Four Limbed Staff Pose - Chaturanga Dandasana

Four Limbed Staff Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


In Four Limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana in Sanskrit (‘Chatur’ means ‘four limbs’, ‘Danda’ means ‘staff of support’ and ‘Asana’, means ‘posture’), staff is referred to as the spinal cord, which is the main support system of the body. This pose is one of the steps in the group of 12 yoga poses in Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and is considered a powerful strength builder in the arms and abs. It also helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Pose Detail

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Come to tabletop position. Elbows are over the wrists and the hips are over the knees. Spread the fingers wide and firmly roots the hands into the earth.
Step 2
Extend the legs back into a plank pose. The toes are tucked and the heels are pointed straight back. Feet are about 2 inches apart
Step 3
The elbows should be directly over the wrists. The eye of the elbow faces forwards and the elbow bone is pointed straight back. Don’t let the elbows splay out.
Step 4
Engage the core and begin to lower your body slowly and with control to half way down towards the earth. There is a 90 degree bend in the elbows. Keep a straight line of energy between the crown of the head, shoulders, spine, hips and ankles. Heels are shooting straight back. Modifications: Bring the knees down to the earth. It will take time to develop the strength in your arms and shoulders to properly practice this pose so in the meantime just place your knees on the ground.
Step 5
Don’t let the shoulders sink down lower than the height of the elbows and be sure that you are not sticking your butt up in the air nor sinking the hips down. Also don’t let the shoulder slouch (keep lifting them towards the sky).
Step 6
To get out of the posture you can either lower all the way down onto the earth or press back up into a plank pose.

Benefits and Contraindications


Strengthens the arms and wrists

Tones the abdomen


Carpal tunnel syndrome


Photo poses in different angles


To build strength in your upper body and core, start by practising holding Planks and Forearm Planks for up to a minute.

You can also lower your knees first from Plank pose and then bend the elbows to come into a baby Chaturanga, keeping a straight line from your head to your knees.

Or substitute Chaturanga with Knees-chest-chin / Ashtanga Namaskara: From Plank pose lower your knees, keep your core engaged and move your chest and chin towards the floor. Keep your shoulders up away from the floor and keep your chest open.

Modifications & Variations
  • One Legged Four Limbed Staff Pose
  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose with a strap
  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose against a wall
  • Four Limbed Staff Pose with knees down
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Upward Facing Dog Pose
  • Cobra Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.