Yoga’s Mind Body Connection – Two Minutes or 40 Days

Yoga’s Mind Body Connection –
Two Minutes or 40 Days

40 Day Kriya or short standing side stretch – it’s all making the magic


Do you sometimes have an aha moment after the fact? That kept happening while I was doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I chose to do the hour Kirya – and that time every day shifted so many things. It was obviously quite an commitment – but you can find the same yoga mind-body magic yoga  in something as straightforward as a luscious standing side stretch. Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Surrendering to the 40 Day Kriya

I surrendered myself to the discipline of this Kundalini yoga. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new.  That’s why you should start at the beginning again if you miss a day – your energy is building.

Understanding imagery

This journey had lots of twists and turns. During the first week, I had vivid images – the Gordian Knot symbolism that I wrote about here was one of them. I kept reporting amazing things in my journal.  One day, my heart went through the basket ball hoop of my Third Eye. Those of you who know me will understand that sports metaphors are not at all something I’m liable to use. 

 Digging deep into the pose

Day by day I became more and more in tune with the physical aspects of the practice. This asana  part of the hour Kriya took 35 minutes and had long, long holds. There’s a locust variation and baby cobra which are both held for 2.5 minutes – and then glorious rests!

These are active holds – in movement,  in strenth and in alignment. My brain began to quieten and I began to feel the different aspects of the posture more intensely and my focus shifted.  I often felt fully wrung out.

Locust Variation


Baby Cobra

Silent transformation

The Kriya has meditation and silent mantras along with the poses – with a beautifully designed arc. Some days I couldn’t get into it and muttered under my breath, some days I expanded with wonder – and of course, there were the almost psychedelic visions I had during my first week.

The last 15 days of the Kriya is just bells for transitions. There’s no talk, you can watch Brett move though the practice with you – silently. I soaked up the hour of silence and found profound depth in it.

I was in London for the last five days of the 40 Day Kriya. I spent two weeks there clearing mum’s flat – and it made all the difference.  What a huge task – yet I was able to be flexible and approach this very intense task with equanimity, thanks to yoga. I wrote more about this journey here

Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Whether it’s a 40 day Kriya  or something that just takes a few minutes, yoga’s mind – body connection makes all the difference inside and out. Interested in exploring – I’ve got a luscious free, short side stretch sequence. You’ll be amazed.

Find out more about Brett Larkin here.

Snag your free standing short side stretch video sequence and
tips on finding your yoga home

Comfort with Fluidity

Comfort With Fluidity

I love a plan – a goal. We’re taught that this is the right way to approach life. When there’s only so much planning you can do or when you find you can’t control outcomes it leaves you with many negatives feelings: rudderless, unsuccessful, frightened. That sort of focus can also lead to tunnel vision, so you aren’t open to opportunities. Recently I was in London clearing out mum’s flat after she moved into a care home – I did this in two weeks. Unlike the US, Estate Sales aren’t a thing in UK and often in London charities won’t collect.  I had to have comfort with fluidity.

Everyone thought I was bonkers – even I thought I was bonkers. 

On the one hand, this huge task was overwhelming – the property managers need to do their refurb before we let the flat. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get back over. It was four years since I’d been to the UK. That’s the longest I’ve even been away – but looking after mum, I couldn’t leave her for more than a few days. 

Refurb, clearing out, yoga

To remain flexible

Clearing the flat contained so many moving parts and imponderables that having a plan was well nigh impossible. I was incredibly fortunate to get excellent help along the way – both before I arrived and during my trip. 

Let your mind go to an extremely cluttered flat with bursting closets and an overwhelming amount of furniture to understand the extent of this task.  I could only have the barest sketch of a plan and each day I had to step forward with trust and confidence that things would work out.

Several weeks before I headed to London, I began Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I surrendered myself to the discipline. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new. 

What I really noticed is that I was able to go with the flow.
I trusted that it would all work out. 

Yoga gives the quiet and the space to have comfort with Fluidity 

The main thing that yoga gives me is the space and the quiet to face what the day brings with equanimity. So often we’re running, and in the midst of a cacophony of noise. Our life is a whirl. The quiet can be difficult – but it’s important.

When I was in London, I didn’t get too stressed at the twists and turns of getting the flat cleared.  I didn’t, as it were, ‘borrow trouble’. I still kept my sense of proportion. I hoped that the furniture I put on freecycle would be taken – although I was prepared still to have clearance / to haul away.  At the same time, I knew that no matter how hard I worked, there would still be things for Clearance to take.

