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Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction: 

In recent days, physical fitness has become important, and people have started linking physical health with mental and spiritual health. Yoga is a form of physical exercise that helps us to integrate our body and mind. Yoga means ‘joining’ or ‘union’. There are many systems of yoga, and each system unifies various aspects of human beings in different ways. One such system is Hatha Yoga which aims to balance and join multiple energy flows in the human body. The sun salutation, or Surya namaskar, is a part of hatha yoga involving various poses (asanas). One such asana used in Surya namaskar is chaturanga dandasana.1 Let us glance through some health benefits of chaturanga dandasana. 

What is Chaturanga Dandasana 

Surya Namaskar is a combination of asanas performed one after the other with coordinated breath. Chaturanga Dandasana is one of the poses done while doing Surya Namaskar. It is pronounced as cha-you-Rahn-gah Dahn-dah-duh-nuh. Chaturanga dandasana is also known as the low plank pose or four-limbed staff pose. In English, ‘that’ means four, ‘anga’ means limbs, ‘danda’ means staff, and ‘asana’ means posture. Chaturanga dandasana is a posture used to build strength.1,2 

chaturanga dandasana

How to do it? 

You can do chaturanga dandasana in the following way: 

  • Sit in the plank position with both your legs behind and your hands pointing forward  
  • Keep breathing evenly 
  • Stretch out both your heels so you feel the pressure on your thighs 
  • Push the floor away from you while your hands point forward and keep your head stretched. 
  • Keep your shoulders low and away from the ears.1 

Do You Know? 

Some of the interesting facts related to chaturanga dandasana are: 

  • Chaturanga dandasana is an intermediate pose with a combination of lower plank and push-up. 
  • Chaturanga dandasana appears in the 1896 Vyayama Dipika, a gymnastics manual, as part of the very old sequence of danda exercises. 

I will highly recommend performing chaturanga dandasana for a shorter time at the beginning. To start with, you can perform this asana for ten seconds. As you build your strength and stamina, you can increase the duration according to your comfort.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana: 

Some of the benefits of chaturanga dandasana are: 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana for Back Pain 

A study by Shah et al. in 2015 on thirty young girls from various colleges in Ahmedabad showed that chaturanga dandasana might help to improve endurance and stability of the lumbopelvic region (the lumbar region of the spine). In addition, it may enhance core muscle strength and may reduce the risk of back pain.3 However, this is a small-scale study, and more studies are required to check if chaturanga dandasana may reduce the risk of back pain. You must consult your doctor if you have back pain for a long period. 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana for Heart 

A study on healthy women showed that chaturanga dandasana might help to reduce the strain on the heart by managing stress levels.4 However, further studies are required to check if chaturanga dandasana can help to protect the heart. You must consult your doctor if you experience any symptoms of heart disease. 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana to Maintain a Good Posture and Improve Flexibility 

Sakshi Khatri and Manoj Patil 2021 conducted a study on chaturanga dandasana. The study result showed that chaturanga dandasana might help to maintain and stiff and straight posture of abdominal muscle and the back.5 In addition, it may improve stability and tone the spine, back, leg, shoulder, neck, wrist, and arms muscles.6 However, more studies are required to check if chaturanga dandasana can help to improve posture and flexibility.  

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana for Weight Management 

In a study by Pande et al. in 2020, Surya namaskar consisting of chaturanga dandasana may help in reducing weight. The bends and stretches in chaturanga dandasana may help to lose adipose tissue (fats).6 However, further studies are required to check if chaturanga dandasana can help to manage weight. You must consult your dietician to assist you in giving you a workout plan to lose weight. 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana to Improve Blood Circulation 

Surya namaskar consisting of chaturanga dandasana may help to improve blood circulation. It may improve scalp blood circulation and help reduce hair fall. In addition, Chaturanga dandasana may help to increase blood circulation in the skin, thereby keeping the skin young.6 However, more studies are yet to be done to check if chaturanga dandasana can help to improve blood circulation. 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana for Cancer 

Practising a yoga protocol consisting of chaturanga dandasana can reduce fatigue and inflammation in breast cancer survivors. Disturbed sleep increases inflammation and fatigue. Chaturanga dandasana may help to improve sleep and hence reduce fatigue and inflammation.7 However, further large-scale studies are required to confirm whether chaturanga dandasana can benefit breast cancer survivors. Cancer is a dangerous disease; therefore, you must take proper care and not self-medicate. 

