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Spotlight on Chaturanga Dandasana

Spotlight on Chaturanga Dandasana. Learn about the importance of this empowering yoga asana and all you need to know about it.

Love it or hate it, Chaturanga Dandasana is a gem of the yoga asanas. Strong, fierce and balancing, this heating asana comes with many physical and therapeutic benefits. 

Let’s explore further the alignment, benefits and different variations of Chaturanga Dandasana otherwise known as four limbed staff pose. 

Why do we practice Chaturanga

Known best for its appearance in most Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) styles and Vinyasa flows, Chaturanga Dandasana is a very important part of any asana practice (excluding Yin & Restorative). It can be understood as the link between a series of postures, mainly to bring the body back into neutral alignment and to develop physical and mental strength and momentum for the next asana.
When practicing this asana, the whole body is active; the trunk including the shoulders, back/spine, the hips and lower body are in one line. The elbows are bent and ideally in line with the wrists, although during a flow this does not always happen (sometimes the wrists end up slightly forward, so try to shift the body forward a little when possible to get the alignment). The neck/cervical spine is in line with the while spine and drishti is forward or slightly down.

Variations and modifications

Chaturanga requires a lot of body strength, particularly in the arms, shoulders and back muscles so it can take time to practice in its original form. But as with most asanas, there are variations and modifications that we can take, to teach our body safely how to practice it. 

1.Practice with the knees down

Spotlight on Chaturanga Dandasana modified variation with the knees down

2.Use the support of a yoga block under each shoulder or under the chest and hold for a few moments each time.

Spotlight on Chaturanga Dandasana modified variation using the support of a yoga block

3.Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana – One legged variation

Spotlight on Chaturanga Dandasana modified variation with one leg up
Spotlight on Chaturanga Dandasana modified variation with one leg up

4.Go as low as you can and then allow the body to gently release on the mat in prone position. This helps when transitioning to the next asana by giving the body time/a slight pause to gain its strength and transition. 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana

Physical benefits:

Strengthens the whole body

Helps to bring the body in neutral alignment

Develops a strong core and shoulders

Helps to stimulate digestion

Helps to develop a strong foundation/body and mind balance

Helps to improve posture when practices in the correct alignment 

Therapeutic benefits:


Helps to focus the mind


Energetic benefits:

Activates Manipura chakra/solar plexus energy channel