~:~ practice, practice, and all is coming ~:~ so often softly spoken by our beloved Guruji Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915 – 2009)
Chaturanga Dandasana (or Chaturanga for short) – the four limbed staff pose – embodies in physical form the noble quality of Discipline. It is a challenging pose that requires the co-ordination of many muscles and direct focus to do it correctly.
Therefore, during the Asana practice, there is a strikingly unusual tendency to rush through it leading to the creation of for example the half chaturanga- half up-dog posture; the mat belly flop; etc. Not doing Chaturanga correctly can lead the head of the shoulder rounding forward and stress in the shoulder joint; strain in the lower back; etc.
Hence, it is very important to follow the right technique to get into Chaturanga.
Start from plank:
- Hands under elbows
- Elbows under shoulders
- Abdominals and low ribs pulled in; core engaged
- Thighs pushing up
- Heels pushing back
- Neck long
- Hug all your muscles into the midline of the body
- Roll way forward on your toes – even more than you think you should. (This ensures you will lower down with your arms in a 90° angle.)
- Now begin to lower down until your arms form a 90° angle and stop just at that point. Your hands will be near your lower ribs (not under the shoulders). Do not go any lower.
- Use a block to help you become aware of how low to go
Do this while keeping the following in mind:
- Keep your core engaged just as in plank—abdominals and ribs really pulled in
- Hug your elbows into the sides of your body
- Keep the tops of your shoulders pulled back away from your ears and pointing straight forward, not drooping forwards and down.
- Keep the chest broad and open up the collar bones to make a big smile
Indeed it does take regular and consistent practice to perfect the Chaturanga but once the technique is set in the memory of the cells, it stays with you.
So it is with life experiences.
In this era of having everything available on tap, it may seem old-fashioned to wait for success, reward, dreams to be fulfilled. And it may sound even more ludicrous that you would have to go through difficulties, challenges and pain to get it. And yet this remains the case. So learning from our Chaturanga experience, by persevering patiently in a disciplined fashion, this should also lead us to achieving our objectives in life.
As John Quincy Adams – the sixth President of the USA is attributed to have said – “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”