Chaturanga Dandasana, Four Limbed Staff Pose


Suki Dalury in Chaturanga Dandasana, by Zoe Zimmerman copyright Sundara Studios, 2013

It’s not uncommon these days to hear friends and acquaintances lamenting the cooler weather as we transition through seasons, sometimes missing our opportunity to enjoy this brief, but beautiful time of year. Being present for transitions is one of the many gifts we gain as we deepen our yoga practice, present for seasonal changes, and present for asana transitional poses like Chaturanga Dandasana. Often this challenging and rewarding pose is blown through, as it requires focus and strength to maintain alignment while moving through the other postures of Sun Salutations and flow sequences.

Beginning in plank pose (top of a push up) set your shoulders over your wrists, fingers spread wide, legs long and knees lifting toward the ceiling, hips in line with the shoulders. Engage the muscles of your abdomen by drawing them back toward your spine while softening between your shoulder blades, letting your heart rest in the hammock of your shoulder girdle.

To extend through your heels and the crown of your head, draw your tailbone down by engaging two inches below your navel and lifting there toward your heart. With an exhale lean into the knuckle pads of your fingers, maintain the strength and length in the staff-like form of your body as you draw your arms into the midline and bend your elbows to ninety degrees.  You are now in Chaturanga Dandasana. Inhale and exhale to lower the bottom portion of your torso to the mat while keeping your shoulders and elbows in line with each other arm bones parallel to the floor.

Holding for more breaths builds strength and stamina while giving your mind an opportunity to be present in the transition, which sometimes appears as a challenge but perhaps is really a great and beautiful gift.