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana for the Respiratory System 

According to the article titled ‘A Role of ‘Surya Namaskara’ For Good Health’, published in 2020, chaturanga dandasana may help improve the lungs’ functioning. It may open the chest cavity and improve the strength of the muscles around the lungs. As a result, Chaturanga dandasana may increase the capacity and contractility of the lungs.8 However, further studies are required to check whether chaturanga dandasana may benefit the respiratory system.  

Benefits of Chaturanga Dandasana for Mental Well-Being 

A study by Taspinar et al. in 2014 showed that hatha yoga consisting of chaturanga dandasana might reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It may also help to reduce stress and fatigue and improve mood.9 However, further large-scale studies are required to check if chaturanga dandasana can help to improve mental well-being. You must consult your doctor if your mental health is hampered. 

Yoga practice may help balance the mind and body and it is not an alternative to modern medicine. Instead, please consult a qualified doctor who can assess your situation correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries. 

As we know, Chaturanga Dandasana is practised as a part of Surya Namaskar. It might help in building core strength and improving stamina. This asana should be followed by Adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog pose). You should avoid practising this asana if you suffer from headaches, blood pressure issues, or any injury involving the back, shoulder, or arms.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Risks of Chaturanga Dandasana 

The following risk may be associated with chaturanga dandasana: 

  • Improper practice of chaturanga dandasana may cause wrist or lower-back injuries. Lower back injuries may be caused due to twists, forward bends and backbends.10 

With the guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher/yoga expert, we can access the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions. 

Conclusion 

Chaturanga dandasana is one of the poses done while doing Surya namaskar. Plank pose or four-limbed staff pose are the alternative names of this chaturanga dandasana. In English, ‘that’ means four, ‘anga’ means limbs, ‘danda’ means staff, and ‘asana’ means posture. Chaturanga dandasana is a posture used to build strength. Chaturanga dandasana might help to improve endurance and stability of the lumbopelvic region and reduce the risk of back pain. It may help to improve posture, and flexibility, manage weight, improve lung function, protect the heart, and improve blood circulation. Chaturanga dandasana might help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It may also help to reduce stress and fatigue and improve mood. Chaturanga dandasana may reduce inflammation and fatigue in breast cancer survivors. Improper practice of chaturanga dandasana may cause wrist or lower-back injuries. Therefore, you must perform chaturanga dandasana under proper guidance.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

1) What are chaturanga dandasana benefits? 

Chaturanga dandasana might help to improve endurance and stability of the lumbopelvic region and reduce the risk of back pain. It may help to improve posture and flexibility, manage weight, improve lung function, protect the heart, and improve blood circulation. Chaturanga dandasana might help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It may also help to reduce stress and fatigue and improve mood. Chaturanga dandasana may reduce inflammation and fatigue in breast cancer survivors.3-8 However, you must consult your doctor if you have any diseases instead of self-medicating.  

2) How to do chaturanga dandasana? 

Sit in the plank position with both your legs behind and your hands pointing forward. Keep breathing evenly. Stretch out both your heels so you feel the pressure on your thighs. Push the floor away with your hands. Stretch your head and keep your shoulders low, away from the ears.1 

3) What is the other name for chaturanga yoga? 

Chaturanga dandasana is also known as the plank pose or four-limbed staff pose. In English, ‘chatur’ means four, ‘anga’ means limbs, ‘danda’ means staff, and ‘asana’ means posture.1 

4) What are the risks of doing chaturanga dandasana? 

