One of the most challenging (but fundamental) shapes in a vinyasa practice is Chaturanga. Most flow classes have at least a few thrown in, especially if you’re starting your practice with Sun Salutations. I get a ton of questions about this shape, and have seen a million ways to do it incorrectly, so let’s break it down!
TODAY’S SHAPE: CHATURANGA
- From your plank, start by shifting forward onto your fingertips and tiptoes, then back into your palms a few times. The goal here is to train your body to shift your shoulders forward of your wrists.
- With your weight shifted forward, engage your body into one line. Legs are strong as you kick through your heels, abs are pulling in.
- Starting to bend your elbows backwards (not out to the sides), resist the urge to drop your hips first. Keeping your arms squeezing in towards your ribs, your whole body descends in one piece until your shoulders are at the same height as your elbows. The goal is a 90 degree bend, so make sure your shoulders came forward enough that your palms and elbows end up back by your lower ribs!
- Collarbones should feel broad and open, shoulder blades pulling down and back to keep your shoulders pointing forward not down.
- If you find that you cant keep your body in one line, or your shoulders don’t make it down to elbow height (or drop past that point!), drop your knees. Theres a ton of strength required to do this correctly, and building that up is extremely important. I did chaturanga on my knees for a year!! If your knees are dropped, just remember that your hips should still be in line with your torso (abs in, no booty popping!)
- Slow down! So many people swoop through chaturanga and go straight to updog. This is a separate pose, and should be treated as such. Pause at the bottom, squeeze your muscles and finish your exhale, then move on.
Ready to take it a step further?
If you’re ready for jumpbacks, try keeping your legs straight and remember to land softly with BENT elbows!
Questions? Reach out, I’m more than happy to help!