If you practice vinyasa yoga and want to maximize stability, strength and sustainability in your shoulder joint, here are 3 ways to practice chaturanga. Chaturanga is a challenging and demanding pose and it's really hard to work on technique and skill while doing the hard thing! These 3 'drills' allow you to practice hugging the upper arm bones and elbows in by your sides to keep your shoulders healthy in chaturanga. They will also help you build strength required to come into the pose.
Last month, in my classes, we worked on strengthening posterior shoulder muscles. We will progressively continue to build strength in this area as we practice “drills” to learn chaturanga this month.
Drills? In a yoga class?? Yup. I believe that when you are learning something, repetition is key. I also believe that repeating the basic fundamentals is valuable.
Think about baseball - from t-ball, to high school to the MLB - players continue to practice hitting off a T.
Golf - you practice at the driving range.
Playing an instrument - you practice your scales - even when you know how to play songs.
Yoga is no different - it’s a subject matter and there are things to learn. And if you want to have any longevity in this practice we want to make our practice sustainable. Many of us who practice yoga, practice often. And if we practice vinyasa yoga, we demand a lot from our shoulders. I want my students to learn how to keep their shoulders healthy and stable for the long haul, after all we only get 1 set of shoulders.
So here we are… practicing drills to create a strong foundation in which to build chaturanga on. Maybe we’ll “do” the full expression of chaturanga by the end of the month… maybe we continue with pieces of chaturanga… any amount is still the pose. It’s all still building good strength stability and control in a joint that needs strength and stability (and yes range of motion is important, but that’s not our focus in this article ;) )
Here's 3 ways to practice chaturanga:
Use a block to support your weight
With a block on it's highest setting, align it so as you lower down your sternum can rest right on the block. The block will support your weight so you can focus on getting your upper arm bones and elbows to 'hug in'. This still requires your core to work!
Mini Push-ups with both knees down
Having both knees on the ground gives you support
1 knee down
Yes! You don't have to go from having 2 knees down to no knees down and straight legs. Try it with 1 knee down!
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions or comments!
As always this is just my own opinion based on my experience and knowledge at this time. There’s always more to learn and consider. Not all exercises work for everyone, so please listen to your body and do what is best for you.