Chaturange Dandasana and using blocks with your arms to teach the shape of the pose.

4 Ways to Modify Chaturanga Dandasana With Props

Leah Sugerman, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Updated: 
September 18, 2022

Chaturanga Dandasana might be one of the most challenging and common postures in yoga. Also known as Four-Limbed Staff Pose or a Low Yogic Push-Up, this difficult asana shows up time and time again in many different styles of practice.

But it’s a really, really hard pose! And most yogis don’t feel very comfortable practicing this super-challenging shape. So rather than feeling left out when the rest of your class is flowing through their vinyasas, grab some props to modify Chaturanga Dandasana to make it more accessible!

Here Are 4 Different Ways to Modify Chaturanga Dandasana With Props

For these variations, you’ll need some clear wall space, two yoga blocks, and a strap.

1. Wall Chaturanga DandasanaPracticing Chaturanga Dandasana at the wall

This variation is especially helpful for practitioners who struggle to bear weight in their arms or wrists.

  1. Find some clear wall space and come to stand in front of it.

  2. Place your hands on the wall roughly shoulder-width apart, just slightly lower than shoulder height.

  3. Spread your fingers wide and evenly space between them. Root down into the perimeter of your palms and gently grip the wall with your fingertips.

  4. Lift your heels and tiptoe your feet back behind you until you create a straight line from the crown of your head down to your heels so that it looks like you’re in a Plank Pose at the wall. 

  5. Cinch in around your waistline and energetically squeeze your legs toward each other.

  6. Inhale as you lengthen your spine and exhale as you bend your elbows straight back behind you and lower your chest toward the wall. 

  7. Inhale and root firmly into your palms to press the wall away from you and straighten your arms again back up into your Wall Plank shape.

  8. Option to repeat as many times as you’d like.

2. Blocked Body Chaturanga DandasanaHow to use blocks to demonstrate alignment in Chaturanga Dandasana.

This variation helps to support the weight of your torso as you learn to build strength to hold Chaturanga.

  1. Place one block on its medium height setting in the center of your mat and another block also on its medium height setting just slightly forward in front of that with the long edges of the block parallel to the short edge of your mat.

  2. Come into Plank Pose over the blocks with your shoulders stacked over your wrists.

  3. Lean the weight of your torso forward ever so slightly, and then bend your elbows straight back behind you to lower your pelvis onto one block and your ribcage onto the other.

  4. Hold here as you kick back through your feet. Squeeze your legs toward each other and activate your core. Lengthen the crown of your head forward toward the top of your mat.

  5. Option to press the floor away and rise back up into Plank or to lower your knees to the floor and press up off the blocks.

  6. Option to repeat as many times as you’d like.

3. Blocked Arms Chaturanga DandasanaChaturange Dandasana and using blocks with your arms to teach the shape of the pose.

This variation helps to support the weight of your shoulders so that you can find the positioning of your shoulder joints in this pose.

  1. Place two blocks on their highest height setting at the top of your mat, slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. 

  2. Come into Plank Pose with your hands just behind the blocks.

  3. Lean the weight of your torso forward ever so slightly, and then bend your elbows straight back behind you to lower your shoulders onto the blocks.

  4. Hold here as you kick back through your feet. Squeeze your legs toward each other and activate your core. Lengthen the crown of your head forward toward the top of your mat.

  5. Option to press the floor away and rise back up into Plank or to lower your knees to the floor and press up off the blocks.

  6. Option to repeat as many times as you’d like.

4. Strapped Chaturanga DandasanaAnother variation of Chaturanga Dandasana using a strap around the arms to lean alignnment,

This variation helps to support your ribcage and your shoulders at the same time and really helps you to find an appropriate height for your Chaturanga Dandasana.

  1. Make a loop in your strap that is roughly the width of your shoulders. Loop the strap around your arms just above your elbows.

  2. Come into Plank Pose with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and strongly activate your full body. Kick back through your heels and energetically squeeze your legs together. Three-dimensionally, hug in around your core and stretch the crown of your head forward.

  3. Ever so slightly, lean the weight of your torso forward until your shoulders move just past the crease of your wrists. 

  4. Bend your elbows straight back behind you and lower your torso toward the floor until your strap “catches” you. 

  5. Hold here and continue to activate your whole body. Check the height of your shoulders and remember this for when you practice Chaturanga unsupported. It’s usually higher than most students think.

  6. Option to press the floor away and rise back up into Plank or to lower your knees to the floor and press up off the strap.

  7. Option to repeat as many times as you’d like.

Play With Props to Make Your Chaturanga Dandasana Practice More Accessible

While Chaturanga is an extremely challenging pose, it can be modified to feel more supported and accessible. So play around with various props to find a version of Chaturanga Dandasana that you actually feel excited to practice!

 

 

Julie Gudmestad, Yoga teacher, Yoga therapist,  Yoga and Anatomy, Yoga for healthy feet and ankles

 

Leah SugermanLeah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless schools and traditions of the practice. She teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied, emphasizing breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings, both internationally and online. For more information, visit www.leahsugerman.com.