Translation: Four Limb Staff Pose
Keeping the spine as straight as possible with your arms in the fully extended position shoulder width apart, lower yourself slowly to the mat until the elbows line up horizontally with the spine.
Look forward or down trying to keep a straight line in the spine and the legs. Engage the core abdominal muscles by tucking the navel in and up and and tuck the tailbone in to prevent a collapse in the lower back.
Use the bicep muscles a little by pushing down on the thumbs. Increase the use of the inner arm muscles further by tucking the elbows into the sides of the body and rotating the shoulders externally.
Glance down and back at the chest feet and navel. A quick glance can reveal so much about alignment. Make adjustments to correct posture.
This pose increases strength, balance and stability by developing many muscles, including the triceps and biceps, pectoralis major in the chest, the abdominal muscles, deltoids muscles, the scapular muscles and rotator cuffs.
“Keep the element of space between the wrists and forearms by using the element of fire.” This is done by engaging forearm muscles and tendon endings to create a slight lift in the wrists. These muscles are the extensor pollicis brevis, abductor pollicis longus, extensor pollicis longus which are small muscles that run along the inside of the arms and are used for thumb movements. Other muscles and tendons such as the extensor digitorum (communis), the extensor digiti minimi, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi longus, flexor carpi radialis, flexor digitorum profundus and the flexor digitorum superficialis.
Shown opposite and below is the pose after the body has been moved forward. This is usually done when this pose leads into a backbend such as Cobra. It is also a good variation that strengthens and stretches muscles in the ankles.
Vinyasa Yoga postures to transition from and to:
Yoga Teacher Tips
Encourage students to check their own alignment. This will make them responsible for their own alignment and causes a growth in the students personal awareness and confidence in personal practice.
“There is an actual name for the style of teaching students to correct their own alignment. It is called the self check style.”