This has been my fun challenge recently:
Chaturanga dandasana is usually part of the sun salutation, but I've never been content moving *through* it. I've always felt like it was sloppy and that entire part of the sequence needed examining. However, in the midst of a class I could never have time to explore it. Of course, I always forgot to ask the instructor beforehand, remembering only as I flopped my way through another round.
At home recently, I've been holding this pose. I can't believe how sudden and heavy my breathing becomes. It is not a pose I can hold for any length, but getting better (nothing close to the "10-30 seconds" this page suggests). I can make 3 breaths before I have to go to the floor--not 3 relaxed and slow breaths, mind you. I've noticed since doing a home practice and focusing more on core poses than anything that my biggest problem with this pose and that part of the sequence was my floppy core.
I always thought I was strong (gardener and grunt, aikido, sword play, etc.) but yoga taught me otherwise, and I never realized how week my middle was until I started focusing on strengthening it. I like to think "there is more than one reason to call it the 'core'". It is, indeed, central to yoga practice. I feel that all asanas radiate out from this area, depend upon this area. That feeling could be because it is my current focus, and in the universe, all points are central, aren't they?
Check out the pose index on the same page. Fun.