Also known as the half push up, chaturanga dandasana is a strong, warming posture with many benefits:
- Increases strength and flexibility in your wrists.
- Builds muscle on your arms, shoulders, and back.
- Lengthens and tones your core muscles.
- A good preparation for any arm balances or work with inversions.
- Lower back, wrist, or shoulder issues or injuries.
- Avoid if you cannot keep your shoulder blades drawn in together and fully integrated onto your back.
- Start in plank position with the outer edges of your shoulders aligned above your middle fingers on the ground.
- Keep your fingers spread wide and slightly curled. - Grip the floor with all four corners of your hands so that there is a small pocket of air between the center of your palm and the mat.
- Inhale and lengthen from your heels to the crown of your head.
- Exhale and slowly lower your body into your half push-up so that your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
- Allow your elbows to lightly brush against the sides of your ribs as you come down and maintain a solid ninety-degree angle in the crook of your elbows as you arrive in the pose.
- Hold the pose, continue to lengthen from heel to crown, and keep your shoulders drawn together and plugged in to the back of your rib cage.
- To exit, inhale to upward facing dog or back to plank.
- Knees can rest on the floor with your toes tucked under."
Blocks can be placed under the palms for more stability.
You can also come all the way down onto your belly and into a cobra if you do not have the strength in your shoulders and/or back to enter the full pose."