Yoga : Perfecting the Yoga Push-Up “Chaturanga Dandasana”

HOW TO Perfect the Yoga Push up 

Chaturanga Dandasana, or the Yoga Push-Up, is a pose frequently found in the Sun Salutations. Learning to do it properly will protect your wrists and your back. The following video will primarily discuss practicing from the knees. The article from Yoga Journal following the video will review the full pose, which is with straight legs. It is best to practice from the knees first to build up arm and shoulder strength before moving into the full pose to be able to perform this pose with proper alignment.

A yoga mat is essential to protect yourself from slipping in this pose. We offer a large variety of non-slip yoga mats. If you notice that during this video, the male model has his hands properly below his shoulders, but this has forced his hands partly off of his mat. Wider yoga mats are now available on the market. Currently we sell wider yoga mats and longer yoga mats that can help our growing population of male yogis with wider shoulders.  We also sell a wide  non-slip yoga towel, the  eQua Yoga Towel which is 26.5″ wide.  Is there a wide mat that you would like to see us offer?  Please let us know!  We’re always adding new products to satisfy our customers.

Chaturanga Dandasana – from Yoga Journal

chaturanga :  (chaht-tour-ANG-ah don-DAHS-anna)

  • chaturanga = four limbs (chatur = four        anga = limb)
  • danda = staff (refers to the spine, the central “staff” or support of the body)

Step by Step – doing the Full Pose with Straight Legs

Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), then Plank Pose. Firm your shoulder blades against your back ribs and press your tailbone toward your pubis.

With an exhalation slowly lower your torso and legs to a few inches above and parallel to the floor. There’s a tendency in this pose for the lower back to sway toward the floor and the tailbone to poke up toward the ceiling. Throughout your stay in this position, keep the tailbone firmly in place and the legs very active and turned slightly inward. Draw the pubis toward the navel.

Keep the space between the shoulder blades broad. Don’t let the elbows splay out to the sides; hold them in by the sides of the torso and push them back toward the heels. Press the bases of the index fingers firmly to the floor. Lift the top of the sternum and your head to look forward.

Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the positions in the Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose individually for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Release with an exhalation. Either lay yourself lightly down onto the floor or push strongly back to Adho Mukha Svanasana, lifting through the top thighs and the tailbone.

Yoga : To Prop … Or not the Prop?

HOW TO Decide if you need a Yoga Prop?

Everyone has different expectations for their yoga practice. Some look for meditative deep relaxation while others look for a hard-core workout. So it should be no surprise that whether to use yoga props during your practice would vary from person to person as well. This article from Yoga Journal offers some thought for those from both sides of the fence. Having started my practice studying Iyengar Yoga, I’ve always been open to using props in certain challenging poses, or on days that I was less flexible. But, as this author points out, it is important that you become aware of how you are using these props and evaluating how a yoga prop is assisting you on that day, at that moment, in that pose. Be in tune with your body. If the use of a certain prop no longer feels “good”, then experiment with other options.  And, besides “being your own teacher”, don’t hesitate to ask your yoga instructor for ideas or recommendations on which props you could use when in certain poses.  If you are uncomfortable asking during a class, you can always ask them for guidance after the class so you can incorporate this idea in your home practice or future classes.

To Prop or Not to Prop

Are props a helpful supplement to your practice, or do they just get in the way? Here’s how to decide when to use—and not use—these tools.

By Claudia Cummins

The original yogis didn’t practice with foam blocks, D-ring straps, or purple sticky mats. But as yoga evolved, many practitioners discovered that props could help deepen their explorations.

Among modern yogis, attitudes toward props range from the Zen-like minimalism of those who shun all but a sticky mat to the abundance of those who travel with an extra suitcase filled with yoga accessories. Regardless of where you fall in this spectrum, a few guidelines can help you make the most of your props.

Be clear about why you’re using them. Mindlessly using a block to support your hand in a standing pose just because your teacher told you to won’t deepen your practice. Ask yourself what purpose the extra support is serving and let that answer guide the way you use it. Are you using the block to move into a posture you aren’t yet supple enough to manage on your own? If so, consider ways to lessen your reliance on that aid over time.

Be your own teacher. Use your body’s signals to devise new and effective ways of using props to enhance your practice. When you sense a certain part of your body crying out for extra support in a resting pose, for example, wedge a towel or shirt beneath that area and observe what happens. Or if you’re struggling to master a new pose, ask yourself whether any props within arm’s reach might help. You might be surprised by the ingenious solutions you unearth.

Explore new territory. If a rolled-up blanket is supporting your back during a restorative pose, you might like to explore how varying the size and position of it alters your experience. Or if you’re using a strap to help you understand a particular action or direction in a posture you know well, you may choose to repeat that same pose without props from time to time to explore the differences.

Be creative. Yoga basics include mats, blankets, straps, and blocks. But if you consider a prop to be any aid that helps you access a posture more fully, your world will widen considerably. Walls, tables, balls, books, socks, neckties, even the helping hands of a friend can all be used to deepen your exploration.

Practice nonattachment. Ideally, yoga leads us toward greater flexibility and adaptability. So don’t grow so attached to your chest of yoga toys that you can’t practice without them. If you use props regularly, challenge yourself every once in a while to stow them away and practice without any aids at all (that’s right, not even a sticky mat). On the other hand, if you’re a yoga minimalist, incorporate a few props into your practice every now and then just to explore how they might be helpful. You might be surprised by what you learn. Remember, the best yoga prop is always an open mind.

Claudia Cummins teaches yoga in Mansfield, Ohio. At the moment, her favorite pose is Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose).

If you are not familiar with the variety of yoga props on the market, please check out our website Rolling Sands Harmony. Our product pages will provide more information on the products themselves. If you click on the Categories listed here on the right of our Harmony Blog, you’ll see some of the poses or exercises that you can do using that prop.

Yoga : Restorative Reclining Hero Pose

Hero Pose by Yoga JournalHero Pose can be a real challenge for some of us. Especially if you are an athlete with tight quads (like a cyclist). But I’ve found, that if something is a challenging pose for me that it’s probably the one I should practice more to help balance me out physically.

You can click on this image to visit Yoga Journal’s page on how to do Hero Pose if you’d like.

So, if you are challenged in Hero Pose, the idea of reclining or lying back in this pose can be awfully intimidating. This is where yoga props will be your best friend.

Follow the video to see how you can set up bolsters, blankets, blocks and more to get comfortable in this pose and enjoy it’s benefits.  This is our fourth, and last, video in our Restorative Yoga session.  Well, at least for this month…maybe we’ll add more in the future since props will almost always be used in restorative postures.

Yoga : Restorative Yoga Props

HOW TO Use Yoga Props for Restorative Yoga 

For the next four Tuesdays, we’re going to share with you some videos on using props in Restorative Yoga Poses. This first video shows an example of setting up a yoga bolster, a yoga blanket, and some yoga blocks. It’s a short video (<2min) so it is not all encompassing, but hopefully will give you an idea on how to incorporate the variety of yoga props on the market.

Yoga props can be used in many ways – to provide support and stability or to enhance a stretch in some poses. Yoga blocks, for instance, can be used to bring the floor closer to you in a standing pose, so you can focus on the proper alignment and still have stability in your pose. A yoga block can also be placed under your hip in Half Reclining Hero Pose to intensify the stretch in your quadricep. But yoga props are really fantastic in Restorative Poses because they help comfort and support you in any posture so that you can totally surrender into a pose for a longer period of time.

So, take two minutes to watch this video (and join us again in the upcoming weeks) to start getting ideas on how to use yoga props in some nice relaxation poses.