Chaturanga for Beginners: 3 Exercises for Building Strength
Now that you’ve nailed the perfect plank, it’s time to prep for chaturanga a.k.a the yoga pushup. Chaturanga is one of those poses that has somehow become synonymous with yoga and yogis. And while there are a lot of benefits to doing chaturanga – performing this pose by no means grants you any special yogi status nor will it be a determining factor in your everyday peace of mind. That said, chaturanga can help you to cultivate resliance (because you will probably fall and have to get back up again), build confidence and of course, strengthen your upper body. Chaturanga is a stepping stone towards working on arm balances as well – which let’s face it, can sometimes just be fun to work on.
So here we go. From plank pose, the first exercise is to come onto your tippy toes for a few breaths and then move back to plank. When you move into chaturanga, you will need to come onto your toes (as opposed to the balls of your feet) in order to lower down at the right angle (catch the pun?) for your arms and wrists. So just rocking forward for a breaths will help you to get used to the extra strength you will need to get to the next step.
The next exercise is to practice mini push-ups. This means lowering your body down an inch or two (or three) at a time and then pressing back into plank pose. Make sure you move onto your toes first and then practice doing drills – about 10 mini pushups at a time. If lowering down even an inch is too difficult, start on your knees and work up to being able to do them from plank pose, just like you would with regular pushups. If you are lowering from plank position, the key is to keep your hips in line with your shoulders. And remember, you are not actively bending your elbows. You are simply lowering your chest down and your elbows will bend without you actively doing anything.
The last exercise is to lower all the way down to the ground in one long line, so that your hips and chest reach the ground at the same time. In the beginning, you will probably collapse the last few inches. And that’s okay. Keep practicing until you can lower down with control.
Once you’ve practiced those three moves, you can work on refining your technique using props as a guide. Those will tips will be on the blog next week along with a how-to video on including props in your sun salutation to help your chaturanga get better and better. Keep practicing and remember, falling is all part of the fun.