Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbs Staff Pose)
In this pose the body is kept firm and straight while being held off the floor by the action of the arms, legs and torso. This strengthens the legs and upper body and tones the muscles of the back.
1. Lie on the floor, face down.
2. Bend your elbows and place your palms by the sides of your chest. Keep your index fingers pointing forward, spread your palms and press the finger mounds down. Pull your elbows in to your body and don't let them wing out.
3. Spread your feet one foot apart and tuck your toes under, facing toward your head.
4. Pull your elbows into your body and draw your shoulder blades down away from your ears to open the chest and lengthen the neck. Lift your thighs off the floor and tighten your knees. Extend back through the heels. These actions bring firmness into the body.
MANOA YOGA CENTER
Alison Sherwood demonstrates the Chaturanga Dandasana pose.
5. Now with an exhalation, lift a few inches off the floor.
6. Tuck your tailbone in and do not let the buttocks stick up. Keep your legs firm. Look forward with the back of your neck long and gaze with soft eyes, breathing quietly.
7. Stay for a few seconds and then come down and rest. Repeat.
As you gain strength, place your hands even with your lower ribs and press up into the pose.
If lifting from the floor is difficult, start in Downward-Facing Dog Pose (starbulletin.com/ 2005/10/16/features/yoga.html), then come to Plank Pose (last week's column), and then return to Chaturanga Dandasana.
Chaturanga Dandasana prepares the body for Upward-Facing Dog Pose which we will feature next week.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.