I just kept plowing away. I talked to people, kept myself open to ideas and rolled with whatever came my way.  All the time I had faith it would all get done. I made sure I did my yoga!

Unsure how to tap into this energy?
Use my free meditation on exploring fluidity.

Dissipate the Negative Voice with Yoga

Dissipate The Negative Voice
With Yoga

What is that little voice in your brain telling you?

What is that little voice in your brain telling you? We all have one – mine has been telling me all my life that I’m too excitable. I’m not just exuberant, I’m Jack Russell Terrier level. It’s difficult to shake that voice though, isn’t it. What is yours? That voice – you are too much / you are too sensitive / you are not good enough is holding us back – dissipate the negative voice with yoga.

My family is ‘let it all hang out’ and I was lucky to be encouraged by my parents to become my own person – with my own identity.  Over the years I’ve learnt to channel that boing boing, what’s our next adventure energy and use it better. But my parents never tried to dampen my very strong enthusiasm. They helped me to dig into that and to understand that it wasn’t the only way to be but was a wonderful way to be. They certainly never told me I was ‘too much’ or ‘overwhelming’.

I think I was very lucky that I wasn’t given the message that my level of excitability was bad – but that it was something to harness. Yet I still have that voice in my head wondering if I’m too strong a taste.

Dissipate the negative voice with yoga

Yoga has given me the ability to be more grounded. Recently I’ve been doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. That hour a day is shifting so many things.  It’s also helping me remain composed through the little curve balls life throws us – when I might normally have growled and whined a little .

Step into yourself, step into the magic

Yoga helps us be more ourselves – and be more self-assured as ourselves.

Stepping into who we are, living that sense of self, gives us a great confidence in how we move forward in life. When we have that authenticity within ourselves, when the little voice dissipates, the magic happens – and yoga takes us there.

Oh and we did have a Jack Russell when I was a kid – the two of us manically ran about the woods and took bike rides together.

Want to start dissipating that little voice your head?
Don’t miss your free video and journal prompts to get you on your way to becoming your magical self.

Yoga Gives Me Understanding and tools

Yoga Gives Me Understanding
and tools

The Struggle is real

How do approach a struggle in your life? The struggle is real and yoga has really been helping me with my struggle toolkit. My mother is the kind of person to ignore a problem and hope it will go away. I take more after my father – I deal with it straight on. To be honest, when I was younger this could end up being more like a full frontal attack, I’ve channeled that better as I’ve matured. But my instinct is still to go at a problem straight on. This can be helpful – I’m organized and on top of things. Yoga gives me understanding and tools – more tools to be skillful.

Recently I’ve been doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. That hour a day has really been shifting things with lots of inspiration and lightbulbs. One day I had a vision of a huge knot – imagine a massive ball of wool. It looked like that – only it wasn’t wool and I knew For A Fact it was a Gordian Knot. The Gordian Knot was the huge tangly knot that no-one could unravel – then Alexander the Great came along and cut through it with a thrust of his sward.

(You can get more details on the Gordian Knot story here).

The Gordian Knot

That my vision was a Gordian Knot made absolute sense to me. It’s how I go about solving a problem. I take the most direct approach and I usually tackle it immediately, if not sooner. So it came as no surprise to me to have a Gordian Knot materialize. 

Then something strange happened. The knot, far from being wool, appeared tone  made from some sort of plasticine, which is like is Play Doh.  Like many a Seventies London child, I played a lot with the basic gray/blue plasticine my grandparents always had in stock. So plasticine taps into some of my earliest memories.


Spoiler: it wasn’t a Gordian Knot

There I was, in the middle of my Kriya thinking how interesting, how peculiar that the huge Gordian Knot was actually made of plasticine. Then things got even weirder – the plasticine began to soften. Soon the knot was gone – it had softened and unraveled.

Here’s the shocker: this was a situation that didn’t need a full frontal approach. Apparently it wasn’t a Gordian Knot at all. The better approach was softening. Yoga gave me understanding and tools

yoga, thread the needle

Yoga gives me understanding – and more tools for life

Recently I’ve been trying to add this tool as an option to how I approach a problem. Sometimes my direct, can do attitude can means that I don’t let things sit enough and I go off half cocked. I am loving working with learning how to soften my response and when that approach is more skillful than the direct approach.  And my vision of the Gordian-Knot-That-Wasn’t really captures that journey.

