This basic beginner pose is more challenging than it looks! Here’s how to do Staff Pose properly and reap the benefits…
Staff Pose (Dandasana) may look like one of the simplest poses ever – you’re just sitting on the floor, right? But in fact, this pose is a lot more challenging than it appears! Your entire body is actually working in this pose, from your feet to your thighs, core, chest, and shoulders. If you lift your arms, you can make the pose even more challenging, especially if you hold it for a while.
This basic yoga pose improves posture and builds strength and stability throughout the legs, core, back, and entire body, and it is a very safe pose for beginners. Staff pose is often used as a transitional pose between other seated poses, and it is therefore thought of as the foundational seated pose – rather like Mountain Pose is the foundational standing pose.
If you have trouble sitting with a straight back in Staff Pose, try sitting on a folded blanket or yoga blocks. You can also try placing your hands on blocks. If you have tight hamstrings, you may soften or slightly bend your knees.
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Here are basic instructions for performing the pose:
- Sit with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. If you find it hard to sit with a straight back, sit on a block or folded blanket. Place your hands next to your hips on the floor.
- Flex your feet and extend out through the heels. Pull the tops of your thighs up towards your hips and down to the floor. Actively press your sitting bones into the floor and a little towards the back.
- Draw your lower belly in and up. Use your abdominal strength to help you to sit straight.
- Draw your shoulders back and down along your spine. Bring the bottom of your shoulder blades towards each other. Your chest is open but keep your front ribs soft.
- Check that your shoulders are over your hips and that your ears are in line with your shoulders. Tuck your chin slightly so that the back of your neck is long.
- Stay in this position between 5-15 breaths. Keep engaging your abdominal muscles to maintain this pose.
- As a variation, on an in-breath you can take your arms out and lift them overhead. If you feel your upper back rounding with your arms all the way up, lower your arms a bit so you can see them out of the corners of your eyes in order to maintain length in your upper back.
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