Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank) Pt 2

asana hands shoulders Jun 10, 2019

Picking up the review of Chaturanga Dandasana over the last several weeks in outlining the principles behind the next point:
3. The grip/contact of the hands on the mat

The grip of the hands is a major feature of the overall stability and safety of a pose, when the weight of the body is supported by them. The sheer anatomical complexity of the hands, their influence on the safety of the wrists, and the potential dexterity for which they’ve evolved, requires an investment of mental and physical effort in order to sustain their health.

The most frequent trespass against the proper technique in placing the hands is the shift of weight toward the outer edges of the hands and palms (pic 2). This will place the weight of the body into the medial (ulnar) side of the wrist, which is a fragile and very common site for injury. Without going into the complexity of the wrist, the ulno-carpal joint (pic 3) is susceptible to stress when forced to hold the kind of load that is consistent with...

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Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank) Pt 1

asana shoulders May 24, 2019

As we look further into the complex universe of the shoulder joint and the role it plays in our Yoga practice, a posture whose eminence and frequency demands a clear overview is Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank). The amount of times I have had students give me notice that they can no longer perform this pose because of the strain they feel in their shoulder/s, exceeds my capacity to recount.

Like many other teachers, the technique that I initially learned to perform this pose with was very cursory and missed the anatomical integrity that it so badly deserves.
The most common and omissions I see over and over again are:
1. Alignment of shoulders with respect to the hands
2. The angle of the humerus (upper arm) with respect to the torso
3. The grip/contact of the hands on the mat
4. Position of the head

The all too pervasive instruction in this pose is to move the shoulders forward of the hands and maintain a vertical line of the forearms (pic 1). The danger with this technique is that it...

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