This is the most amazing thing about yoga – it helps us understand ourselves better and become more skillful – in our communication and in our life.

Claim your free video – 20 minute softening sequence.
We could all do with a bit of softening.

Emotional yoga: why are you embarrassed?

Emotional yoga:
why are you embarrassed?

Does someone’s behavior reflect on you?

I became a vegetarian in 1996, when I was 29. A few months later I was due to visit Hungary with my father. I didn’t occur to me that my vegetarianism could become an issue and I wondered – why are you embarrassed?

I had visited with my Hungarian father many times – but not in ages. In fact, it was my first trip since ‘the change’. I was looking forward to seeing what post communist Hungary was like.

My father balked. He literally said to me ‘you’re going to be finished with this vegetarian phase by the time we go to Hungary, aren’t you’! This was with the same tone that you might use with a 15 year old ‘you’re still wearing that black lipstick and black eyeshadow’! Apparently kids never do grow up.

We went to Hungary and it was fun – in spite of my father’s rumblings in advance.  I got gently teased by family friends and at every meal there was a consultation with the server in Hungarian to explain that I was a vegetarian. I always ended up with beautifully breaded and fried vegetables. This was 1996 – there were not a lot of vegetarians in Hungary, so delicious but not much variety.

I couldn’t understand why my father had got his knickers in such a twist and why he put quite a lot of pressure on me to mend my vegetarian ways. Then it hit me: he thought it reflected badly on his parenting that he could raise a child who became – shock / horror – a vegetarian.

Hungarian Emboidery
My grandmother embroiled the placemat and cushion cover. The box is from Transylvania.

Why are we embarrassed for other people?

I think we’ve all been embarrassed by our parents, especially while growing up and that we take that feeling into adulthood. Do you find yourself feeling responsible for the behavior of others? I’m not talking about anything outright shocking or dangerous – but something a bit eccentric or outré … like being a vegetarian. I’m an advice column junkie and  there are many columns written about this – especially concerning weddings.

In a sense it’s understandable – we’re not just used to societal norms but we also naturally cleave to those who are like us. So it’s easy to cringe at someone else seemingly embarrassing themselves. If that’s a spouse or parent or someone you’re close to it’s easy to feel like their behavior is a reflection on you. Why are you embarrassed?

It’s you not them – why are you embarrassed?

An important part of yoga is not just the physical practice – but also the mind body connection and the inner work. Yoga helps us dig into ourselves and know ourselves. We peel though those layers of assumptions and ‘shoulds’. Why did it make my father so uncomfortable that he had raised a vegetarian? Why would that be a failing on his part? When you notice these sorts of feelings well up, yoga helps you pause and understand these reactions and where the come from. Perhaps they are indication of more work to be done.

The more we understand ourselves, the more we can act rather than react and that can only help us live well. Yoga helped me do that – why not investigate how it can help you

I have a gift of journaling prompts to get you started.

Halfway Lift What Have You Done for Me Lately

Halfway Lift What Have You Done for Me Lately

I spent the longest time breezing though Halfway Lift – Ardha Uttanasana. Surely this pose was simply a way to get us up from forward fold without getting dizzy? It just didn’t seem to do very much. How we all yearn to feel like we’ve progressed and are accomplished it’s only natural. How can we feel accomplished in Halfway Lift?  – what has Halfway Lift done for you lately?

If only I’d had good access to a beginners yoga class. This experience gave me a love of introducing people beginning their yoga journey to these sorts of poses.

It’s my mission to help you connect to the way your body feels in common poses and suggest what you might be getting from them. It’s all part of connecting your mind and your body – so you can play with the pose and notice how it feels different every day. So what’s the purpose behind Halfway Lift?

Halfway Lift’s translation from Sanskrit is ‘half intense stretch pose’

What does that suggest to you? I take it to mean ‘engagement’ – with small, micro movements. It’s almost cerebral – it’s a winner for mind body connection.

You’re stretching your legs – front and back.

You’re engaging your core, you’re  lengthening your spine.

But you are doing this with a small, adjustments! 

✔︎ In Halfway Lift, reach the crown of your head forward.
✔︎ Play with feeling like there’s a thread linking the crown of your head to the facing wall. Feel your spine lengthen as the cord becomes taught.

