How to Series: Chaturanga
If you practice any style of power yoga, vinyasa yoga, flow yoga or ashtanga yoga, chaturanga is the one pose you want to make sure you perfect. In some of these types of classes, you could end up doing over 50 chaturanga’s–that’s a lot of Yogi Push-ups! Chaturanga is an extremely challenging posture, but one that offers so many benefits. I think it’s especially important for women to work on chaturanga, and other upper body yoga moves, since we tend to have less upper body strength than men. Chaturanga tones our arms (especially the triceps), shoulders, chest, back, hips, thighs, abs and waist.
When done properly, chaturanga can help us with scapula stabilization and core control. This posture can also keep our shoulders safe and strengthen our entire body. When our shoulders dip forward in chaturanga; or we don’t engage our abdominals, hips, buttocks and thighs as we lower in to this pose, we can injure ourselves. Allowing the heads of the shoulders to dip further than the elbows time and time again, can lead to rotator cuff strains and tears; as well as put excess force on our elbow and wrist joints.
It is important to think of chaturanga as a pulling exercise not a pressing exercise. As you lower down in to chaturanga, pull your shoulder blades together (as if you are squeezing an orange between them) and down away from your ears. Keep your legs active and strong and your abdominals engaged to make sure your body stays in one straight line as you descend. If you find your shoulders rounding forward, drop your knees or don’t go as low. As you continue to practice you will build up the strength needed to perform this move properly and you’ll sculpt long, lean yogi muscles!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!