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: ChatturangaCorrect 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!