This is a powerful pose and can help to build your upper body strength quickly.
It also has the ability to cause problems if you don’t perform it well. With powerful poses comes a certain responsibility to practise them with care and at the level you are at.
So what are the benefits?
Strength !! And lots of it - in your wrists, arms, shoulders, chest, core. Even in your inner thighs if you learn to engage them.
Some of the things to be mindful about.
- Make sure you can perform this pose with all the alignment principles in place with the knees down! Only then try the full version.
- Shoulders are secured on the back, press the inner edges of the shoulder blades towards the outer edges so they widen on the back and you end up with “no cleavage or valley” between the shoulder blades.
- Elbows are on top of the wrist and shoulders in line with the elbows (not below them). This way you end up with a 90 degree angle between the upper and lower arm. Always keep the front of the shoulders away from the floor, your gaze is a little in front of you.
- Lower ribs are drawn in.
- Tailbone reaches towards the heels, keeping the back long and front body lifts in the back body.
- Elbows are always pointing straight back no matter at what stage you are in the pose.
Practise strengthening your serratus anterior regularly. This is the muscle responsible for keeping the shoulder girdle healthy and being able to fill the “valley” between the shoulder blades. People with “winged” shoulder blades usually have weak serratus anterior muscle.
In Plank pose, keeping the arms straight, push the space between the shoulder blades up and let it sink a little, repeat for about 5-10 times. If this is too much do this with the knees down.
Have a look at my step-by-step instructions on Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Workshop - Free video
Below a great yoga video, Chaturanga workshop with David Lurey, for more useful tips.