Improve Your Chaturanga Dandasana


Any time the body performs an action muscles are recruited by the nervous system to carry out the directives of the brain. Unfortunately our muscles don’t always work as they are supposed to. In such a case the body will still carry out the action, it just might not be performed all that eloquently.

When we do the chaturanga prep pose in the video above there are a variety of muscles that attach to the shoulder blades that are meant to engage and stabilize the shoulder blades in place when the pelvis lifts up off of the floor.

If this doesn’t go well for someone, it is usually one of two things that happen. When the pelvis attempts to lift off of the floor:

  • The head of the arm bone often turns down towards the floor as the muscles of the back (lower trapezius if often the culprit) fail to inhibit the pectoralis minor which pulls the shoulder blade forward and down.
  • The lack of core tone forces the shoulders and chest to lift up to try and get the pelvis off of the floor (it is usually a losing battle).

If the muscles of the back fail to keep the shoulder blades stable on the trunk then jathara parivartanasana can help activate the muscles that can make achieving chaturanga dandasana easier. When done in the fashion of the video above- keeping the shoulders grounded to the floor- it is also one of the best rotator cuff strengtheners out there (it probably deserves a video of its own). I am a big fan of techniques/tricks that combine two poses in order to make one of them more accessible. There is a ton of information to be gleaned from this kind of work, both consciously and unconsciously.

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