Hump Day Yoga: Chaturanga Dandasana Sequence

>> Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some questions we have recently received via Twitter revolve around strength training and running. I think I've written before, but for those of you who are new to (never home)maker . . . I do yoga for all my strength training. The plank pose is amazingly effective at developing arm and core strength. Combine it with the chaturanga dandasana move ending in upward-facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana), and you've got yourself a great strength training workout for the upper-body -- without barbells and all the grunting weightlifters.

Here's the whole sequence:

As you can see, I'm not perfect at it. And Stephen didn't get a good picture of when I got into the exact chaturanga dandasana position (where you're hovering above the ground, like this person is). And below I break it down the best I can (then let the experts show you the rest!).


This one's easy. Just get your body moving as if you're going to do full pushups. But instead of actually doing a pushup, hold yourself there -- drawing on your core muscles and arms to balance yourself. Try to keep your back straight and your tailbone tucked in. On me, it looks like I'm not doing this. But I assure you, it's just my luscious booty that makes me look sloppy.

Start by trying to hold this post for 10 seconds. Then 20. Then 30. Try to work up to 1 minute. It's hard, and I'm still trying to get a full minute in. Stephen, on the other hand, could hold this one all day!


I always thought this name referred to the whole sequence. But I am gathering that "chaturanga" is the pose where your body is hovering parallel to the floor (please correct me if I'm wrong -- I'm certainly no expert). In my mind, the way to do this pose is to slowly lower yourself from the plank position. Keep elbows as tucked into your body as possible -- almost touching your ribs as you lower yourself to the ground. And then, like I said, hover . . . keeping your back straight, pelvis tucked.

This lady can show you how it's done far better than I can:


After you've finished hovering for a while, push through to upward-facing dog. Your arms go straight, your back is slightly arched. Ribs open so you can breathe. Your legs straight behind you -- off the ground, balancing on feet and hands. In the photo above, I'm doing my feet all wrong. They should be pointed away from you -- toes under. Your gaze should go to the sky. Or ceiling.

Hold here for 30 seconds to a full minute. Then repeat the whole sequence.

If you're new to the whole Hump Day Yoga craze (OK. It's optimistic calling it a "craze" just yet), check out last week's post on standing balance poses . . . and our first installment focused on building leg balance/strength -- warrior II.

And don't forget to add yourself to this month's BLOG LOVE FEST!

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