Perfecting the Yogi Push-Up (with VIDEO)

Meagan McCrary

In my last post, we worked on finding Tadasana (or Mountain Pose) in Plank Pose. This week we are going to focus on staying steady in Tadasana -- i.e. keeping your spine stable -- as you lower down toward Chaturanga Dandasana and back up to Plank.

The biggest thing I see when students lower down from Plank Pose to Chaturanga Dandasana is extreme movement through different sections of the spine, particularly the head and neck. The majority of students lead with their faces, hyperextending their necks forward and protruding their heads in front of their shoulders.

Once the head and neck extend forward out of alignment, it’s nearly impossible to keep the rest of the spine stable.

Staying Stable Through Chaturanga

Rather than remaining stiff as a board in Plank through Chaturanga Dandasana, or Yogi Push-Up, the spine moves in three separate sections — compressing the various vertebrae, especially in the low back. Let’s take a closer look at what happens to the spine and how to stabilize it.

The video above illustrates what an unsteady Chaturanga looks like, followed by instructions for perfecting your transition from Plank to Chaturanga Dandasana and Yogi Push-Ups.

  • From Plank put your knees down on the mat. (There is no shame in putting your knees down and working on gaining the appropriate strength in alignment!)
  • Press down strongly through your palms and lift through your side ribs, bringing your heart center away from the floor.
  • Broaden your collarbones, bringing the sternum forward slightly without collapsing through the mid-section.
  • Lift through the base of your skull, keeping your neck in line with the rest of your spine.
  • Strongly press down through your palms as you lower, bending your elbows half way, and concentrate on keeping the spine stable and everything in its place.
  • Try one or two Yogi Push-Ups and finish back in Plank Pose.

How did it go? Did the visual help? We would love to know, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!