Not Chatur- “Wrong. Uh!”
How do I do chaturanga without hurting my shoulder? -Aubrey K., Fishtown
Chaturanga, or as I like to call it: “a mindful yoga push-up,” can be a great way to build strength in the upper back and shoulders. If done with good alignment. Practicing chaturanga misaligned could be a shoulder shredder!
Be powerful and engaged, NOT painful and enraged!
Here are the Steps for a stellar Chaturanga :
Starting on hands and knees:
- Place the hands with the center of the wrist under the outer shoulder.
- Knees under your hips.
- Wrists make a straight line across the mat.
- Arms fully straight.
- Shoulders even on the back.
Walk the knees 4-6 inches further back, tuck the toes and step back to high plank (top of a push-up).
- Make your legs straight.
- Feet vertical.
- Wrist stay under the shoulders.
- Arms stay straight.
- Shoulders even on the back
- Keep a natural curve in your low back.
While lowering down to low-plank, chaturanga:
- Keep the chin angled forward, gaze slightly forward, about a foot in front of your fingertips.
- Bend the elbows slightly away from the ribs.
- Only lower down as far as you can keep power in the shoulders and upper back.
- Do Not: squeeze your elbows in against the ribs!
- Do Not: lower down so far that the head of the arm-bones round forward (aka slouching the upper back like a computer/slouch pose!
- Do Not: let your hips hammock/drop towards the floor.
For Stronger/tighter Shoulders:
- Try bending the elbows further away from the body while lowering down to keep the power in the upper back.
For those who are not yet strong enough to do a push-up:
- Practice chaturanga on the knees, with good alignment.
- Practice chaturanga non-weight baring while standing in tadasana.
- Do not sacrifice alignment just to do a push-up.
- Get stronger!
There you have it. Share these videos, and let’s save everyone from shoulder pain! One chaturanga at a time.