For years, I thought I was doing chaturanga the right way (often thought of as the yoga push-up or the tricep push-up). I thought my form was awesome! I also thought it didn’t really matter how good my form was in this particular pose. I had no idea that it was the foundation for so many arm balances!

Then I started practicing yoga every day, and I started studying chaturanga in detail. And I realized, all those years I had been doing it wrong! Thus, over the past several months, I have worked toward perfecting my chaturanga.

There are lots of benefits linked to perfecting your yoga push-up. For starters, it’s a great strengthener, strengthening your core, arms, back, and wrists (strong wrists are super important for those arm balances). And, as I mentioned earlier, all of this strengthening is supa good for developing the strength required to eventually get into those infamous arm balances in the first place.


Steps to Mastering Your Chaturanga Dandasana:

  1. Start in plank pose. Your shoulders should be above your wrists.
  2. On an inhale, roll forward on your toes, bringing your shoulders forward of your wrists and your heels above the balls of your feet. (This, for me, has been the key to correcting my form in this pose. I wasn’t rolling forward enough, and the next step ended up out of alignment.)
  3. On an exhale, begin to lower down, keeping your elbows drawn in to your sides. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows directly above your wrists. If you didn’t roll forward on those toes enough in the last step, this is where you’ll see some misalignment.
  4. Your goal is to keep your body as straight as possible. Don’t sag your center or stick your butt in the air (as you can see, I’m still struggling with this a bit, as I tend to pop my butt up just a little).
  5. Hold the pose for as long as possible. Start with 5 seconds, and build your way up to 10, 15, or even 30 seconds.
  6. To come out of the pose, you have two choices. Either lower down all the way to the floor (nice release!) or challenge yourself even more and see if you can push back up into plank pose (wow — that’s a challenge!).