Come to an active seat in Dandasana, Staff Pose, in order to strengthen the muscles in the back, encourage good posture and to help provide opening in the chest and shoulders. Staff Pose is deceiving and appears to be effortless. When done with integrity, mindfulness and with the balance of ease and effort, it can be challenging.
To do Dandasana: come to a seat. Option to sit on a blanket or towel for support if the hamstrings are tight. Turn the blanket or towel to sit on the edge of the blanket, like a diamond, so that only the buttocks is
rested on the blanket. Extend the legs out in front of you. Notice the sitting bones, or the proper name, the ischial tuberosity, are grounded neutral onto the ground. To check alignment, bring the palms to the sides of the body and gently rock the pelvic forward and backward to find a neutral seat. If the hamstrings are tight, they may cause you to sit uneven. Sit on a blanket or towel in order to raise your seat and create proper alignment and added support.
On an inhale breath, sit tall and bring the palms to the sides. Align the palms under the shoulders and bring the fingertips facing forward. On an exhale, draw the low-belly in towards the spine. Continue breathing slow and smooth inhales and exhales while flexing the toes towards the face and while pressing the thighs downward and slightly rotating them inward towards each other. Draw the shoulder blades down the back and notice the spine is sitting tall, erect and active. The natural shape of the spine is encouraged in this posture. Relax the muscles of the face and breathe. Create long and smooth inhales and exhales.
Draw the pelvic muscles up and in, creating a lifting sensation starting at the base of the spine. Imagine energy flowing up the front line of the body by starting at the front of the pelvis, and moving up to the top of the sternum. A continuous flowing motion, it then circulates down the spine, towards the back side of the pelvis, and into the base of sacrum. Imagine the breath is flowing simultaneously with the circulating energy. Stay here for 3-5 full rounds of breath (one inhalation and one exhalation equals one round of breath).
Notice how you feel after sitting tall like a staff in Dandasana. Does the mind feel a bit more clear and does the body feel light and grounded?
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.