Halfway Lift, Ardha Uttanasana, yoga,legnth

You’ll find this gives you extension in your spine and your neck. Mark Stephens writes about Halfway Lift:

✔︎Emphasize lengthening the spine, drawing the shoulder blades down the back, and further expanding across the heart center.

✔︎This helps you to root  into the ground with your feet as you extend your hamstrings.
✔︎That in turn helps you keep your legs vertical – there can can be a tendency to shift your hips back during Forward Fold and Halfway Lift.

How to Define Success

This can be baffling and overwhelmingly tiny little adjustments. It is the deepest challenge – but is it currently how do you challenge yourself in your yoga practice. 

I have naturally good balance – and I love balancing poses because I feel like I can do them well. You probably have something similar, and it’s an important feeling, especially considering we often think we are rubbish at yoga – and perhaps at life in general. It’s important to feel like you’re improving and being successful.

You often hear that yoga is not a competition. But in group classes it can be hard to keep sight of that and sometimes we’re fuzzy about what that phrase ‘it’s not a competition’ even means.

Lets think about success in yoga as feeling the connection between your mind and your body – so that you can play with the less flashy poses and feel like you are getting benefits.  

In fact the challenge can be greatest in the poses where the process is more internal, or where we struggle – like Halfway Lift. This can be where we most grow – not in the poses that come easily. What sort of yoga journey are you after today? 

Want to see these Halfway Lift cues in action?
My free video guides you through these steps to get the most from  Halfway Lift .


Sometimes using props can help you experience the pose so you get the full benefit. I’ve written a couple of blogs on this:

3 Reasons to Use Yoga Blocks
3 Reasons to Use Yoga Straps


We Are All Connected

We Are All Connected

Rubbing shoulders helps us connect

I spent much of my childhood on public transportation and airplanes. We travelled a lot. I was a gregarious kid and travelled hopefully in life. What was going to be the next exciting adventure? It helped show me from an early age that we are all connected. When I was about three, I woke up on a flight – probably overnight from New York to London. The lights were dim and I was bored. I decided to work the plane. I wandered around, keeping my eyes peeled for someone who looked like they’d engage with me. Probably not long after my mother came rushing over and apologized to the man whose ears I was pinning back. He laughed it off, amused.

Life on on public transportation helps with fear of ‘other’

New York City, Subway, 1970New York City, 1970 New York City, Subway, 1970 New York City, 1970 New York City, 1970

Photos are all from The National Archives

Mum and I spent many hours on the London Tube, Long Island Railroad and the the New York Subway. We regularly took the subway to the Loehmann’s in The Bronx – the Kingsbridge Store. This was in the 1970s and many people wouldn’t go on the subway, thinking it too dangerous – let along taking it to the Bronx. Some might have been horrified that my mother did this. But mum has a very good radar and we never felt threatened. I remember general grime, all sorts of folks and a lot graffiti art – some good, some not. My father and a friend of the family who owned a gallery in The City used to have arguments about the artistic value of graffiti. No one thought that it was a bad idea to expose me to the Subway.

Changing neighborhoods

I saw London change. My grandparent’s flat is in Whitechapel, an area that has always taken in immigrants, put them on their feet and sent them on their way. When I was young, it was still cockney and Jewish. As my childhood rolled along, things began to change as Bangladeshis moved in. The street market outside Whitechapel tube station evolved from cockney accented stall keepers calling their wares – always with laugh and some joshing – to fruits and vegetables that we didn’t know and bright colors against the dull London sky with spicy aromas from the new restaurants. The transition was full of tension – you could feel it in the racially charged air. In fact, they were very similar to the tensions from when the Jewish immigrants, now being supplanted, arrived from Eastern Europe and Russia at the end of the Nineteenth Century onwards. At the time, it was said those immigrants had funny clothes, funny food an odd religion and wouldn’t learn the language. In fact, the Russian immigrants in particular could very well be anarchists and about to bomb us all. Sound familiar at all?

See photos that give a good feel for Whitechapel in the 1970s
here and here and
this photo is how I remember just west of Whitechapel Tube Station from that period. 

The only time I felt unease, though, was when some Croatian men moved into the flats during the Balkans War in the 1990s. They didn’t do anything but pass us on the stairs – but their eyes were merciless and cold as they nodded a greeting. It sent prickles up my spine as I wondered what they had seen – and done.

Helping us all connect

I benefited greatly from these experiences which helped me feel that we are all connected. I met people from all walks of life and learnt that ‘we’re all in the same bloody human predicament’ as my mother liked to say. This was a great gift – I can approach people as individuals, rarely making assumptions. I don’t tend to go in with preconceptions.

