Chaturanga Part 2: Go Forward, Not Just Down
If there was one action that revolutionized my Chaturanga Dandasana, it was this: move forward as you bend your elbows and lower down.
Before, I could never work out how to get my elbows at that perfect ninety degrees and end up in a true “plank” position.
The trajectory of movement from High Plank pose to Low Plank is on a diagonal —forward and down. If you just go straight down, your elbows end up in an angle more acute than ninety degrees and the pressure on your shoulders and wrists increases.
In the attached video, you’ll see my first pass in this transition is straight down. Notice how my upper back ends up rounded as I try to tuck my elbows in on the dive down.
In the second pass, watch how I move forward onto my tip toes as I bend my elbows. I make a small correction to lean my chest down when I realize I’m sagging in my hips. Then I make a pause at the true Chaturanga Dandasana position, hovering just above the ground.
As you hover, stop your descent when your shoulders are at or above the height of your elbows. This keeps the shoulders safe (read more about them and elbow position in part one of this post) and builds more strength overall.
From the point of hovering, you can release your belly down and go into Bhujangasana, which is what I did in the video. Or, you can roll your chest up, shoulders back and straighten your arms to come into Upward Dog, keeping the belly and thighs off the ground.