How to Build Arm Strength for Chaturanga

How to Build Arm Strength for Chaturanga

Ah the infamous chaturanga dandasana! If you’re not sure what this yoga pose is, it’s the one thats a lot like a reverse press up – just like in the picture above from our beautiful Cornwall retreat. Here’s the thing. When you practice Vinyasa Flow yoga you do this pose a lot.  A LOT a lot. And it requires a very particular kind of upper body strength – say hello to your triceps, shoulders, chest and upper back. Oh and did I mention you need core strength *sighs* I mean couldn’t there be just one pose where you DONT need core strength!? 

I remember all too clearly the first time I tried to do a chaturanga in a yoga class…my arms shook and I collapsed straight on to the floor. I was in total awe of all the yogis around me who made it look so easy.  Seriously I had noooo strength in my arms to hold this pose. So if this pose is one you’re struggling with I get it – it’s tough. BUT here’s the thing. You can build the arm strength needed in no time with a few simple exercises. So, without further a do, here are my top 3 ways to build the super strength to chill in your chaturanga!

1. Use the wall

In this wall chaturanga your upper body is in the same shape as the full pose but without all your body weight behind it. It’s a great shoulder and chest strengthener and a good way to warm up your wrists.

Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at chest height. Step your feet back about half a metre (the further you step back the harder the pose will be).

Bend your elbows so your chest moves towards the wall. Stop when you’ve made a 90 degree angle in your arms. Your elbows should now be in line with your wrists and your shoulders are in line with your elbows.

Hug your elbows in towards your ribs – don’t let them bend away from your body. Keep your core engaged: lower belly drawing in and tailbone mowing down towards your heels.

Hold for as long as you can. 


2. Chaturanga Push Ups

Come down to table top pose (hands and knees), then step your knees back just behind your hips. Spread your fingers wide and press them down firmly in to the floor (this will help protect your wrists). 

Bend your elbows until you find that same 90 degree angle through the arms as in your wall chaturanga. Keep your back flat, core engaged and elbows hugging in towards your ribs. Then lift back up. Don’t let your shoulders dip below your elbows. If it’s too difficult bring your knees closer to your hands. Do as many of these as you can.

3. Block (or book) Chaturanga

This is one of my favourite ways to find your perfect chaturanga shape. If you don’t have 2 yoga blocks don’t fear my friend you can use a few books piled up to elbow high instead.

Start in the same position as your chaturanga press up. Place your blocks or books just in front of your hands, you want them to be the same height as your elbow creases. Now lower down just like in your chaturanga press up until your shoulders are supported by the blocks. Hold here for as long as you can. For an added challenge try stepping your feet back and lifting your knees in the full chaturanga shape. Please remember to keep your core strong, lower belly drawing up, so your hips don’t dip towards the floor.

Keep practicing these poses and make sure you are signed up to the Shine newsletter using the box below for the next instalment of my chaturanga blog series. Next time we’ll chat about finding your optimum alignment in the full pose. And you’ll be so strong by then!

Have you got a question about chaturanga? Comment below and let me know.



1 Comment
  • Prashant Sirohi
    Posted at 09:38h, 17 February Reply

    Good way of representation of pose. And technique is beneficial for beginners.

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