Chaturanga Dandasana (cha-TO-rung-gah dun-DAH-suh-nuh) strengthens the arms (triceps and pectoralis), core and leg muscles. It also stabilizes the shoulders, core, hips and upper back muscles. It is a good pose to give strength to the arms and legs before going into back extensions.
This pose requires one to have strength and coordination of the upper and lower parts of the body. Frequent practice of the pose gives immense strength to the body. A yogi requires bodily strength to overcome certain hardships in live. When the body is strong the yogi will have the ability to take up a deeper practice that can guide the mind into a more serious practice of the Yamas and the Niyamas in Ashtanga Yoga. One of the principle values in the Niyamas is Tapas (austerity). Accepting the hardship of life and rejecting unwanted comforts will give strength and direction of simplicity to the yogi who is looking for higher accomplishment in yoga. A mind that is not trained to keep away from objects will not have the capacity to reflect the higher self. A disturbed lake will not reflect a mountain. In a still sheet of water you can see even a blade of grass.
Students with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other wrist, elbow and shoulder issues should avoid jumping into and out of this pose. Women who are menstruating and who are pregnant should avoid this pose. Students can modify this pose by bending their knees into the floor.