What Is the Low Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) in Yoga? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Low plank yoga pose enhances your body awareness. (Image via Pexels / Monstera)
Low plank yoga pose enhances your body awareness. (Image via Pexels / Monstera)
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Soniya Y

The low plank is also known as Chaturanga Dandasana. Why are there two different names? The shorter moniker is used in Iyengar yoga, while the longer name is found in Ashtanga, vinyasa flow and other styles.

Chaturanga is a wonderful arm balance and core strengthener. As it's a combination of a push-up and plank pose, it improves upper body strength, makes your core as strong as steel, and teaches you how to find strength from within and use it to advance to more complicated arm balances.

How to Do Low Plank Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

  • To keep the spine safe in Chaturanga, shift the plank forward, moving the shoulders in front of the wrists. This position is key to a safer low plank (Chaturanga).
  • Roll your shoulders back, but keep them on top of your upper arms. That will also naturally cause your head and neck to come up a bit out of their flat position.
  • Lower yourself to the plank, bending your elbows straight back as you go down.
  • In contrast to a regular push-up, your elbows should not wing out to the sides.
  • Notice that because your shoulders are already in front of your wrists, your forearms naturally assume an angled position on the floor.
  • The upper arms should be parallel to the floor in the ideal rendition of the position. Do not go any lower than that.
  • Instead of jumping quickly from the plank to Upward-Facing Dog, pause at the bottom before moving to the next pose.
  • Move to Upward Dog to complete the pose, maintain the chest broad. Shoulders should be relaxed and not hunched up behind the ears. You're there if you roll over your toes and straighten your arms.

Tips and Techniques for Low Plank Pose

Here are some alignment guidelines to keep in mind to ensure you do the low plank position correctly. They will help you strengthen the little and large muscles required to perform this pose easily:

  • Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between your right and left sides.
  • To avoid a shrugged-shoulders posture, pull your shoulders away from your head and neck.
  • By expanding your chest and shoulders, you can keep your chest from collapsing.
  • Allow your shoulders to remain above the level of your elbows.
  • Maintain the same height of hips and shoulders in the reduced posture. You can maintain your shoulders slightly higher than your elbows if you can't lower them to elbow height.
  • Instead of pointing to the sides, your elbows should point straight back.
  • Maintain a parallel line between your upper arms and the floor.
  • By pressing back through your heels, you can lengthen your leg muscles.

Benefits of Low Plank Pose

As it takes a lot of muscle activation and strength, Chaturanga Dandasana is good for your entire body. Here are some other benefits:

Easy to modify: Performing low plank pose correctly demands a certain amount of power and technique, which you can alter to suit a variety of fitness levels. Even if you can't complete the full expression of Chaturanga, practicing it helps you acquire strength.

Strengthens your back and core: This low plank asana aligns your entire body and strengthens your erector spinae, the muscles on either side of your spine, similar to plank exercises. That helps in attaining better core strength, posture and stability. Chaturanga can aid in the development of functional strength.

That helps you with everything from ordinary sitting and moving to more complex movements like those found in a kickboxing class. Yoga can also assist in reducing back pain, promoting flexibility and improving mental health.

Improves body awareness: As you become more aware of your body's alignment and weight distribution, you can correct imbalances and uneven weight distribution.

Common Mistakes

It's difficult to master the Chaturanga position, especially if you're used to executing it with less-than-ideal form. Keep an eye out to avoid these common mistakes:

Too much pressure on wrists

To prevent a shoulder injury, it is important to push back through your heels rather than rocking forward into Chaturanga. While that happens, the shoulders must also be gently pushed forward so that when you lower down into Chaturanga, the forearms are almost parallel with the floor.

Lowering too much

When you let your shoulders get lower than your elbows, you put a lot of weight on your shoulders and wrists. This kind of wear and tear causes injuries when you repeat the action over and over in many iterations. It's much safer to keep the shoulder level with or higher than the elbow.

Incorrect Alignment

Don't lose your alignment with the downward-facing dog. If you're sagging your hips, it's a clear sign you should drop to your knees. To build core strength, get low from the plank pose. Hug your elbows to your sides. You may even feel them hugging your torso in a low position, depending on how wide your shoulders are.

Bottom Line

Chaturanga Dandasana, also the low plank pose, is the core of any yoga practice (so use it often). It works on arm, shoulder and back, and improves core strength.

The most important thing is to make sure you keep your body anchored as you descend and maintain a straight line from your ears, through your arms to your feet.

Breathe in deeply, and relish in the movement of opening up and strengthening your entire body while also finding time to simply be still.

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Edited by Bhargav
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