In practice, you will often hear teachers offering an alternative by transitioning straight to adho mukha svanasana, or downward facing dog, rather than through chaturanga dandasana due to the strength required and heat produced by transitioning through the vinyasa.
This month we are honoring the yama asteya, which translates to non-stealing or more broadly, the concept of accepting one’s own self as it is. Chaturanga dandasana is a challenging pose and it is important to recognize and accept where we are in our practice and take variations or modifications until we build the strength needed for proper alignment to reduce the risk of injury.
We’ve broken down a few common misconceptions about how the body should look in chaturanga dandasana to assess which variation or modification might best suit your practice.
To correct this action, keep the belly firm pulling the navel toward the spine, rock forward so that the shoulders are in front of the wrists and contract the chest muscles. Make sure to align elbows above wrists and hug toward the midline, lowering shoulders no lower than the elbows, keeping the upper arm bones parallel to the floor and lower arm bones perpendicular to the floor.
It helps to keep the roots of the toes grounded and the legs firm by contracting the quads, isometrically pressing back through the heels, pulling forward with the breastbone while squeezing the hands back on the mat.
No matter what variation you choose will depend on your level of practice. Be patient as you build strength and honest with yourself regarding where you are in your practice. Slowly but surely you will work up to the final expression of this beautifully challenging asana.
Edited by Kim Manning