chaturanga
Once you master the basic Chaturanga, you can try some variations to challenge yourself and build additional strength. Here are some variations you can try:
Chaturanga with a Block
Place a yoga block between your thighs and press it firmly as you lower your body. This will help you engage your inner thighs and activate more muscles in your body.
From the Plank Pose, jump your feet back, landing in Chaturanga. Then, push your body back into the plank and repeat. This variation improves your coordination, balance and increases your heart rate.
Chaturanga to Updog
From Chaturanga, lift your chest and roll over your toes, landing in Updog pose – this stretches your spine, chest, and core muscles. Then, push your body back into the plank, lowering yourself into Chaturanga and repeat.
Chaturanga is a challenging pose that can help you build upper body strength, stability and enhance your yoga practice. Start with the Plank Pose and gradually move to Chaturanga with practice and patience.
- What are the benefits of Chaturanga?
Chaturanga strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core while improving body alignment and increasing overall stamina.
- How can I practice Chaturanga safely?
To practice Chaturanga safely, engage your core muscles, keep your elbows close to your body, and avoid lowering your body too fast or letting your hips drop too low.
- What exercises can help me prepare for Chaturanga?
The Plank Pose is a great exercise to prepare for Chaturanga. It helps you build strength in your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- What are some common mistakes when doing Chaturanga?
Common mistakes include not engaging your core, letting your elbows flare out, lowering your body too fast, and dropping your hips too low or lifting them too high.
- What are some variations of Chaturanga that I can try?
You can try Chaturanga with a block, Chaturanga jump-back or Chaturanga to Updog to challenge yourself and build additional strength.
- Yoga Journal – Plank Pose
- Yoga Journal – Chaturanga Yoga Sequence
- Verywellfit – How to Do Chaturanga Dandasana