Chaturanga is such an amazing pose for many reasons. The main one being it’s a great pose for toning your arms and core and increasing the difficulty of your practice. However your alignment needs to be spot on to avoid shoulder injury. Many yoga classes have sequences linking chaturanga with other poses and you could end up doing it 20 or more times in one class. There’s no denying the physical and mental challenge of hovering inches above your mat in a low plank position without losing your cool. However you may not be performing the pose as safely and correctly as you would think.
When we repeatedly perform a pose incorrectly, we risk overtaxing our joints — in this case our shoulders. I know this all too well from my own experience when I took my 200 hour yoga training over the course of 16 days. After many chaturangas I had shoulder injury/pain as I wasn’t doing the pose correctly for the first few days. After correcting my posture I was able to complete the pose with ease and no pain.
Because chaturanga is a challenging pose, we tend to rush through it without thinking about our alignment because we just want to get it over with. But not paying attention might be the biggest problem. Chaturanga relies on the coordination of so many muscles to get it right. I used to rush through it because I didn’t have proper instruction on the “how to” do it right.
To begin get in a plank position holding your legs and core muscles tight. Your arms will lower to form a 90-degree angle to the floor as you lower down from plank position, keep your arm pits closed and squeezed in towards your ribs as if you are holding something in them. That means you have to shift your body forward while in plank — much farther than you think — and broaden across your collarbones. Fire up your upper back muscles to pin your shoulder blades onto you back. Your hands should be by your lower ribs — not directly under your shoulders. Lengthen your tailbone and reach your heels towards the back of the room and keep your neck long. Through the entirety of the pose, be sure to engage your core.