How to Nail Chaturanga Dandasana Yoga Pose at Home

Wanna know how to nail chaturanga dandasana yoga pose in your home practice? If it seems to hover forever-just-beyond-your-reach, you’re not alone.

It can take eons to master chaturanga – but it’s so rewarding when you suddenly have an aha moment and it clicks into place!

If you like learning yoga from home that’s probably why it’s taking longer to nail this pose. I mean let’s face it, it’s difficult.

So, you’re on the mat and you love it!

But every time there’s a vinyasa, chaturanga dandasana comes along to remind you that you’re still not getting it.

Maybe you can’t imagine ever being able to do it . . .?

Because progressing in your yoga practise at home can be quite challenging if you don’t have the right platform or yoga course to guide you.

And whatever happens, don’t go wasting time practising chaturanga in the wrong alignment (which I’ve done for years) or you’ll never get it. Sorry to be blunt but it’s true.

I practised for years, over and over again. Still collapsed in chaturanga.

I mean you have to have your whole body frigging engaged! And if you don’t, well . . . your chaturanga’s basically doomed. (But don’t worry, it can always be fixed.)

In this post I’m going to share the resources I’ve found most helpful in improving my chaturanga yoga pose.

Table of Content

What is Chaturanga Dandasana?

Chaturanga Dandasana is the Sanskrit name which means 4 limbed staff pose.

It’s found in vinyasa yoga, power yoga and ashtanga yoga. In chaturanga you’re horizontally aligned with the ground, held up by your hands/arms and toes, with elbows bent and upper arm aligned with the body. The forearms are at 90º with upper arms and body.

It’s used a lot in different yoga flows as well as in sun salutations and it can take forever to build up the technique and strength for the pose, maybe especially for any of us who are menopausal or post menopausal and feel particularly weak as a consequence.

I’ve been working on building up my Chaturanga yoga pose for a long time and I’ve discovered that if you’re practising it with the wrong alignment (which I was), you’ll never achieve your goal.

I’ve looked through hundreds of resources, and not all of them are particularly helpful.

So I thought I’d share the ones that have most helped me understand this yoga pose.

I’ve updated this article to reflect progress over time.

There’s more to this intriguing yoga pose than meets the eye! I say intriguing because to me it is: I see small girls with no visible arm muscle doing perfect Chaturanga and looking as though they’re in a blissfully easy pose.

And then when I try to do it, it seems nigh impossible!

Edit: it no longer seems *impossible*, but not very far off.

Best Yoga Platform for Learning Chaturanga Dandasana Yoga Pose

I’ve written about the various yoga platforms which I’ve joined over the years, but to be honest, the best platform EVER for learning chaturanga is the most recent one, where I’m still busy with the course.

There’s a whole 2 hour masterclass dedicated to chaturanga dandasana. And it’s awesome.

Not only that, but I’m in love with the course. Because it’s unravelling so many poses for me.

The name of the course is Yogi Flight School and you may have already come across it on your travels. Run by the super-inspiring Nathania Stambouli and her team of equally fun and encouraging yogi coaches.

Actually the course on Yogi Flight School’s focussed on arm balances and inversions, but there’s so much bonus material to choose from, including vinyasa flows, yin classes, mindset videos and of course the masterclass on how to do chaturanga dandasana.

I wrote a complete review on the YFS course because I’m enjoying it so much and I also decided to become an affiliate.

Because if something’s worth sharing, it’s worth sharing!

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Before I Found Yogi Flight School

Early on I chose to join Grokker as a source for my yoga teachers and I shared my findings in yoga lessons online with Grokker.

But I left Grokker because I was doing more yoga than I could find on the platform. In other words I ran out of yoga classes.

After that I became a member of Omstars with Kino MacGregor and from there I moved on to Inner Dimensions TV with Travis Eliot, which I really enjoyed and which I would still be a member of if I hadn’t left to join YFS.

I will definitely return to Inner dimensions TV one day because it has an incredible amount of yoga with various teachers available.

One of the things I like best about Inner Dimensions TV is the fact that they offer complete programs, so you can come to the yoga mat every day without having to search for a class for that day.

Plus they offer a lot of power yoga classes, which I find great for building my strength.

I talk more about it in this post on my favourite yoga lessons.

Frequent Mistakes: Chaturanga Dandasana Yoga Pose at Home

There are several mistakes which are super common with students who are practising alone or who don’t get alignment corrections.

By knowing what they are you can avoid falling into these mistakes yourself.

  • Body isn’t in alignment: don’t allow your head to tip lower than your elbows. Keep the eyes looking forward, as though you’re showing somebody in front of you your necklace.
  • Your elbows should be tucked into your body; don’t let them splay out to the sides.
  • Don’t sag your middle toward the ground: keep your whole body in one straight line, even when doing an adapted Chaturanga. This means engaging the core and legs.
  • Push your heels actively away from your head to encourage an engaged body in plank pose before moving down into chaturanga.
  • Push forwards beyond the horizontal before you go downwards.

