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Four limbed staff pose (Chaturanga dandasana) steps, benefits and precautions

The four limbed staff pose or the Chaturanga dandasana is a yoga pose that helps you to build strength and improves the overall balance of your body. It is an essential part of the Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar as well.

Four limbed staff pose steps, benefits and precautions

Chaturanga dandasana meaning

The name Chaturanga dandasana is composed of four Sanskrit words.

  • ‘Chatur’ meaning four
  • ‘Anga’ meaning body parts
  • ‘Danda’ meaning staff
  • ‘Asana’ meaning pose

In this pose, the practitioner holds his whole body in a straight position, parallel to the ground. The body is supported only on the palms and toes which are in contact with the floor.

The word ‘Staff’ in the english name, four limbed staff pose, refers to the spine of the body which is help straight on the four limbs i.e. palms and toes.

Four limbed staff pose (Chaturanga dandasana) steps, benefits and precautions

How to do four limbed staff pose?

Here is a step by step guide on how to the four limbed staff pose or chaturanga dandasana.

Step one

To get into Chaturanga dandasana you have to start in the plank pose (Kumbhakasana). You need to ensure that your hands are straight with your elbows right in line with your wrists. 

Step two

Try to bring your body down gently by bending your arms so that your full body is only a few inches above the floor. It is very important that you are not rounding your back and keeping it completely straight.

When you are bringing the body down, there would be a slight forward shift in the position of your body.

Step three

You should bring your body down to a height where your upper and lower arms are perpendicular to each other. At the same time, you need to see that your chest is not dropping or sagging down. Your abdominal and legs muscles have to be fully engaged when you are in this pose. 

For people who have trouble getting to or holding this position, it would be fine to do this with their knees on the ground to start practicing this pose.

Step four

Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds and try and breathe normally. To release from the pose, bring your body down to the yoga mat or the floor.

Benefits of Chaturanga dandasana

  1. Chaturanga dandasana helps to tone your abdominal muscles in a manner similar to the plank pose (Kumbhakasana).
  2. It helps in correcting the overall posture of your body.
  3. With regular practice of this yoga pose, the body has an improved sense of overall balance.
  4. Since the whole weight of your body is supported on palms and toes with your elbows at a 90 degree angle to the palms, it strengthens the arms, wrists and back as well. In addition, the four limbed staff pose helps to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine.
  5. Since it improves balance, this yoga pose also acts as a preparatory asana for the more difficult arm balancing poses.

Precautions and contraindications

  1. Anyone with a hand or wrist injury should not perform this asana. Doing this might aggravate the injury of the practitioner.
  2. This pose is not advisable for pregnant women as it puts too much pressure on abdominal muscles. In such cases, Plank pose (Kumbhakasana) can be practiced under an experienced teacher.
  3. If you are someone who suffers from Carpal tunnel syndrome, you should avoid practicing this yoga pose.

Related yoga poses to four limbed staff pose

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