Is it Chaturanga that makes Led Primary so daunting?

Yesterday, after a short practice at home during which I focused on my Chaturangas, I posted over on Facebook a link to one of our old posts: “Reminder: You’re probably doing Chaturanga wrong.” In it, there’s video of Lino Miele and he holds his Chaturanga each time, eyes forward.

It’s a reminder that, yes, Chaturanga is a pose. It’s not just a transition like, say, Chakrasana. But I think it is safe to say that a lot of us tend to blow through it and get to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana ASAP.


Today, during our Led Primary at Omkar 108, as I was hovering in Chaturanga waiting for the command to move on, I wondered if the forced hold of the pose is what’s at the root of people’s dislike of Led classes. (Not that everyone hates Led classes, but my experience is that people with Mysore practices would choose Mysore over Led, any day.)

Perhaps more to the point: Is it the Chaturangas that make Led classes so hard?

Again, in general, I suspect that Led classes force most people to hold most poses for longer than they are used to; this may be especially true for “harder” poses like Uttitha Hasta Padangushthasana.

But those poses all come and then go. Chaturanga is there with you throughout almost the entire practice. It is there after Utplutih when Savasana is calling out sweetly to your shoulders and arms.

Holding it is hard.

But as a friend texted me yesterday, it is holding Chaturanga that builds the strength necessary for the practice. In fact, I’ll quote her: “That pause = lots of strength.”

I guess what I’m saying is: Do your Chaturangas.

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “Is it Chaturanga that makes Led Primary so daunting?”

  1. I periodically make my students hold chaturanga a little longer than they’re used to. And by “make them,” I mean I suggest it, offer them options, and then correct form. They moan and groan about it, but it makes for a healthier transition to UpDog. Yes, it can feel like torture (to me, too), but I love the pain.

  2. The sheer number and repetitions of chaturangas in primary make some astangis vulnerable to overuse injuries. There aren’t that many of us with 15+ years of regular practice, and I know several including myself, who have numerous shoulder tears and worn cartilage. I used to feel good about the rigor, but no more. There really isn’t that much information about the practice over the long term. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but as the practice has more longer term practitioners , we will know more about long term effects.I know that people will rationalize and assume that allignment was not correct, etc, but I literally know at least 6 people, one of them a long term teacher, with damaged shoulders. Just saying…

    1. Hi Dianne. Bobbie’s already been through a shoulder surgery, so we know of what you speak!

      The Confluence teachers talked a lot about practice and aging, too — it’s obviously something on their minds.


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