For most of us, our spine is neither strong nor straight. Habitual slouching, weak lumbar spine, tensions in the neck, stiff back, and stooped shoulders leave us powerless to sit and stand with the simplicity of an erect spine. With the Dandasana, staff pose, you can build your way to a sturdy and healthy spine.
Dandasana or the Staff Pose is the foundation of all other seated yoga postures. A basic yoga pose where the spine acts as a staff supporting the upper body and helps the practitioner establish a connection with the earth, the staff pose strengthens the back muscles, abdominal organs, and deep muscles in the pelvic region.
“A key element of the practice of Dandasana is to cultivate awareness of the Spinal alignment from the tailbone all the way to the crown of the head.”
Our spine reflects our postural style and the energy flow within the body. Practice with patience and attention and find yourself all day sitting with ease and comfort.
Step-By-Step Instructions for performing Staff Pose (Dandasana):
1. Sit on the ground with straight legs in front. Firmly place the hips on the ground.
2. Curve the feet and point the toes upward. Evenly spread the weight across the inner and outer legs.
3. Locate the palms on the ground moderately behind the posterior.
4. Relax the shoulder blades and keep the torso perpendicular to the ground.
5. Lengthen the body all the way from the tailbone to the top of the head.
6. Hold this pose for 6-10 gentle breaths.
Variations of the Staff Pose:
1. People with a weak lower back who experience tightness in the hamstrings can sit on a folded blanket.
2. If the hamstrings are tight then practice the pose with a slight bend in the knees.
3. Beginners can perform the pose against a wall to help find the correct alignment of the body in the posture.
4. If there is any difficulty in placing the hands on the floor, then rest them on a yoga block.
Deepening the Pose:
Advanced level yogis can practice the more challenging version of the Staff Pose. Rest the palms next to the hips. Compress the hands down and lift through the lower abdomen to straighten the spine.
Here are the five top benefits of staff pose:
1. Corrects Posture: One of the most enticing benefits of Dandasana is its powerful ability to improve the posture. A correct posture minimizes the overstretching of muscles in the body and contributes to stability in the movements. Good posture significantly affects one’s breathing patterns allowing the practitioners to take deep breaths.
2. Relaxes the nervous system: A healthy diaphragm is the byproduct of an upright stance. The hunched stance restricts the functioning of the diaphragm. The breath becomes shallow and nervous system becomes agitated. The correct posture allows the diaphragm to function properly enabling you to breathe deeply and relaxing the nervous system. It brings the body-mind into harmony– and the journey of self-awakening starts.
3. Increases the Core strength: Staff pose is a great core exercise. A daily practice of dandasana increases core strength and trains the muscles of abdomen, pelvis, and hips to work in unison. A strong core leads to stability and balance in every action performed.
4. Stretches the Hamstrings: The practice of modified staff pose that involves the use of yoga props provides a gentle stretch to the hamstrings. The mild stretch helps in alleviating the tightness in the hamstrings making them strong and supple.
5. Awareness to the Bandhas: The dandasana is an effective way to bring attention to the energy locks within the body– Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and Jalandhara Bandha. Mula Bandha is the root lock and brings lightness to the mat. Uddiyana is the second energy lock representing the energy of the stomach and abdominal organs. Jalandhar is the throat lock managing the energy current in the nerves of the neck.
Become physically and mentally prepared for glorious yoga practices with Dandasana (Staff Pose).