Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the most yoga pose is Sun-Salutation and often one of the easiest to be misaligned.
The common misalignment in this pose and how to avoid them are,
Your middle finger should be pointed forward in Chaturanga to help your wrists not ache. The compression of the wrists in this asana is off-set by the subsequent Down Dog, which should stretch the wrists enough to negate the ache.
Make sure the middle finger points directly forward in the asana and the rest of the fingers can be splayed out neatly alongside.
Elbows Not Stacking Over Wrists
This destabilizes the shoulders and can create upper back and arm tweaks. It is common because you cannot see what your forearms are doing when you’re in Chaturanga, and we usually don’t hold the pose long enough to hear our bodies tell us we are misaligned. To get this right you practice lengthwise in front of a mirror a few times so you can memorize how it feels to be aligned. Take Plank with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Now lean your chest far forward until it peeks out over your fingers. You should be able to feel a deep warming compression in your wrists. Start to lower down half way.
Hips Sinking to the Ground
It is wrong if your hips touch the floor before anything else when you lower down from Chaturanga (or Plank) to the floor. This will result in back pain. This is due to a dis-engaged core. You can think of this pose as your arms pushing the floor away, and your core lifting you up. With those two actions happening, you hover lightly. Simply pull your belly in and try to bring your body down to the floor in one piece, with your belly lifting up and your arms pushing down
Elbows Poking Out
Lifting a heavy object with your elbows poking out to the side is very challenging. For your Chaturanga to be strong, squeeze your elbows into your ribs and activate your triceps. To adequately lift, keep those elbows tucked neatly in and lift from your central line.
Shoulders dipping too low or rounding.
Going too low on your shoulders in chaturanga, you are bound to put unnecessary pressure on your joints (elbows and wrists) instead of strengthening your muscles, and your shoulders and rotator cuff muscles at risk. To prevent your shoulders from rounding it is more important how far down you lower your body. To correct that go only low enough so that your arms create a 90-degree angle and your upper arms are parallel to the floor. To prevent your shoulders from rounding in chaturanga, broaden across your collarbones, keep your shoulder blades on your back.
Dropping of Head.
A common mistake observed. To avoid dropping of head, bring your drishti (gaze) slightly ahead of you instead of straight down. Keep the back of your head in line with the back of your tailbone.
Not Keeping the Legs Involved
Concentrating so hard on your upper body might lead to less involvement of your legs. To avoid this outcome keep your quads engaged and lift your thighs away from the floor and stretch your heels away from the crown of your head so that your lower body picks up half the work in chaturanga.
Dropping the lower spine in the plank
Students tend to put pressure on the lower spine and drop it towards the floor in Ardha Chaturanga. This can lead to lower back pain. Simply learn to press the palms and the toes deep into the earth, engaging the upper body and the abdominals.
Contradictions and Cautions:
- Avoid this pose in case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Pregnancy, Shoulder or Wrist Injury
- During the performance of the pose, do not let your shoulders collapse lower than the elbows.
- Don’t elevate the hips upward.