Chaturanga Check Up

Written by Susie Nelson, Owner of The Cycling Yogi.

I find that the Chaturanga is the pose people tend to struggle with the most in my classes, especially at the beginning. In most yoga classes you can expect to Chaturanga, AKA High to Low Plank, at least a few times.


Why is Chaturanga so hard? 


Chaturanga feels so hard because of the amount of upper body strength it involves. Along with that, you have to coordinate and balance to maintain proper alignment throughout the pose. 


TIPS on Chaturanga form and alignment. 

Whether it’s your first or 500th Chaturanga, it’s important that you’re moving correctly so you don’t hurt yourself. Here’s a breakdown of moving in and out of Chaturanga so that you can feel your best while you flow.

High Plank ~ Your Chaturanga starts here!

A Few Things to Think About:

  • Hands are shoulder width and actively pressing into the mat
  • Shoulders are stacked over wrists
  • Shoulder blades are together down back
  • Press through your heels
  • Engage legs and core
  • Hips in line with heels and shoulders
  • Gaze is down and the back of the neck lengthens

Try Not To:

  • Gaze too far up or down
  • Let core drop towards the mat

Low Plank ~ To get here from High Plank, shift your weight forward on your toes, then lower down.

A Few Things to Think About:

  • Hug elbows into sides, stacked over wrists
  • Reach long through the crown of head
  • Continue to engage core and legs
  • Elbows are bent no more than 90 degrees
  • Hips are in line with heels and shoulders

Try Not To:

  • Hunch shoulders
  • Let elbows splay out
  • Let hips sag

Upward Facing Dog ~ To transition here out of Chaturanga, straighten your arms and flip over your toes. Think about:

  • Shoulders stacked over wrists
  • Press thumbs and forefingers into the mat
  • Gaze is forward
  • Open chest and draw shoulder blades together down back
  • Lift hips, knees and thighs
  • Press tops of your feet and toes into mat

Try Not To:

  • Gaze too far up
  • Let thighs drop to the mat

Don’t forget, you can always take Chaturanga on your knees or substitute Cobra Pose for Up Dog. There’s also the option to build strength by holding High Plank, then skipping straight to Down Dog. Listen to your body and do what best serves your yoga practice!


As always, please feel free to reach out to any instructor for a quick Chaturanga Check-up anytime! 

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