Chaturanga Dandasana or Four Limbed Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

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English Name(s)
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
चतुरंग दंडासन / Chaturanga Dandasana
CHAH-too-rahn-guh DAHN-duh AH-suh-nuh
Chaturanga: Four limbs
Danda: Staff
Asana: Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana at a Glance

Chaturanga Dandasana, also known as limbed staff pose or Low plank, is a challenging posture and an important part of the sun Salutation and integrated into the vinyasa flows. This is the base pose for the advanced arm-balance poses, which empowers and builds your confidence also a traditional push-up practiced.


  • This serves as the base pose for the advanced arm balance poses.
  • This helps to strengthen your arms, elbows, shoulders, and back.
  • It also strengthens your legs, thighs, ankles and hips.
  • It stretches and strengthens your abdomen region.
  • It enhances your confidence and willpower.

Who can do it?

Under the guidance of the yoga teacher, beginners can do this pose. Intermediate and advanced practitioners can do this pose. Sports persons can do this pose. People with good core and arm strength can do this pose. Individuals who want to increase their willpower and confidence can do this pose.

Who should not do it?

Beginners without any knowledge should avoid doing it initially. Individuals with any shoulder injury or injury to the neck, wrists, ankle, and back should avoid this pose. People with any surgeries in their abdomen, back, heart, or knees should avoid this pose. Pregnant women should avoid this pose.

How to Do Chaturanga Dandasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Before starting with this pose, do a proper warmup and stretches of your wrists, shoulders, ankles, and knees to avoid sprain or injuries.
  2. Do this pose on a mat, and it should be an anti-skip mat. Wear comfortable and stretchable clothes to have no obstruction.
  3. Come down to the plank pose. Your hands (palms) should be straight under your shoulders. Your palms are placed on the mat and grounded, and your fingers point in the front.
  4. Your head, neck, and back are in the same line. This position looks like a slide from head to heel and keeps your core muscles engaged and you’re breathing freely.
  5. Your legs are firm, and tuck your belly to your spine and squeeze your hips for stability, and your feet are on the tip of your toes.
  6. Now exhale and slowly lower your elbows (bend them) until they are the same height as the shoulders, and let your elbows hug your sides/elbows close to your body.
  7. Your upper arm should be parallel to the floor. Don’t let your elbows get away from your body; they should be at a 90-degree angle.
  8. Gaze a little ahead and maintain a straight body in a straight line, throughout the pose.
  9. Your body is balanced on your toes and both your palms. Keep your core engaged to maintain your balance and stability.
  10. Hold this full pose for a few gentle breaths, inhale, and come to the upward-facing dog or the Plank pose.
  11. When you want to come out of the Chaturanga Dandasana pose, gently bring your knees down to the ground, relax, and feel the strength of all your body parts.
  12. OR Exhale and come to the Vajrasana pose and relax, or come to the child pose to cool your body and relax your mind.

What are the Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana?

  • It helps to strengthen your arms, shoulders, wrists, lower back, ankles, and hips.
  • Chaturanga strengthens your abdominal and leg muscles and enhances your core strength.
  • It is the base pose for other advanced arm balances, as it improves arm strength.
  • It helps maintain a neutral spine alignment, which helps maintain spinal health and reduces back stress and tension.
  • It helps to stretch your muscles, which helps stretch and strengthen your entire body.
  • It enhances your physical and mental balance and boosts your confidence.
  • This helps mindfulness and deep breathing, which reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Chaturanga can build upper body strength and is the transition pose between plank and upward upward-facing dog.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Chaturanga Dandasana

  • With regular practice, this can help to reduce mild back pain.
  • This can also help to improve your body posture and improve flexibility.
  • This also helps to improve the blood circulation in your skin and can keep your skin healthy.
  • This pose stimulates your abdominal organs, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy.
  • This pose can improve your lung health by opening the chest cavity and improving the strength of muscles around the lungs.
  • This pose can help reduce extra fat from different body parts and tones.
  • This helps to boost your confidence, which helps in improving your men and physical health.
  • This can also be included with various fitness routines.

