Asana of the Month: Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. – Asana of the month contributed by Asana Girl (aka Danielle Polen)

Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the most challenging poses in the Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutation sequence. It takes strength and focus to keep the body in a firm line with the chest open, and many practitioners forego proper alignment in order to gain the appearance of moving deeper into the pose. However, our practice is better served by maintaining good alignment and not going quite so deeply into the pose until we have the necessary strength and awareness. And while Chaturanga Dandasana certainly requires a good deal of upper body/arm strength, the legs also play a key role in supporting the body. Practicing the pose with the feet pressing into a wall can be a useful way to begin to harness the power of the legs and build strength in the pose.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose):
Chatur = four
Anga = limb
Danda = staff (referring to the spine—the body’s central “staff”)
  • Strengthens the arms and upper body (triceps and pectorals), as well as the wrists
  • Tones the abdomen
  • Builds confidence
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome or other wrist injury
  • Pregnancy
Preparatory Poses
  • Plank Pose
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra)
  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)
Song that Most Comes to Mind While Moving into the Posture:
Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor”


One thought on “Asana of the Month: Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)

  1. Anonymous

    March 30, 2012 at 4:58am

    This pose is so core to our flow practice and I’m looking forward to breathing thru it. speaking of breath, do we always remember to exhale here? so often class goes silent when we more thru this asana as we stop breathing… I’m really looking forward to going deeper. thanks for the four-limbed challenge!

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