Four-limbed staff pose, known as chaturanga dandasana in Sanskrit, builds muscle in the arms, chest, and core. The pose, the yoga version of a push-up, also strengthens the arms and wrists in preparation for arm balancing poses.
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Chaturanga is a powerful strengthening pose that prepares the arms for the heavy weight of arm balances. Repeating or holding chaturanga throughout your practice builds toned, muscular arms.
Practitioners with severe back problems, high blood pressure, or heart conditions should stay away from challenging chaturangas.
Chaturanga is an essential component of sun and moon salutations (surya namaskara and chandra namaskara). In these salutations, it is the transition pose between downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) and cobra pose (bhujangasana) or upward facing dog (urdhva mukha svanasana).
Chaturanga strengthens the front of the body almost exclusively. A power yoga flow with frequent chaturangas, then, is often an uneven workout. Counter chaturangas with upward plank pose (purvottanasana, setu asana), which stretches the front of the body while it strengthens the opposing muscles in the back.