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Four limbed staff pose or chaturanga dandasana

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Four limbed staff pose or chaturanga dandasana

Olivia Marley

I think my students probably wonder if I'm obsessed with them keeping their elbows in and not dropping their shoulders as they transition from plank to the floor. It's to give them the right set up for this pose. It's harder than it looks and weirdly hardly ever seems to be broken down and taught in detail in flow classes, even though it's done over and over again and can put a lot of pressure on your shoulder joint if not done correctly. Getting it right will protect your shoulders, build upper body and core strength, and give you a strong foundation to build on for lots of arm balances. However, getting it right also takes a certain amount of core and upper body strength! To build that up you can take mini pushups (with your knees on the floor). Come on to all fours and switch on your lower belly muscles on super strongly, so that your lower back isn't dropping towards the floor. Then keep your arms squeezing in against your sides and lower yourself forward and down. Only go as far as you can bring yourself back up again! Keeping your elbows squeezing in against your side as you move up and down is super important - you may not go so far but you'll be building up correct form. And only ever lower as far down as when your shoulders are in line with your elbows. NO FURTHER! Keeping at that height is much harder than letting your shoulders drop, but is by far a much more stable position for your shoulders. Once you can do a few reps of bending your elbows to 90 degrees, making sure your shoulders don't drop below your elbows and your arms are squeezing your ribs, you're probably ready to try the full posture (pictured).

So from plank:
1. Core engaged
2. Shoulders lifted away from floor and moving away from your ears
3. Elbows hugging in towards your ribs
4. Look slightly forwards
5. Come forward on to your tiptoes and lower forward & down 💪🏼✨

(Errr and if you're having your photo taken don't wear a baggy top or it'll look like your core isn't working!! 😂)