#1 Best Masterclass Ever for How to do a Correct Chaturanga Dandasana

The best resource I’ve found for chaturanga is the masterclass over on Yogi Flight School, which I’ve recently joined. The course is dedicated to arm balances and inversions, but you learn tons about absolutely everything.

Interestingly, by learning targeted yoga (i.e. a class on side crow for example), I find you also improve your overall yoga.

Because the lessons are so focussed, you get to engage more muscles, be more aware of your body connection, breath through the session, stay positive and get results.

I’m finding it awesome. And what did I find in the bonus materials? Yup! Nothing less that The-much-awaited Chaturnaga Masterclass!

So this is my number one pick. And by the way, don’t tell yourself stories that you can’t do it.

Because you can!

Bonus material from within the Yogi Flight School by the amazing Nathania Stambouli.

#2 Best Free YouTube Video for Chaturanga Dandasana

The most helpful video I’ve found on how to build strength for Chaturanga Dandasana is this one by Lizette Pompa Yoga. The information’s amazing for correcting your arm position and also in changing how you think of the pose.

She clarifies how the arm position works. Chatarunga isn’t the same as a traditional push up; your elbows should stay against your body, not sticking out like wings.

This was the first video which enlightened me on the true alignment but it isn’t a stand alone video, as there are more (shared below) which will help you to practise in a more productive way.

#3 Build Strength for Chaturanga Dandasana

Most sites, if you Google how to build up arm strength for chaturanga, just tell you to do poses like dolphin pose (which is great by the way) or sphynx pose – which in very soft and mild in comparison.

But while these poses may help, they don’t specifically prepare you for Chatarunga.

So what’s a better way to build up your arm strength specifically for Chatarunga?

Well, I’ve found this brilliant video by Ventuno Yoga . It looks soooo easy but just try it and you’ll be surprised!

If you’re struggling to do Chaturanga, then you’ll find this exercise difficult and you’ll definitely feel its value!

#4 General Arm Strength and Toning

Not really linked to chaturanga, but if you want to tone your arms, this video comes from Boho Beautiful yoga. The reason I’ve included it is that it only takes 5 minutes of your day. It’s so short that you can’t even say, ‘I don’t have time to do it!‘.

It’s so short, in fact, that you might imagine it to be easy! But boy this is not easy!

#5 Complete Chaturanga Tutorial with Aaron Wik

Finally, a complete chaturanga tutorial to guide you through the pose.

This one was my favourite until I discovered Yogi Flight School. In this video Aaron presents 3 different modifications to help you master chaturanga dandasana.

Maybe you’ve already heard of practising chaturanga with knees down, but in this video he corrects this often misdone modification and explains how to do it while still practising the correct alignment.

#6 Superb Trick to Help You Align – Use a Strap for Chaturanga Dandasana

This video from Body & Shine Welness shares a great tip when you’re starting out with Chaturanga – to use a strap.

Using a strap in this way isn’t practical in your yoga flows, but it is great for allowing you to experience what a correct chaturanga feels like in practice, until you gain the physical strength.

How to Prepare for Chaturanga Dandasana

One of the most important aspects of building up strength is your mindset. If you go into this looking for instant results, you’re most probably set up for disappointment.

Final Thoughts on Chaturanga Dandasana Yoga Pose

Obviously the time needed to learn complicated asanas varies from person to person, according to their fitness, age, diet and personal predisposition etc. but building arm strength takes time and it isn’t visible every day. No matter who you are.

So don’t judge yourself. And don’t work for the future goal but for the present journey. Joy!

The muscles need to rest and rebuild a little stronger each time.

One day you might feel stronger, and even be pleased with your progress only to find that the next day you feel as though you’re back at square one. You aren’t really back at square one, it just feels like that because you’re basing your judgment on results-based-observation.

Instead of looking for results, look at your yoga session as an opportunity to push yourself to your own personal limit (I call it my ‘line’) at that moment.

One day your line will be closer to you and another day it will be further away. Both days, all you do, is work to your own personal ‘line’. That way, if today you feel a bit tired and weak, you still feel invigorated and refreshed by your yoga (because you’re still going to your line for that day).

If you feel like you’ve plateaued and you’re wondering how to progress in yoga and see real change then I would recommend finding a course that resonates with you (just like I’ve found Yogi Flight School) to kickstart your progress once more.

It’s so exhilarating to be on this journey!

I hope this post helps you to build up strength for doing a great chaturanga dandasana yoga pose in your vinyasa flow and that you enjoy your yoga all the more!

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