Improper practice of chaturanga dandasana may cause wrist or lower-back injuries.10 Therefore, you must perform chaturanga dandasana under proper guidance. 

5) What are the benefits of chaturanga dandasana for mental well-being? 

Chaturanga dandasana might help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It may also help to reduce stress and fatigue and improve mood.9 You must consult your doctor if your mental health is hampered. 

References: 

  1. Couch J. The runner’s yoga book: A balanced approach to fitness. Shambhala Publications; 2016 Aug 1. Available from: http://lelandshields.com/Meditation/The%20Runner’ s%20Yoga%20Book-Couch.pdf 
  1. Chaturanga Dandasana [Internet]. Salamba Yoga. 2020 [cited 2022Nov6]. Available from: https://www.salambayoga.org/asana-and-alignment-guide/chaturanga-dandasana/ 
  1. Shah J, Thakker D, Amarnath TK. An Experimental Study on Effects of Chaturanga Dandasana on Lumbopelvic Stability in Young Girls. National Journal of Integrated Research in Medicine. 2015 Mar 1;6(2). Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=09759840&AN=115613824&h=E48Io%2FJF04yMzvhBs33pkxn0WFpdvNPSf1i%2BNGtFsqcxPvqXcG4FPR7hnqMDOp3jsWX3msWnxr9AFeRuHeSzhA%3D%3D&crl=c 
  1. Bernotiene G, Slapsinskaite A, Berškienė K, Daunoravičienė A, Vainoras A, Razón S. Yoga’s Effects on the Cardiovascular System of Healthy Women: Implications for Best Practices. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine. 2020 Sep 1;26(5). Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=10786791&AN=147629600&h=WgHx0%2BndaabZMjqQnfULbcNwWFhKK6TwNxECAoi1ugYi27LhHzSuoORn7K6yL9QuffvGj0jPxgJ15wehFTqyJg%3D%3D&crl=c 
  1. Butola LK, Ambad R, Gusain N, Dhok A. Indoor activities for physical fitness during the lockdown. Journal of Critical Reviews. 2020;7(10):542-5. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lata-Kanyal-Butola/publication/344521182_Journal_of_Critical_Reviews_INDOOR_ACTIVITIES_FOR_PHYSICAL_FITNESS_DURING_LOCKDOWN/links/5f7e023292851c14bcb66a51/Journal-of-Critical-Reviews-INDOOR-ACTIVITIES-FOR-PHYSICAL-FITNESS-DURING-LOCKDOWN.pdf 
  1. Pande P, Tendolkar V, Suraj S, Anjankar A. Yoga Helps to Improve Immunity & Fight Against Infection During Covid19. Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology. 2020 Oct 1;14(4). Available from: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=09739122&AN=148410229&h=ofcRLP4cZL03xPfwHgHdgk%2FmXlkPY7iCTdf%2BcOFgkNBq3YzhwK%2BRd6ZH4MyOK6w86PN6w1eWk%2FGhBLaWeuttCQ%3D%3D&crl=c 
  1. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Bennett JM, Andridge R, Peng J, Shapiro CL, Malarkey WB, Emery CF, Layman R, Mrozek EE, Glaser R. Yoga’s impact on inflammation, mood, and fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Clinical oncology. 2014 Apr 1;32(10):1040. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3965259/ 
  1. A Role Of ‘Surya Namaskara’ For Good Health Available from: https://www.aiirjournal.com/uploads/Articles/2020/03/4434_25.Vd.Manisha%20Nikam.pdf 
  1. Taspinar B, Aslan UB, Agbuga B, Taspinar F. A comparison of the effects of hatha yoga and resistance exercise on mental health and well-being in sedentary adults: A pilot study. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2014 Jun 1;22(3):433-40. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229914000387 
  1. Fishman L, Saltonstall E, Genis S. Understanding and preventing yoga injuries. International journal of yoga therapy. 2009 Oct 1;19(1):47-53. Available from: https://meridian.allenpress.com/ijyt/article-abstract/19/1/47/138142 

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