Staff
DANDĀSANA (दण्डासन)
(dan-DAHS-anna)

 


‘Danda’= stick, staff, or walking stick, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Stick Pose

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Seated / Stretch / Restorative

1. Start seated with your legs extended straight.
2. Make sure not to lock your knees as you flex your feet so that your toes point toward the sky.
3. Place your palms down on the mat next to your hips. Do not lock or hyperextend your elbows. If your elbows are a little bent that is okay.
4. Ground your palms and buttocks into the mat and sit up straight as you stretch through your spine, and up through the crown of your head, so that your back is perpendicular to the ground. Keep your thighs down to the mat.
5. With your back extended upward, engage your core, and bring your navel to your spine. Make sure your shoulder blades are flat across your back and that your shoulders are wide, down, and back under your ears.
6. Your body should look like an ‘L’ with a straight line from head to hips and then from hips to heels.
7. Relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders and gaze forward.
8. Hold this pose for several breaths, and then release into Corpse (Savasana) or Easy Pose (Sukhasana).

Common Adjustments
• Back rounded / spine not in alignment with hips and shoulders
• Knees bent too much or locked / out to the side and not in alignment
• Elbows locked
• Gaze too high or too low
• Feet not flexed with toes pointing upward
• Hands not by hips
• Neck and shoulders strained / shoulders up by the ears
• Tailbone tucked under forcing the hips forward

Modifications
• Students who are not able to place their palms fully on the ground by their hips can rest on their fingertips or place blocks under their hands.
• Students with tight backs, hamstrings, and/or calf muscles who find it difficult to sit erect, with their spine perpendicular to the ground, can place a block, bolster, foam wedge, or folded blanket under their sit bones. This helps support the lower back.
• For students with weakness in their lower back, have difficulty keeping their back straight, have bronchitis, or severe asthma, can either: a) practice with their backs against a wall or chair, b) practice with their backs against a wall with a block between the wall and their shoulder blades, or c) practice by placing a strap around the balls of their feet and then pulling on the ends to the help keep their back straight. Alternatively, students can wrap a strap around the lower back and then around their feet to keep their back straight and strong. Also, students can place their hands just behind the hips to help keep their back straight.
• For students with tight calf muscles and/or hamstrings, they can practice next to a wall so that the soles of their feet are against the wall.
• Students with sciatica or have tight hamstrings can bend the knees or place a bolster or rolled blanket under their knees. This will also help them to stay rooted in their sit bones. Alternatively, they can place a block, bolster, or folded blanket under their sit bones to elevate their hips and elevate back pressure.

Counter Poses
• Incline Plank (Purvottanasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Cat (Marjaryasana)
• Corpse (Savasana)
• Reverse Corpse (Advasana)
• Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Anatomy
• Neck and Shoulders• Chest (Pectoralis Minor)
• Abdomen (Core)• Hips (Iliopsoas)
• Gluteus Maximus• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles• Ankles

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretched the neck, shoulders, chest, back, spine, abdomen, hip, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and ankles.
• Increases flexibility in the hips and pelvis area as well as lengthens the spine and hamstrings. Improves posture and alignment.
• Opens the chest, which stimulates the respiratory system. This helps relieve breathlessness and is therapeutic for students with asthma.
• Massages internal organs like the kidneys and liver which Improves digestion and relieves fluctuance.
• Increases circulation.
• Prevents sciatic pain and can soothe heartburn.
• Relaxes the nervous system, which increases focus and reduces stress and fatigue.
• Increases endurance.
• Great pose for meditation as well as is a great starter pose for any seated poses.

Contraindications
1. Students that experience pain in the thighs while stretching, have sciatica or lower back discomfort, have a really stiff back, or have bulging or herniated vertebral discs, should use caution in this pose. If practiced, seek guidance and use modifications and props.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra TwoSacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – Seated Postures as “Dandasana – Staff Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 8 video “Dandasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 9 – SITTING POSES as “DANDASASNA – Staff Pose”.

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