Four-limbed staff pose is a challenging pose which requires core and upper body strength as well as body awareness. The name comes from the four points of contact between the body and the ground. The word “staff” refers to the spine, which is the central support of the body. It is also sometimes known as low plank pose.
Four-limbed staff pose is often used to strengthen the muscles of the arms, shoulders, back and core. If performed correctly, it utilizes the smaller accessory muscles as well as the major muscle groups. It is a great preparatory pose for arm balances and inversions. However, if it is performed without the correct alignment, it can cause injury to the shoulders. Correct alignment requires engagement and awareness of the whole body.
This pose can be modified while enough strength is built up for the full pose by lowering the knees before bending the elbows, or by looping a strap around the upper arms to support the body weight as the elbows are bent to right angles. It should be avoided altogether or modified carefully for those with wrist or shoulder injuries.