Chaturanga Dandasana or the Four-Limbed Staff Pose is an ‘arm balance asana’. This pose requires a considerable amount of strength in the arms and shoulders which is why it is not considered to be one of the best yoga poses for beginners. However, this does not mean that yoga beginners cannot do this pose, it simply means that you need to have some level of physical fitness before you attempt this asana. The term Chaturanga Dandasana is a combination of the words chatur (the Sanskrit word for ‘four’), anga (which means ‘limb’), danda (which means ‘staff’), and asana (meaning posture). Chaturanga Dandasana strengthens the muscles of the limbs as well as the core and promotes good form which is why it is one of the most commonly recommended yoga postures for people who are interested in overall fitness. Once you are proficient in basic yoga poses and yoga exercises for beginners, you can try more challenging asanas such as Chaturanga Dandasana.
How To Perform Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Like most yoga poses, Chaturanga Dandasana must be performed at least 4-6 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach (and bowels) are empty at this time. You should perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform Chaturanga Dandasana. You can learn a few Chaturanga Dandasana prep poses such as Urdhvamukha shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), and Phalakasana (plank pose) before you learn how to do Four-Limbed Staff pose. These prep poses for Chaturanga Dandasana are basic yoga poses that will gently stretch and strengthen the muscles of your arms and legs as well as stretch and strengthen your back muscles. These are the 6 Four-Limbed Staff pose steps:
1. To begin this asana, start in the Virasana (Hero pose) where you assume a kneeling position before easing yourself back until you buttocks are resting on your heels.
2. Rest your body weight on your knees and move your arms forward until you torso is parallel to the ground. Spread your fingers so that your palms rest evenly on the mat and ensure that the outer edge of your shoulders is in line with your middle fingers.
3. Lift your knees off the mat, stretch your legs out straight behind you and balance your weight on your toes.
4. Exhale and then slowly lower your body so that your upper arms are as straight as possible and almost parallel to the floor. Look straight ahead and do not let your head drop down.
5. Your entire body should be parallel to the floor and the tips of your elbows should touch the sides of your torso as you lower yourself.
6. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
Follow these Chaturanga Dandasana steps carefully and do not make any changes to them. It is important to follow the Chaturanga Dandasana sequence of steps to maximise the effects of this asana.
How To Release From Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
To release from Chaturanga Dandasana, exhale and lower down to your belly to come into Phalakasana (plank pose) or inhale and go into the Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog pose). When moving from Chaturanga Dandasana to any of the other yoga poses, make sure that your movements are slow and smooth.
Similar Poses To Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
There are a few other poses that are similar to Chaturanga Dandasana and you can include them in your yoga routine to relieve any tension in your arms, wrists, or shoulders.
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward-Facing Dog pose
Salabhasana – Locust pose
Mayurasana – Peacock pose
These poses will enhance the benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana.
Benefits Of Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
It makes your wrist and elbow joints strong and more flexible.
Improves posture and improves ability to sustain arm balance asanas for longer periods.
Tones the abdomen and buttocks by working on your core stomach muscles.
Strengthens the muscles of the back and shoulders.
It is a great warm-up pose for inversion asanas.
Yoga is a great way to build your immunity while simultaneously strengthening your physical and mental health. The strength of your immune system is based on 4 main physiological systems – the circulatory, digestive, nervous, and endocrine systems. Since most yoga poses stimulate at least 3 of these systems, having a daily yoga routine will help boost your immune levels. Yoga for strengthening arm and shoulder muscles will also help to improve posture and so it is a good option for people who spend long hours in a seated position. While there are many benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana and it is undoubtedly one of the best arm strengthening yoga asanas, you should ensure that you are doing it correctly as doing it incorrectly can put a great deal of stress on your elbow and shoulder joints.
There are several Chaturanga Dandasana variations depending on whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced practitioner. This pose can also be done with the knees on the floor – this is one of the best modifications of Chaturanga Dandasana for beginners and people with weak arms. While there are several yoga poses that work wonders for pregnant women, it is advisable to avoid this pose when you are pregnant. Chaturanga Dandasana is physically challenging as well as mentally taxing as it requires immense focus and determination. Most yoga beginners lose their focus within a few minutes as their minds start to wander. However, with regular yoga practice you will be able to overcome this problem.
Contraindications Of Chaturanga Dandasana (The Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
While the benefits and importance of Chaturanga Dandasana are immense, there are certain circumstances when you should avoid this pose. Avoid practicing this asana if you are suffering from any kind of wrist, shoulder or back injury. This asana is also not recommended for those with Carpal tunnel syndrome. The Four-Limbed Staff pose for beginners consists of the same steps but the amount of time spent holding this position is much shorter.
Tips For Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Don’t let your torso sink below your elbows as this puts tremendous pressure on your elbow joints. It is unwise to attempt Chaturanga Dandasana without the proper guidance.