Chaturanga Dandasana

It seems only fitting that I start the low down series with Chaturanga Dandasana…Ive been told I need an official badge. Chaturanga is a posture that can build strength in the entire body if done in a healthy way. If done in an unhealthy way, it can tax our shoulders, wrists and elbows leaving us vulnerable to injury.

First…the wrists. A “normal” range of motion in wrist extension is around 80 degrees. If we are to line the elbows up exactly over the wrists, this would require a 90 degree range of motion which could ask more from our wrists then they have been designed to give. This isn’t a problem for many of us, but if it causes any pain in the joint, back off enough to alleviate the discomfort.

Second….the shoulders. In my opinion, the most important instruction with this complex joint is to make sure you don’t drop your shoulders below the line of the elbows. Period. Dipping in the shoulders closes the chest, taxes the rotator cuff, puts extra tension in the neck and can lead to a slew of other alignment issues. Even if it doesn’t feel bad, dipping the shoulders can build unhealthy habits that will no doubt show up in other areas of your yoga practice. Think about it…If you are in a vinyasa class you can do anywhere between 10 and 100 chaturangas in one session. Maybe more. If you are doing this pose over and over with poor alignment, your body is going to adapt to the way you are doing it. This is the very nature of repetition. So, bottom line…A healthy chaturanga creates healthy alignment habits, and unhealthy chaturanga creates unhealthy alignment habits.

Leslie Kaminoff has some great imagery here on his site…

Want to decide for yourself? Check out these sites….

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