Four-Limbed Staff Pose • Chaturanga Dandasana

  • Sarah Kline

STEP 1 - From a forward fold, place your hands on the mat on the outside of the feet. Line up the finger tips with the toes, press down in to the palms and step your feet to the back of the mat. Find plank pose, as if you were about to do a push up. Your hands and wrists are placed directly underneath your shoulders. Spread the fingers wide, draw the creases of the elbows to face forward, and root down through the base of the index finger and thumb, to take the weight in the the strongest part of your hand. Your body should be one straight line from the feet all the way up to the crown of the head.

STEP 2 - Root the tail bone towards the direction of your heels and draw the belly button up towards the spine. Try to keep your hips below the height of your shoulders. Now, shift your weight slightly forward drawing your chest over the top of your hands and rising on your tip toes. Hug the elbows into the side of your rib cage.

STEP 3 - Keep drawing your shoulder blades down your back and expand the collar bones. Keeping your gaze slightly forward will prevent you from rolling your shoulders forward. Only bend the elbows to a 90-degree angle. Do not drop your shoulders below the height of your elbows. Maintain the action of lengthening the tailbone towards your heels and broaden through the collarbones.

Target Area:

Deltoids, Biceps, Triceps, Core, Upper Back

Therapeutic Focus:

Strengthens the core, thus protecting the lower back.

Props & Modifications:

A beginner variation of the pose includes dropping the knees down to the mat, keeping the elbows hugged into the sides of the rib cage and lowering the chest and chin all the way down to the mat. Your shoulders will drop below the height of the elbows, unlike the full pose. Keep the hips lifted. This variation is also known as inch worm. 

To include to use of a prop, place a block underneath your chest while you are in plank pose. Place the block on the lowest or medium height. When lowering down to four-limbed staff pose, the block will stop you from dropping the shoulders below the height of the elbows.