Chaturanga Dandasana: February Yoga Pose of the Month

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Strengthens arms, shoulders, back, core and quadriceps

Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Sanskrit: Chaturanga Dandasana)

  • Start on hands and knees and then move into Plank. Wrists are under shoulders and you’re engaging quadriceps and pressing through heels as if you’re stepping on the floor. Core is engaged and drawing in towards spine. Shoulder blades are sliding down back with no ditch or dipping between shoulder blades. Actively press palms into floor with shoulders out of ears. Arms are internally hugging in. Neck is in alignment with spine and you're breathing.

  • To move into Chaturanga, take a deep breath in and press into toes which moves your shoulders beyond wrists. This will help protect the shoulders! On the exhale, slowly bend arms with elbows aiming back and arms brushing ribcage. Lower the body as if it were a long board, stopping with elbows at 90 degrees. Sternum is reaching forward with collarbone widening. Gaze is slightly in front of you (~6-8 inches).
  • From this pose, you will either come all the way down to the floor or move into Upward Facing Dog (we’ll save that pose for later).
  • Tips – Avoid lifting the rear too high and dipping in shoulders; keep the core engaged to prevent a sway in the back.
  • Modifications – come into a modified Plank with knees on mat with hips forward.  From the top of the head to the back of the knees should be one straight diagonal line.  To come into a modified Chaturanga, simply lower in the same manner with wrists directly under shoulders and elbows moving back and hugging ribs.

Namaste – The light within me honors the grace and wisdom within you.

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About Author

Celeste Cooper-Peel, MA, MCHES, E-RYT, CWHC, CYT

Wellness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty years. As a chemist, she conducted research which brought her into the mindset of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education from East Carolina University, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate about all things wellness. She enjoys collaborating with team members, teaching, presenting and nurturing healthy lifestyle changes. She believes that every day is a learning opportunity and creates opportunities that reflect active learning, being curious and forward thinking. Celeste is a published author, the wife of a fun-loving husband, mother of a college freshman, "professional" front porch meditator and loves to play in the dirt . She is a nationally Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Certified Wellness and Health Coach (CWHC), Certified Yin-Yang Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation Instructor and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT). She has also received advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition and additional trainings with The Institute for Functional Medicine. Follow @ccooperpeel on Twitter and Instagram.

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