Safety and Precautions

  • Avoid practicing Chaturanga Dandasana if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder injuries, or injury in your elbow, wrist, or ankle.
  • Avoid this pose during pregnancy and also in people with high blood pressure.
  • Be sure to do the warmup and stretches before doing this pose.
  • Everybody has their limitation and flexibility so respect your body listen to the signs and follow accordingly.

Common Mistakes

  • Avoid squeezing your chest while performing this pose.
  • Don’t lower your body too low.
  • Avoid collapsing your chest.
  • Avoid letting the elbows splay/ fall out.
  • Avoid sagging your hips- to keep the stability.
  • Any pain or discomfort just comes out of the pose.
  • Don’t hold your breath, keep breathing gently in the Four-limbed staff pose.

Tips for Chaturanga Dandasana

  • Breath is very important, so keep the breath throughout the movement of the pose.
  • Following the proper alignment is important.
  • If you are a beginner, do this yoga practice under the guidance of your yoga teachers.
  • As for every asana do it on an empty stomach or 4 to 5 hours after the meal.
  • Keep your entire body engaged to get into a proper pose.
  • Tuck your belly button to your spine and keep your abdominal muscles engaged.
  • Modify it if needed, with the help of your yoga teacher.
  • Elbows tucked into your sides and stacked above your wrists.
  • Respect and listen to your body, progress gradually.
  • As a counter pose, do a downward-facing dog pose or an upward-facing dog pose.
  • Do the plank pose as the preparatory pose for the Four-limbed staff pose.

Physical Alignment Principles for Chaturanga Dandasana

  • Keep your toes tucked, spread your toes wide, and keep it active.
  • Let your feet be in the hip-width distance of a bit wider.
  • Your hips should be in line with the shoulders and your entire body parallel to the ground.
  • Your core muscles should be engaged and active and tuck your core toward the spine.
  • Keep your hips active, glutes, and your legs engaged.
  • Heels press back while the crown of the head reaches forward.
  • Your elbows should be slightly behind your wrists and elbows should be hugging your side of the body.
  • Your arms should be in the right-angle position and upper arms parallel to the ground.
  • Elbows should point backward and keep your collar bones broad.
  • Your shoulder blades, back and down, and moving towards each other.
  • Keep your chest open, keep your shoulders in line with the elbows.
  • Fingers spread widely on the mat and place firmly, fingers pointing in the front.
  • Hands should be at the same distance as the shoulders and pressing against the mat.
  • Your head and neck should align with the spine and gaze downward.
  • Lengthen your body through the crown of your head in the four-limbed staff pose.

Chaturanga Dandasana ad Breath

The formula for breathing in the Chaturanga Dandasana or the Four-limbed staff pose is to keep gentle, natural, and steady. Breathe in deeply as you enter the pose and exhale slowly and then maintain a natural and mindful breathing. When you hold the pose let your breath be calm and relaxed and not make it tense. Inhale and exhale gently as you hold the pose and not the breath, breath has to keep flowing to the entire body and you get recharged by the new energy.

Breathing naturally will help you focus on yourself as you strengthen your core and arms, wrists, thighs, shoulders, and legs. Breath is your guide and friend for this Chaturanga Dandasana asana. So, coordinate with it properly and avail all the benefits.

Chaturanga Dandasana and Variations

  • Four limbed staff pose with their knees on the mat (Half Chaturanga), do this pose until you build enough strength.
  • just lower your torso a few inches down from the plank pose for a variation.
  • Eight-limbed pose.
  • Yoga Dandasana.
  • Urdhava Dandasana pose.
  • Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana (advanced variation).
  • Plank yoga pose or High Plank too is used in some forms of the Sun Salutation.
  • One-legged four-limbed staff pose.
  • Modify by practicing standing in front of the wall and gaining arm strength.
  • You can use yoga blocks to support your inner thighs initially.
  • Use yoga straps for the alignment at your initial stages.

The Bottom Line

The four-limbed staff poses help to strengthen your arms, legs, shoulders and strengthen your wrists and ankles, and help to make it more flexible. This pose helps to improve the function of your digestive system as it works on the core and puts pressure on the abdomen. Follow the physical alignment principles and for any health concerns consult your doctor.

 Chaturanga Dandasana helps to improve your focus and concentration on your physical and mental health. Breathing throughout the pose relaxes and calms your mind. It increases the self-awareness towards yourself and helps you relax your body.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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