Yoga teaches us that we are all connected and that has been my life experience. Sometimes it can be hard to feel that way when we meet people who are not like us. Deep feelings can well up: of not understanding, of fear of the unknown – and that is a signal that we have something to probe and figure out.

It’s only by bringing these uncomfortable feelings into the light that we can address them. One of the important things in yoga is to take time and quiet to hear all these voices – we need to understand them, or be at their mercy.

In the end, sallying forth to gain experiences of people from other walks of life and other communities can bring down barriers between us and help us treat each other as individuals and not make assumptions about them.

Tap into your connections with these free journaling prompts!

Yoga Affects You Inside and Outside

Yoga Affects you Inside and Outside

Yoga is more than physical – it affects you inside and outside

Many of us come to yoga for its physical benefits – I know I did! I loved the feeling of how yoga moved me. And it is an important part of the yoga experience.

Recently I’ve written several blogs on asana itself – on aspects of physical yoga practice.

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps
How to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe
3 Reasons to use yoga blocks

Yet there’s that moment when you feel something shift inside you and you realize  yoga isn’t just about your body.
When did you notice yoga affects you inside and outside?

The inside shift

Take a little time to imagine how yoga creates more connections in you:  more connections to your body, more connections to your mind and also more connections between your mind and your body.  It’s that connection to our mind that sets yoga apart.

Tell me how you noticed the way yoga affects you overall – how did it move from being simply about your body to a more whole combination of mind and body.

Yoga helps me channel my emotions

Overall yoga has helped me be more open to change and to be curious about life,  and face things with equanimity – but there are constant small differences in the way I feel. The first thing I noticed yoga giving me was that I was able to channel my emotions better. I have big emotions that flare up inside me in an almost physical way and I can find it hard to come round from what should be a small funk. Yoga helps me shrug off those small things as just a minor blip.

I find it particularly hard with food to adjust. Cooking – my meals – food overall – is an important part of my life. Recently a friend and I were deciding what to order. We each chose, and because we thought the brussels sprouts sounded good we decided to share a portion of them.

When the dish arrived, it turned out my friend had had a different brussels sprouts dish in mind! I felt really bad, but she wasn’t fazed at all. We joked about it, because it barely bothered her and I know if it had been the other way around I’d definitely have work to do adjusting to the different dish.

The things we can shrug off easily as opposed to those that are harder vary from person to person. what do you find hard to shrug off?

Navigating change

We all know that change is a constant in our lives – but it is still difficult and unsettling. Yoga helps us navigate change – the small tacks we have to make to our course every day and the big life changes we have. 

Claim your free video to a calming breath technique, which is always a benefit of yoga.

What is it about yoga that helps us navigate change?
Before I discuss that in another blog, let me know what you think!

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps

Why Use Your Yoga Strap?

Straps are the most overlooked prop in yoga – but I’m a great fan. It can be intimidating to see some of the complicated ways yoga straps can be used. Yet are some very straightforward uses for a strap that can be extremely beneficial – and you don’t even have to buy one,  just use the belt from your robe or something similar. Consider these three reasons to use yoga straps.

forward fold, yoga, strap Yoga, forward fold, strap

Alignment – and bad habits

Are you full present during forward folds? When a pose isn’t difficult our mind tends to wander – it’s only human nature.

Next time you do a forward fold – whether standing or seated – a strap can help focus on

  • lengthening your spine rather than reaching.
  • We tend to have the habit of bending our back to get closer to our body  – we’ve all done it – but that’s not as good for our spine. Notice any difference in feeling when you use a strap.

Best of all,  I find using a strap reminds me
to be present and really notice my forward fold.

Extend Your Arms – and feel the pose while gaining flexibility

strap hand to big toe pose yoga
See how cramped I am without a strap – I’m not very flexible

yoga hand to big toe pose strap
See how open and steady I am using my strap. The strap is also building more flexibility.

I’m quite inflexible, and I like to use a strap to help get the benefit of a pose that is ‘outside of my grasp’. This is true of some more complicated poses like Dancer Pose or Hand to Big Toe Pose, but makes a huge difference in some more straightforward poses like supine leg stretches. You can get my guide to using a strap for supine leg stretches.

What happens with a strap is that you can do the pose while keeping good form
and this in turn means you benefit more from the pose while increasing your flexibility.

