Plank to Chaturanga: Elevator vs. Escalator

In classes last week I was incredibly excited about the idea of a new (well, new for me) way to describe transitioning between plank pose and chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose). I often see students lowering directing toward the floor from plank without shifting the weight forward into the toes and fingertips first. This puts way to much pressure on the elbows and wrists and is more likely to cause injury than rock-star triceps and engaged cores.

So, I thought of a neat way to delineate the difference between lowering straight down and lowering at a controlled and gradual angle: elevator versus escalator! In an elevator plank to chaturanga, our yogi lowers straight down, potentially causing injury to the arms. Our escalator yogi first shifts the weight forward and keeps shifting it forward even as they start to bend the elbows. By the time escalator yogi is in chaturanga, they have shifted forward enough to easily roll onto the tops of their feet to come into Upward Facing Dog. And (look, ma!) no wrist injury!

Here's a sequence with lots of opportunities to play around with that transition :)

  1. Sukhasana (Easy Seat)
  2. Begin Ujaayi (Ocean Sounding) and Dirgha (Three Part) breath 
  3. Come onto stomach
  4. Taking 5 counts, come to Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)
  5. Exhale, take 5 counts to lower back to the stomach
  6. Inhale, take 5counts to ride back to Chaturanga Dandasana
  7. Kapalabhati pranayama (Breath of Fire)
  8. Exhale, take 5 counts to lower to floor
  9. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
  10. Pedal heels, bend and straighten legs
  11. Child's Pose (2 minutes)
  12. Forward Fold with hands under feet (Pada Hastasana)
  13. Take 5-10 Sun Saluations (A + B), practicing lowering from Plank to Chaturanga
  14. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  15. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
  16. Move between steps 14 and 15 three times, letting the movement feel fluid 
  17. Child's Pose
  18. Repeat steps 3-7
  19. Parvatasana (Outstretched Mountain Pose)
  20. Supta Padangustasana (Reclined Big Toe Pose)
  21. Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Vishnu Pose)
  22. Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (Upward Facing Fold Pose)
  23. Repeat steps 20-23 on other side
  24. Savasana

Popular Posts