Chaturanga Dandasana: February Yoga Pose of the Month


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.


About Author

Celeste Cooper

Wellness & Fitness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, 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 in her position overseeing Wellness and Fitness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT).

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