Mastering Chaturanga

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Ever heard your yoga teacher call out “chaturanga” and wonder if you’re doing it correctly? We feel you. Chaturanga Dandasana - or four-limbed staff pose - is the one yoga pose yogis love to hate. Most of us do it incorrectly or half-heartedly for years before finding the light!

Because this is such a physically and emotionally challenging pose, there’s a tendency to rush through it to get it over with. But a lack of attention is perhaps the biggest problem. While chaturanga can be a great way to tone your arms and core, your alignment needs to be spot on. Otherwise, you’ll risk shoulder or back injury.

The Benefits of Chaturanga:

Why do we put ourselves through this tough pose? There are several reasons why yoga instructors sprinkle chaturanga dandasana throughout their classes. Here are some of my favorite reasons for using chaturanga to transition between your yoga sequences.

  1. It makes your wrists stronger and more flexible.

  2. It builds muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms.

  3. It tones and stretches your core muscles.

  4. Add all of this together and it’s a great preparatory pose for arm balances and inversions

The upper-body and lower-belly strength you acquire by practicing chaturanga translates wonderfully into the power and core consciousness you need for arm balances like crow pose and side plank.

Where Most of Us Go Wrong:

It’s challenging to know when you are doing your chaturangas correctly. And since it’s a pose of repetition, it can lead to injury when performed incorrectly over and over again. Here are a couple ways even the best of us mess up our chaturangas sometimes.

  • Our hands are too close to our shoulders, causing our elbows to bend further than 90 degrees.

  • Our bodies either collapse to the ground with a saggy back or we stick our butt out toward the ceiling putting too much pressure on our shoulders.

  • Our elbows fall outward instead of hugging our core.

  • We lazily move through chaturanga, barely bending at the elbow before quickly rushing into upward dog.

How to Make Chaturanga More Accessible:

One option is to practice the pose with your knees on the floor - there’s no shame in this, friends! Closely monitor your elbow alignment. Next, recognize how deep you go as you lower yourself toward the floor, catching yourself before you begin to sag. Finally, share the strength of the pose between your upper and lower body so that your legs can ease the burden.

Still Confused?

Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a novice, each of us can benefit from stripping this pose down to its basics once in a while. So, whether you know you’re doing chaturanga wrong or you’re so darn comfortable in it that you’re starting to think you could use an extra challenge, we’ve got you! Join us at Yoga Fever for our next Chaturanga Clinic on March 18th from 1-2:15pm to learn the proper alignment, explore preparatory poses, and even how to take it to the next level by hopping or floating back into it! Sign up now - your shoulders will thank you!

 

The Story Behind Yoga Fever

Hot Yoga Studio

The Love Story Behind Our Studio

For some, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to spend quality time with their significant other. For others, it’s a reminder to demonstrate love and vulnerability toward friends and family members. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to share my honest, vulnerable story behind the creation of Yoga Fever - and the tremendous community we’re building together.

The Story of Yoga Fever (the abbreviated version)

This story starts in 2014, when my sister passed away unexpectedly. It was definitely the toughest time of my life. It took a lot of soul searching, contemplation, forgiveness and letting go to move out of that state of constant grief. About a year later, when I was beginning to recover and rebuild, I knew I had to do something meaningful with my life. No longer could I coast along doing things I didn’t love; I felt inspired - and almost obligated - to do more, to make my sister proud and to make a real difference. Life is too damn short to not be happy. I was on a quest to find internal bliss by creating a life of purpose.

One afternoon, I happened to drive by a commercial space available for rent. I immediately was struck by the thought: “What if?! Could I possibly open a studio?” Of course, I pulled over and the light bulb continued to get brighter as I planned my perfect studio in my head (in under 5 minutes. Ha!). Every open commercial space caught my eye and got me thinking. Even at the very beginning, I knew I had to create a studio that captured the philosophies and traditions of yoga, paired with the modern hot yoga style. I hadn’t really experienced a studio that did both in the midwest, but I assumed there had to be other like-minded individuals like me who wanted to mix classical yoga with modern hot vinyasa.

While these thoughts were beginning to permeate my mind, I was busy teaching corporate yoga at Steelcase, teaching at local studios, and working my day job doing marketing. I come from a long line of persistent entrepreneurs - but I certainly wasn’t wealthy. I had a small savings account and a big dream; great role models and my angel beside me.

So, I spent weeks drafting a business plan. Looking back, this was an incredibly tough time for me. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or do anything besides work on this plan. Finally, with the help and advice of my family members, I pitched my plan to local banks - all of whom turned me down. Losing steam and about to give up, I ended up at a non profit in Grand Rapids that helps women and minorities in business. This incredible organization believed in me when no one else did. I was able to sign a lease on my ideal studio space and officially launch into this journey. I opened Yoga Fever on January 18, 2016 and we still have students with us who came to our very first night. To say that is an amazing feeling is an understatement. Every time I feel the weight of business owner on my shoulders I remind myself of my purpose, my reasons why I signed up for this and feel grateful that I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity.

Yoga Fever has surpassed all of my expectations and grown into such a beautiful community. But I couldn’t do any of this without the help and support of Team Fever. I try to remain humble, as I rely on several family members, mentors and colleagues to guide me in my decisions for the studio.

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We just celebrated our third birthday, and the outpouring of love and support for Yoga Fever was simply overwhelming. Every single class was sold out. And our horizon is still incredibly bright! In this past year, we’ve introduced Yin Yoga and added Buti Yoga to our full-time schedule. We have seen three brilliant classes of yoga teacher training graduates, some of whom now teach in the studio! Inspiring guest teachers have taught prenatal yoga, The Teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Live Music with Girish, and Ayurveda workshops. We have donated several proceeds to organizations such as Toys for Tots, West Michigan Humane Society, and more. My goal is to continue working together to create new workshops and events that allow us to practice in innovative ways.

To all of you who make the choice to practice with us, to learn about yoga, and to heal your body and mind, thank you and a HUMONGOUS NAMASTE.