Chaturanga Dandasana vs Lowering All The Way to the Mat

Hi Everyone,

When I first began to practice yoga a couple of years ago, I suffered a shoulder injury from not doing Chaturanga Dandasana properly. The shoulder injury was painful and difficult to heal and unfortunately it made me very cautious about doing Chaturanga Dandasana. For example, instead of doing Chaturanga Dandasana I lower all the way to the mat because I feel like I am able to keep my shoulder blades tucked back when I do that. Once I am on the mat, I feel more in control and less vulnerable when I move into cobra pose. I sometimes wonder if I am getting the same benefit to my shoulder strength when I do lower all the way to the mat as I would if I did Chaturanga Dandasana. Also, when I lower to the mat I always transition to cobra pose instead of upward dog which leaves me wondering what benefits I am missing for my body. I have watched instructors give detailed instructions on the proper form when doing Chaturanga Dandasana, but I have built a wall of sorts and have become too cautious of that pose. Have other people had problems injuring their shoulders when doing Chaturanga Dandasana? Does anyone have advice on how I could toss those walls aside and face Chaturanga Dandasana again? Thank you for your support! Namaste! :heart:

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Check out the videos. There is a chaturanga tutorial video. She uses a block as a prop for alignment, of the likes I’ve never seen before. See if it helps!


Thank you for recommending an excellent tutorial video! I agree that using the block was unique. I plan to use this video to help chaturanga reveal itself to me.


I think you might surprised how many people feel the same anxiety around chaturanga. And it’s well placed, since it is very hard to do the pose properly, to avoid injury. Our western mindset often predominates and I see - all to often - students racing through a vinyasa with poor technique.

Your approach is great - there is nothing wrong with lowering to the ground and establishing cobra from there. It’s safe, grounded and helps you avoid shoulder injuries - although, lowering through a push up is not easy for everyone either! Many people have injured their shoulders from repeating plank, chaturanga, push-ups and downward facing dog.

So caution is a welcome feeling, and when you mix it with healthy self inquiry and analysis, possibly with help of an experienced teacher, you can begin to get the feel of what it’s like to stabilize the shoulderblades, connect that with the rest of your body and lower down in a stable, supported way.

This reinforces, once again, that a video (or series of videos) on shoulder stability is very much needed. I’ll put that up higher on our to-do list!

I hope that helps. Let us know if you have any more questions.

Take care,

DoYogaWithMe Founder


Thank you for your mentorship, David. I am happy that my adaptations are working out for me. Yes, getting a feel for stabilized shoulder blades and bringing that into my entire body is what I hope for with Chaturanga. I want Chaturanga to reveal itself to me.

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