How To Do Chaturanga

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chloe Freytag demonstrating Chaturanga in a blue tank top and yoga pants

Chaturanga, or low pank, strengthens the arms, chest, back and core. In particular, Chaturanga is a powerful tricep strengthening move as well as one of the best core strength exercises you will find. If crunches aren’t working for your tummy, or if the back of your arms wave long after you’ve stopped, you should learn how to do Chaturanga.

Chaturanga is a great isometric strengthening pose on its own, as well as a powerful part of the vinyasa flow series. On it’s own, Chaturanga is fairly advanced. If you have trouble holding this pose, start with Chaturanga on your knees. It may take some time practicing on your knees in order to build up the strength for a full Chaturanga. However, it is more powerful to learn this way in order to establish good habits with proper form and then move to a full Chaturanga. You can build up strength by building up the time you hold the pose.

In the vinyasa flow, Chaturanga comes after a Downward Dog and Plank. As you lower down from your Plank, slowly draw your elbows toward your rib cage and squeeze the back of your arms. This is where the strength and toning for the triceps comes into play. Tricep overheads are great, tricep kickbacks are excellent, but Chaturanga is an even more powerful way to use body weight alone in order to tone your triceps.

In addition to pulling your elbows in as you lower, make sure to pull your low abdominals in tightly so that your lower back doesn’t sag. Chaturanga builds strength in the transverse abdominus which is the abdominal wall that protects your lower back and keeps your tummy tight.

Chaturanga is a powerful pose that anyone can learn over time. Take is step by step and modify on your knees until you learn proper form.

Here are the steps for performing Chaturanga:

1) Begin in a plank position with hands directly under shoulders and body straight all the way to the feet.

2) Slowly lower your chest toward the ground pulling elbows towards your ribs and looking toward the floor in front of you.  Keep your hips just slightly above your chest and squeeze your abs.

3) Breathe as you hold.

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