The Chaturanga crops up a lot in any vinyasa yoga practice. It's what those in the gym world would call a plank. Get it right, and this is an incredibly powerful pose, but get it wrong and you could be putting the wrong kinds of strain in the wrong places. And the bad news is, it's very easy to get things wrong.
Thankfully, leading yoga instructor, author and fitness specialist Hannah Barrett (opens in new tab) is here to show you exactly how to correct your plank and master the perfect Chaturanga.
"If your core is engaged and spine is in optimal alignment, muscles work more efficiently so you spread the demand of plank / Chaturanga equally throughout the body, reducing the chance of injury and helping you get the most out of your practice," she explains.
Check out three major mistakes you could be making below, plus Hannah's tips for how to correct them. These guidelines will show you how to get the maximum results from your plank, and maintain energy levels for a more sustained yoga workout.
As well as correcting your posture, having the right kit can help you improve your practice and master new poses. Check out our guides to the best yoga mat, the best best yoga blocks, and the best yoga towels (if you're slipping around in this heat).
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Mistake #1. Your pelvis is tilted
For the perfect Chaturanga, you want to get your head into the correct alignment, so the deep neck flexors are working. But to do this, you need to start with the rest of the body. "First of all check out what the rest of your body is doing," says Hannah. "Be sure to correct yourself starting at the pelvis so that your head comes back into alignment. A neutral pelvis is key for executing this pose."
Mistake #2: Your shoulders are hunched
Once you've got your pelvis in a neutral position, and you glutes and core switched on, it's time to focus on your shoulders. "Bring the shoulder blades to a neutral position, ground down through the hands and dial the hands out to stabilise the shoulders (screwing / dialling the hands out activates the rotator cuffs)," Hannah explains.
Mistake #3: You're looking in the wrong place
The final step is to get your head in the right place. "Gently nod the chin down (imagine you’re holding a peach between your chin and chest) and retract the neck slightly," says Hannah.