How to Build Up to a Chaturanga Yoga Pose

In this post I’ll share with you how to build up to a chaturanga yoga pose and which videos I’ve found helpful. Strength doesn’t only come from exercise though, it also comes from nutrition, so make sure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough daily protein to boost muscle growth.

If you’re like me, you’re interested in learning yoga from home and joining one of the many yoga platforms out there. I chose to join Grokker and I share my findings with you in this post about yoga lessons online with Grokker.

So you’ve taken up yoga and you love it! But every time there’s a vinyasa you have to go through a Chaturanga yoga pose and it feels as though it’s completely impossible. You can’t imagine ever being able to do it!

People sitting in a yoga class

What is Chaturanga Dandasana?

Chaturanga Dandasana is a pose in yoga where you are horizontally aligned with the ground, suspended by your arms and resting on your toes, with elbows bent and upper arm aligned with the body while 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 takes a while to build up the necessary strength for the pose.

I’m working on building up my strength to do a correct Chaturanga yoga pose and while I’ve looked through hundreds of posts, not all of them are particularly helpful. So I thought I’d share the resources that have most helped me to build up arm strength and understand this yoga pose.

In the meantime I’m doing adapted Chaturanga yoga pose, by not going down as low, but making sure that I’m still in alignment (the first video explains the alignment).

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 I try to do it and it seems impossible!

Some of the Mistakes Beginners Make When Building up to a Chaturanga Yoga Pose

  • Body in alignment: don’t allow your head to tip lower than your elbows.
  • 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.
  • Legs and core should be actively engaged.

How to do a Correct Chaturanga Dandasana

The most helpful video I’ve found on Chaturanga Dandasana is this one by Lizette Pompa Yoga. The information is amazing in 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

So that video clarifies how to do a correct chaturanga, but it doesn’t give you the strength to do it! So, how to build arm strength . . .?

How to Build Arm 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 video by Ventuno Yoga – and it’s brilliant. It looks soooo easy but just try it and you’ll be surprised! If you can’t do Chaturanga, then you’ll find this exercise difficult and you’ll definitely feel and see the strength in your arms building up as you practise it.

General Arm Strength and Toning

Wow, this final video that I’m going to recommend for toning the arms is incredible because 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 does this tone your arms!

Update: while I’ve found these resources to be great, I’ve since taken up additional strength training to build up my power, because with yoga alone I wasn’t getting stronger and with menopause I was beginning to feel weaker. You can read how I reversed my symptoms of menopause naturally here.

How to Build up to Chaturanga Dandasana

One of the most important aspects of building up strength is your mindset. If you go into this looking for results, you will most probably set yourself up for dissapointment.

Mindset for Doing Chaturanga Dandasana Yoga Pose

While it will vary from person to person according to their fitness, age, diet and personal predisposition, building arm strength takes time and it isn’t visible in every day progress.

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 like to call it your ‘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).

Yoga gives results in every moment that you’re doing it. But ironically, when you start looking for results, they can seem very elusive. Just today, as I was on the yoga mat, I felt as though I had never done yoga before, and completely low in energy. I told myself to accept myself and stay in the moment. The temptation to feel disillusioned was strong but if you can stay focussed, you won’t be at risk of ‘giving up’.

Another reason for not using results-based analysis is that whatever your stage, wherever your ‘line’, you’ll always be working to your personal limit. Even on those blah days.

That’s the beauty of yoga. It isn’t like some other forms of exercise, where you have to do more quantity as you become more fit or otherwise it becomes too easy. Yoga’s never easy. It’s always perfect for you and where you are in your yoga 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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