Yoga- Evolving the Push Up

Updated: May 21, 2019




Build better arms and core with Yoga’s version of the Chaturanga. Chaturanga Dandasana, an adaptation of the push-up, is one of the staples of bodybuilding and can change your body. Not only is this move critical for triceps shoulders and pectoralis, but done properly it can modify your entire upper body.


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Ladies, we're always trying to tone our arms, well, this is one way to do so. For ladies that already do several push ups a day, this can only complement what you are already doing and you may even notice more strength.


In almost every Vinyasa class this staple move is a transition from floor to stand. It is a four limbed staff intended to hold you when you most need it. Surprisingly, athletes study this very move to improve their core, their strength and overall agility. Even Ninja Warrior athletes use this as one of their core training staples.


First start in plank pose. Alignment is key for this move and it will improve your posture as it strengthens back muscles as well. Keep hands directly underneath your shoulders, feet hip-distance apart, and heels stacked over your toes. Pull the navel in to engage your core. Extend your sternum forward as you press your heels back, so that you feel your body getting long and strong. Draw the front of your thighs toward the ceiling—but don't allow the tailbone to follow, or you'll wind up with your butt stuck up high in the air. Instead, release your tailbone toward your heels and notice how that makes you more compact at your center.


Keeping your gaze on the floor, look slightly forward so that the crown of your head is parallel with the line of your spine. From this plank pose, drop your knees to the floor and keep your core tight. Inhale, drawing the heads of the shoulders up away from the floor and reemphasizing the lift in your belly as you direct the tip of your tailbone down. 


Exhale, bend your elbows, keeping them drawn in against your sides, and slowly lower yourself toward the floor. The more I study Chaturanga Dandasana, the better I understand its purpose. I’ve always loved pushups, I do 100 pushups a day to maintain my upper body strength but this move in particular fascinates me. I often sway in this position as well as I want to ensure that my core is tight, my arms are close to my body and I can feel my back muscles tightening.


In my mind’s eye, I imagine a suspended person awaiting progression. It’s as if you have somewhere to go but have not arrived. It touches upon enjoying the journey, something I struggle with internally. By practicing this pose, I’ve been able to work on that journey as well.


For many of you seeking a deeper practice, I encourage you to spend some time on this particular pose and to study it. It is not simply a push up but so much more. I look forward to your comments.


Eat well. Sweat often.

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