Plank to Chaturanga
One of the most common transitions in any Vinyasa based yoga style, as well as a part of the cycle of Sun Salutation.
Why is it so important?
💡 it's a movement we repeat over and over again.
💡 it can lead to some issues in the shoulders or lower back if not done carefully.
💡 has the potential to develop useful stability and strength that benefit other transitions.
In order to be able to lower down with control from Plank to Chaturanga we need a certain level of strength in the shoulders, arms and core!
The ultimate "Stability Pose"!
⭐ We push down through the palms of the hands and all ten toes.
⭐ We keep the lower belly in and the deep core engaged (abdomen, pelvic floor, hip flexors, lower back).
⭐ We stabilize the shoulders by rounding the shoulder blades and activating muscles around the shoulder girdle and side ribs.
⭐ We lengthen the back of the neck and gaze softly towards the ground, slightly forward.
Try to hold for one minute and see if you can maintain all the above.
(Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
The distant cousin of Plank Pose!
⭐Has the same characteristics with a closer proximity to earth.
⭐ Requires more shoulder/arm/core strength to hold firmly.
Try to hold for 5 breaths.
If you can't - continue with easier variations until you build the required strength.
How do we build up towards this transition?
Step 1: Hold plank and make sure you -
Keep the hip in the middle, not lifted up or dropping down too much.
Send the tailbone down towards the floor.
Press your hands down and round the back of the shoulders.
Keep the core firm (abdomen, pelvic floor, hip-flexors, lower back).
If you can't do one or more of the above - practice Plank at home with your knees on or off the floor.
Step 2: Lowering down with your knees on the floor
Don't lose the essence of a plank on your way down!
Stop half way with your elbows at about 90 degree angle and see if you can keep the firmness and stability.
If not - keep moving downward slow and steady with your knees on the floor until you lay flat on your belly.
If you can - gradually increase the duration until you can comfortably hold the halfway down position for 5 breaths.
Step 3: Introducing Chaturanga
Stay halfway down, elbows at about 90 degree angle, legs straight, heals reach back, and make sure you can keep the core firm, lower back supported, and the shoulders stable.
If not - go back to step 2!
Step 4: Continue from Chaturanga
When your Chaturanga Dandasana is stable and firm you can continue the Vinyasa, moving with the breath to Cobra Pose or Upward Facing Dog (see earlier Newsletter).
Important side note!
Skipping steps and trying to do this transition before we develop adequate strength will almost certainly lead to pain or discomfort. Work towards it with patience and diligence and don't be too eager to move through the motions.
You can embark on further investigation of these poses and more in any of the weekly classes or join the Masterclass. Sign up here!