An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How To Do Chatturanga in Yoga

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How To Do Chatturanga in Yoga

Perhaps because I've "fallen out of love" with running for the time being, I've really picked up my slack in going to yoga classes.

When I first started taking yoga classes in 2011, I had NO idea what I was doing. I parked my mat in the back of the class, and would look at the other students when the teacher would say the name of a pose in sanskrit, leaving me thinking, "What in the what did she just say?!" A lot of those first classes were just trying to make it through without falling on my face.

Since then, I've attended a large handful of yoga workshops, and completed my RYT 200 hour training to become a yoga instructor.

I learned that each pose actually has quite a bit going on in it! The more I grow my practice, the more I understand that the "easy" poses are quite possibly the most challenging. I thought I would break down some of the most common postures so that you can head into a yoga class with confidence. I don't list out "correct form" for you to simply look like a rock star on the mat; no, it's important to have correct form so that you don't injure yourself and so that you get maximum benefits from a pose.

And side note for all you runners, yoga is an absolute MUST if you want to improve your running and stay injury free. Go check out a class!

Yoga Pose: Chatturanga
Correct form:
Shoulders should be directly over wrists, elbows pointing forward, abs engaged to hold your body in a straight line.

Before bending elbows, lean forward so that your shoulders are over your wrists.

Bend elbows to 90 degrees, arms hugging the side body the whole time.

Make sure to avoid:

Can you see how my shoulders are behind my wrists and my rump is up in the air so that my abs aren't engaged? Bad form!

My arms are coming out to the side (like a traditional push up) instead of hugging my sides. Bad form!

Because push ups are a ton of work, I flopped down to my belly, bent my arms further than 90 degrees and my arms are still wide. Bad form!

Chatturanga is one of the most difficult yoga poses. (Trust me, taking these photos was a challenge!) If you're not quite strong enough to hold yourself with your elbows only bent to 90 degrees, put your knees down. That's completely okay, and in fact, usually encouraged in the beginning of any yoga flow to allow your body to warm up first! It's when you flop, don't engage your core and hold bad form that you run the risk of injuring yourself.

I hope that helps in better aligning your chatturanga's during class and gives you more confidence as you head on to your mat - whether it's your first yoga class or you're a seasoned pro!


18 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm so happy to see this post. You know I've wanted to get into yoga for a while, now. My main draw back is my bad wrist. Is there a way to do chatturanga that's easy on the wrists? Maybe fist your hands or something? I know there's "wrist friendly" yoga, but would any instructor know that, or just one who teaches a special "wrist friendly" class? I know of a class I want to attend, but I don't want to be #1. new. #2. asking the instructor for 1000000 different wrist friendly poses I can do while everyone else is doing crow.

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    1. There are definitely ways to accommodate wrist issues! I'll text you about this :)

      Your fears are common, and kept me from trying yoga for YEARS before I was brave enough to get on the mat for the first time!

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  2. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I always do the chatturanga wrong and every makes it look so easy! It's not haha I also struggle with downward dog. I'm a little out of love with running too and yoga might be just what my stressed out self needs. Some strengthening, stretching and mind relaxation. Congrats on finishing our 200 hours! That's a huge accomplishment

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    1. Chatturanga and downward facing dog are two of the most challenging poses! I literally fell over multiple times when hubs was taking these photos. YES YES YES, go do some yoga! It's the best for runner-burnout :)

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  3. Oh my gosh! Thank you for posting this. I have never been able to master chatturanga and it's always been such a frustration for me.
    Why did no one ever tell me to lean forward? Makes total sense, I've always just tried to lower myself straight down, which obviously doesn't work. Hello light bulb moment! Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!!!

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    1. Yay! Learning forward is what enables you to properly align your arms next to your body. You want your wrists right in line with your nipples, so leaning forward is the way to get you there :)

      So glad this helped!! That made my day.

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  4. Whenever I take a yoga class, I pretty much look like your "dont" pictures LOL!! It's really something I've been wanting to get better at!

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    1. I looked like that for a few years! Yoga is challenging, and this pose is seriously tough. Practice makes perfect, right?!

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  5. Love this post! I haven't found anywhere to practice in my new city yet so my mat has a comfortable home on my living room floor haha keep these posts coming girl! love it! x

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    1. Thanks lady! And there's absolutely nothing wrong with practicing yoga at home - I did it when Henry was a newborn and I do it whenever it's too cold to leave the house in the winter :)

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  6. this pose is seriously so hard. i do the erin motz videos and she does it so fast that in trying to keep up i do it incorrectly. gah!

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    1. I'm going to go ahead and say that this pose might quite possibly be THE most challenging pose! Don't worry about doing it incorrectly now - you'll get there with practice!

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  7. Oh my goodness... I remember the first time I tried to do proper form on chatturanga. BURN! I think I probably just fell on the floor. Now, even though I'm not 100% perfect, I feel like proper form is actually easier than non-proper form. Funny how that works.. Haha!

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    1. Oh girl, it wasn't just the first time I did yoga... I fell to the floor for the whole first couple of years! And you're so right. Now that I have the form down, I think it's far easier than bad form. I had to sit and think about what I've seen people do in classes before taking the pics because that proper form gets engrained in you!

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  8. Look at those gorgeous arms! I love the long lean lines yoga gives you!!!!! I like these post keep em coming!

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    1. Oh, thank you! It's funny, I have good tone but girlllllll let me tell you: I can only do about three pull ups and ten real push ups. Why is that?! I could do yoga and barre all day, and would fail miserably at CrossFit.

      You know who else has gorg arms? YOU! You're going to rock that wedding dress in a few months ;)

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  9. Ugh I'm guilty of shoving the elbows out to the side. I'm going to be going through this checklist next time I'm doing yoga! thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome! And to be honest, my form is still far from perfect. But that's why we practice, right?! So that we can improve - not be flawless :)

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