Four Limbed Staff Pose

(July 2, 2010)

How to Perform Four-Limbed Staff Pose?

In yoga, staff pose is called the Chaturanga Dandasana. ‘Chatur’ means ‘four’, ‘anga’ means ‘limbs’, ‘danda’ means a ‘staff or stick’ and ‘asana’ stands for a ‘yoga poses’. Hence the literal translation is Four-Limbed Staff Pose. This bending yoga pose, which can also be performed as part of the Sun Salutation sequence (Suryanamaskar), is so named because both hands and feet are used equally to balance the body. You must ensure that your back, arms and legs are strong enough to support the pose.

How to perform: To come to the Four Limbed Staff Pose, you must first perform the Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), followed by the Plank Pose. Now, open up your shoulder blades, and press your tailbone towards the pubis. Keep your spine as straight as possible, while your arms should be fully extended. Exhale, and lower your legs and torso towards the floor. Stop when they are a few inches from the mat and parallel to the floor. Your elbows should be now lined up horizontally with the spine.

You may feel that your lower back has a tendency to sway, while the tailbone seems to loosen and shoot up towards the ceiling. Prevent this by drawing your pubis firmly towards your navel, tightening the core abdominal muscles, and pointing your legs slightly inward. Hold your elbows firmly by the sides of your body by using your biceps, and push them slightly backwards. Your spine and legs should be in a straight line

Simultaneously lift your head and sternum, and look forward. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds or more. Exhale when releasing the pose. You can now lie down on your mat, or return to the Downward Facing Dog Pose, by lifting your tailbone and the top of your thighs.

Benefits: The Four Limbed Staff Pose helps to increase your flexibility, balance and stability by strengthening many muscles of the body. It strengthens the muscles of the wrists, as well as the biceps and triceps. It strengthens the core abdominal muscles and also tones the organs of the abdomen, thereby aiding better digestion and elimination of waste. It is also beneficial for strengthening and stretching the muscles of the spine, thus providing relief from many chronic back problems.

Contraindications: Do not attempt this pose if you are pregnant, or if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Also consult a medical practitioner before attempting this pose, in case you suffer from any muscular injuries or ailments. It is always advisable to learn the pose under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher.

Submitted by A on July 2, 2010 at 07:32

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