Sun salutations with full chaturangas are a great way to build strength in your yoga practice. As you continue to develop in that area, stepping back to plank before lowering down is a safe way to protect your joints and preserve your form. Once you can confidently hold your chaturanga, jumping back can really take your practice to the next level! Here’s how to put it to work for you.
When folding forward (uttanasana), gently bend your knees. You want to be able to place your palms flat on the floor on either side of your feet.
Practicing this is a great tool to have in your yoga toolkit.
As you kick your legs back, your head and chest start to shoot forward. Think of lengthening out to opposite ends of your mat, and engage your belly. Arm strength is important, but a strong core is just as necessary.
With flat hands, you can shift weight into your hands enough so your legs float. While your first few tries may be kicks (and face plants are part of the learning process!), eventually your jump backs will be graceful repositioning of your body.
Bend your elbows. If you lock your arms, you are putting your elbows and shoulders at risk for injury.
You should always land in chaturanga, not plank. By shifting your torso forward slightly, you will help to nail the perfect landing.
Be patient with your practice, and know that this transition will take work. This helps to build a foundation for floating up to uttanasana from Downward Dog, and eventually handstands, so practicing this is a great tool to have in your yoga toolkit.