Dandasana | Staff Pose or Stick Pose

(Dan-das-ana)
Type of Pose: Seated
Dandasana is the starting point for all the seated forward bends and twists. It helps improve sitting posture. It is an isometric, whole body exercise without movement.



Dandasana Pose Benefits

•Improves digestion, tones kidneys;
•Helps prevent sciatic pain;
•Stretches and activates the muscles of the legs.
•Strengthens the back.
•Prevents tiredness in the feet by stretching the muscles of the feet;

Contraindications/Cautions

Practice against a wall if you have asthma, bronchitis, breathlessness, ulcers or bulimia.

Step by Step

1. Sitting on the mat with the spine erect, legs straight out in front. Pull the flesh away from your sitting bones so that you are able to feel your sit bones on the ground. Your hands are on the ground beside your hips, fingers pointing forward, palms pressing down lightly. Recheck your shoulders to make sure you are not pressing too hard. Don’t lock out your elbows. If the arms are not long enough for the heel of the hands to reach the floor, place as much of the hand on the ground as possible. Otherwise use a block.

2. Draw the legs together. Engage the leg muscles, with the thigh muscles rotating inward, kneecaps facing directly up. Lengthen the calf muscles. Press the backs of the knees into the floor. Your legs should be long and straight. Be firm without being forceful.

3. There are a few variations of what to do with the feet: Your feet should be vertical, the center of your heels resting on the ground. They are flexed and parallel to each other, with the balls pressing away from you. Spread your toes – fan them out. Alternately, the feet are relaxed (ie. not flexed) but feeling extension through the top of the foot and into the toes. Or, flexing the foot, press through the heel – with the intention of engaging the legs enough that the heel comes off the floor.

4. The back should be working toward being perpendicular to the floor with out slumping or arching the back. The chest is opening while still maintaining length through the back with the tailbone drawing downward. The abdomen is slightly engaged.

5. The chin should be parallel with the floor. Shoulders and neck should be relaxed. Shoulder blades drop down the back and are coming toward each other. Gaze straight ahead.

6. Sit tall, as if there is a string pulling you up from the crown of your head. Your legs should feel energized, your torso light.

7. Breathe. Hold this pose for any length of time. If this posture is done correctly, after 5 minutes you can break a sweat.

Beginner’s Tips: If the student’s back is rounded and/or hip flexibility is poor, or if there is any discomfort in the back or the backs of the legs, have them sit on a block or folded blanket. Give more or less height depending on their flexibility. This allows them to have a more erect spine and to sit up straighter. It also releases tension from the hamstrings and hip flexors.

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