Chaturanga Dandasana - Four Limbed Staff Pose
In an all-level / beginner friendly class, I often teach all of these progressions throughout the warm-up or sun salutations, but I no longer put chaturangas in between every segment of class like I was first trained. Some schools/styles teach no chaturangas (Bikram) and others few (Iyengar) and others many (Krishnamacharya, who was inspired by gymnastics movements and helped introduce and popularize these faster-paced vinyasa classes).
I came from a practice of a million chaturangas, (Baptiste / Power Yoga, based on Ashtanga), and my teaching style has evolved greatly since then. Of course you know I love a good strength-building yoga class, and there are tons of benefits of practicing them or push-ups, I also believe form checks can get overlooked or teachers maybe rush through it because in can become an easy “filler” or way to transition in a teacher-sequenced vinyasa class (versus a set sequence like the Ashtanga Primary Series or the Hot 26), not necessarily because it needs to be there. I’ll teach them in the warm up sun salutations and then may or may not practice them again for the rest of class.
After assessing students’ abilities to hold hollow body plank, I then see if they can hold hollow body thru a controlled lower all the way to the ground.
⚠️If the shoulders wing or the elbows flare or the belly drops, we keep working on cleaning up this stage of the progression.
Give yourself permission to just focus on mastering one variation for a whole class or several classes or weeks or forever if you want!
How do you feel about chaturangas?
Teachers, do you even teach them at all?
Do you pause the class for a #chaturanga breakdown?