Tune into your Body That Day – connect your mind and body and prevent injury

Some days it makes sense to dial it back and take it easy. Perhaps you’ve mastered Hand to Big Toe Pose but it doesn’t feel like a day to extend yourself to your fullest. Listen to your body, some days ease into the pose and feel what it’s like with a strap. Another day your body will tell you that it’s ready for a good stretch.

Don’t let your ego interfere with what you’re body’s saying
– that way lies injury.

There are many  reasons to use yoga straps –
let me know how and why you like you yours. If you don’t use a strap -experiment with it  and let me know how it goes. 

How to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe

How to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe

What should a good Chaturanga look like?


Are you ready for your next Sun Salutation or transitioning in your sequence via a ‘vinyasa’? Many yoga classes have a lot of these! There’s a lot be said for the rhythm of these parts of yoga and the heat that creates but I have my concerns with the volume of Chaturagas in classes. Lets focus on how to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe. 

  • many yoga practitioners enjoy Chaturanga, but it’s a complex pose that also requires strength. A lot of the Chaturangas I see are inviting injury. I suspect the increase in yoga shoulder injuries is at least in part due to this.
  • Instructors use sun salutations and ‘vinysasas’ frequently – so a yoga practice will have many, many Chaturangas. Too many, to my mind. If I’m in a class like this, I’ll avoid chaturanga after the first few.
  • Many classes are quite fast paced – people like to move in their yoga! Yet the most vulnerable time for injury is in transitions. The quick cuing leads to faster Chaturangas making their shoulders more vulnerable.

So what’s the solution? Taking back your own control over your chatuanga!

Most yoga classes don’t spend time teaching form for Chaturanga – so here’s the lowdown

First, lets try to banish our ego – somehow we take any form exercise as competitive when it definitely shouldn’t be in yoga. Part of yoga is listening to our body and understanding it. I’m actually very strong – but there are days I just don’t want to do Chaturanga. 

It’s not a personal reflection if you do a variation
or just decided to skip Chaturanga altogether.

Here’s an overview of the main things to bear in mind when doing your Chaturanga. It doesn’t go into details, it’s a highlights of how to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe

Chaturanga requires strength – from most of your body.

You need to be able to lower yourself in a plank position, which requires good core strength. There’s a  tendency to what my yoga teacher friend calls ‘sway back’.

It’s not just about your upper body and arm strength

Chaturanga requires complicated movement and alignments

There’s quite a lot of different motion going on during Chaturanga that makes it tricky. 

→ The bit that is often overlooked is the ‘hinge forward’.

As you move, your weight moves forward, so your body is not just going down, it’s also moving forward. This protects the shoulders..

→ You also want to have your bum in line with your body. 

This will activate your core and reduce the pressure on your shoulders.

→ Don’t let your arms go down more than 90 degrees.

You don’t have to go as far a 90 degrees, but going farther is a stress on your shoulders. This is why Chaturanga is often paired with Upward Facing Dog. 


Chaturanga start, yoga

Begin with your bum down and in line with your body, to activate your core.

Chaturanga, yoga, form

Slowly come down, keeping your body in line, parallel to the ground and your spine straight. This means forward movement.  Finish before your arms go past 90 degrees.

Chaturanga, hinge forward, safe shoulders

Here, superimposed, is the difference between when I start my Chaturanga and where I end it. Note that my heels and head end up father forward!

Why Bother with Chaturanga?

Quite often I don’t! You can stay in your plank and go back to Downward Facing Dog.  You can find your way down to the mat to participate in cobra.

There are many options to do instead of Chaturanga – check them out, ask your Instructor!

Get Form – how to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe!

If you do want to have Chaturanga in your practice it’s important to pay attention to your strength and your form so you don’t injure your shoulders. You also might want to go easy on the volume of Chaturangas during your practice!

Taking a Beginner’s Class and asking the Instructor to go over Chaturanga is a great way to develop your Chaturanga.

Want to build up your strength to Chaturanga? Outside of many great poses that build up strength, there are variations you can do when the Instructor says ‘if Chaturanga is in your practice’ – I go over two of them in my free guide. 

There’s no reason to have Chaturanga in your practice – and no reason not to. But if you do want it in your practice, it’s worthwhile making sure you’re doing it well so you don’t make yourself vulnerable to injury and are getting maximum benefit.

Don’t miss your free guide to some Chaturanga variations that also build up your strength and form!