Chatuse Padasana: four feet firmly on the foundation

Chatuse Padasana, or four footed pose, has two distinct functions. First it is a universally  accessible and easy-to-do backbend. You will get all the backbend benefits without all the fear and mental roadblocks you’ll find in other back bending asanas. But the second function and the real magic of this pose is that it introduces the proper shoulder actions in Salmaba Sarvangasana (supported all body pose, or shoulder stand).  It also begins to introduce the Jalandara Bandha sternum-to-chin action that will be found in more complex poses later. I teach this to all of my basic students to get them to work towards shoulder stand.

First, you will need a sticky mat and a strap:

Chatuse padasana 1

Next, roll the spine flat onto the floor using the same instructions from my Savasana post. Please note the head is on the slippery floor and the shoulders are on the sticky mat. This is deliberate.

Chatuse padasana 2

Raise the feet and place the strap over the front of the shins.

Chatuse padasana 3

Then place the feet back on the floor with the heels right in front of the buttock bones with the toes pointed slightly inward.

Chatuse padasana 4

For those with knee issues, move the feet further away from the buttocks.

Chatuse padasana 5

Keeping the feet in place, lift the hips up slightly

Chatuse padasana 6

Shift the weight to the left side, and pull firmly on the right strap. Then externally rotate the right upper arm toward the floor. Notice how my chest puffs up when I do this. Then repeat on the other side. This is the important shoulder work I referred to earlier.

Chatuse padasana 8

Now you are ready for launch. The “four feet” are the upper arms and feet creating a platform to blast the hips into space. Inhale, then push shins toward the armpits and lift up the hips toward the ceiling. Try to move both sides of the body up symmetrically, like an elevator going up a floor.  Also move the sternum toward the chin. Pull firmly on the straps. Hold for a few breaths (and don’t hold your breath)!

Chatuse padasana 9

Exhale and lower the buttocks back to the floor. Repeat several times. The more you do, the better your mood will get! Endorphins are released in backbends creating a euphoria in the mind of the practitioner. Just don’t get too caught up in it.

Chatuse padasana 10

It is also advisable to do a spine neutralizing pose like a wide downward dog after backbends to de-contract the back muscles. For a back bending sequences, see the “yoga sequences” button on my blog menu.

wide ams

 

Have a wonderful practice!

 

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8 thoughts on “Chatuse Padasana: four feet firmly on the foundation

  1. Pingback: A backbending sequence for beginning students | Home Yoga Practice

  2. k8macdo

    Thank you for this! I particularly find it helpful that you suggest using this as a preparation for sarvagasana. I will definitely try this approach to sarvagasana in my class : )

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks k8! Remember to use blankets in Sarvangasana so necks don’t get crunched 🙂 The C7 vertebrae is vulnerable to injury if doing Sarvangasana without props. I’m sure you know this, but this is for others reading these comments. You can teach this pose using a Sarvangasana setup with feet on two blocks. That will give students even more elevation. If there are any questions on proper Sarvangasana setup, click on link in the body of this post. Thank you for your readership and support!

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  3. Aparna

    I taught this pose in my class last night! The external rotation of the upper arms not only helps with having even weight distribution between your feet and shoulders – it also feels good on the shoulders!

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  4. Pingback: Short on Time? Sirsasana and Sarvangasana! | Yoga and Physics

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