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Dandasana

Seated Staff Pose

BKS Iyengar in Dandasana

Like all poses, Dandasana has a foundation; that is the sitting bones on the floor (or cushion) the legs extended and ideally having the inner ankle bones together, the back lifts up and  the pelvis will tilt forward so the spine will balance vertically.

One of the purposes of this pose is to provide an anatomical perspective while lengthening through the back for the legs and extending upwards through the spine. To achieve this the front leg muscles and abdominal muscles are also exercised.

How to:

  1. Sit on the floor with legs together and extended in front of you as with your feet flat as if against a wall.
  2. a) Then press the hands into the floor -fingers pointing towards the feet. Continue to press down so that you take your body weight on your arms and the entire weight of your torso is suspended from the shoulders. The sitting bones float off the floor to allow the spine to lengthen. Hold time = 30 - 90 secs
  3. b) Slowly soften the arms and transfer weight back to the spine and feel the weight difference. Then attempt to sit tall and recreate the sense of lightness without using your arms for support.
  4. c) Then try the variation of extending the arms above the head and attempting to recreate the sense of lightness felt in the spine as in pt 1. Hold time = 30 - 90 secs

Tips

  • For the beginner and those with tight hamstrings, sitting on a block or cushion makes this pose easier.
  • For those with short arms, place a phone book or blocks under each hand helps to achieve correctness.
  • For those who with tight hamstrings, they can sit with their backs to the wall.

Rotate the pelvis forward - if you had a tail extending away along the floor behind you - the sitting bones pressing down and the spine growing up..

In addition to working the legs, dandasana also helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles and is the starting position prior to cross legs, or more abdominal strengthening exercises like paripurna navasana.

 

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