Dandasana or Staff Pose or Base Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Dandasana, Staff Pose, Base Pose
Sanskrit
दण्डासन / Daṇḍāsana
Pronunciation
Dahn-DAH-uh-nuh
Meaning
danda: “stick”
asana: “posture”

Introduction

Just as Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is the foundation for all standing poses, Dandasana (Dahn-DAH-uh-nuh), or Staff Pose, is the foundation for all seated poses. It establishes the patterns of muscular engagement, alignment, and breathing that will inform every other pose that is to come once you get down to the floor in your yoga practice.

In many systems of Vinyasa YogaDandasana is returned to time and time again as the preparatory pose done before virtually any seated pose, particularly forward bends, and twists, so it is important to know how to do it correctly.

It is also a powerful pose in its own right and is surprisingly difficult to hold for extended periods of time. It helps to build both strength and active flexibility.

The results of a study show that yoga exercises are beneficial for older adults. The findings support previous research which indicates how regular practice can keep your body flexible and improve physical fitness as you age, providing benefits such as better functioning in daily tasks like climbing stairs or reaching items on high shelves!

A Look at Some Studies indicate Regular Yoga Practice Improves Body Flexibility

Muscle Focus

Staff Pose works on several muscles such as

  • Hamstrings
  • Calf muscles
  • Core (Abdominal Muscles)
  • Back (Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi)
  • Glutes

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Helps to release the hamstrings.
  • Helps to alleviate aches and pain caused by tight hamstring muscles.
  • Helps to relieve digestion-related issues.

Benefits of Dandasana or Staff Pose Or Base Pose

1. Gently Stretches the Hamstrings

Dandasana also provides a gentle stretch to the hamstring muscles which are located around the rear thighs.

2. Makes you Aware of your Body and Mind

Dandasana helps you to become more aware of your body and its alignment. This is beneficial for all other poses.

3. It Helps to Rejuvenate the Brain Cells

Dandasana helps to rejuvenate the brain cells and can be beneficial for those suffering from anxiety or stress.

4. Improves Body Posture

Dandasana teaches you to sit up tall with a long spine and open chest. This is the posture you want to cultivate in all your seated poses.

5. Helps to Avoid Back and Hip Injuries

By practicing Dandasana regularly, you will help tone the muscles that support your spine and hips, making you less prone to injury in these areas.

6. Strengthens Muscles Located Around Our Back

The muscles of the back are worked strongly in Dandasana. These muscles are responsible for good posture and for preventing injuries to the spine.

7. Lengthens and Stretches the Spine

Dandasana is a great pose for stretching and lengthening the spine. It may help to relieve complications related to the reproductive organs and can also be beneficial for the shoulders and chest.

8. Dandasana also Stimulates Digestive Organs

Dandasana may also help to improve the functioning of the digestive organs by stimulating them.

Contraindications

This is a very simple pose, so there is not much precaution that needs to be taken with it. However, if you suffer from sciatic pain, you may find some benefit from performing a pose that incorporates some external rotation of the hips before holding Dandasana for an extended period of time. Bound Angle Pose, for example.

Likewise, if you suffer from lower back pain and have tight hamstrings, it may be beneficial to perform some poses that help to open the hamstrings, calves, and glutes before holding Dandasana for an extended period. Downward Dog or a Standing Forward Bend, for example.

Variations

  • Shithil Dandasan (Relaxing Sitting Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  • Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you find it difficult to sit up tall, you can place a folded blanket or bolster underneath your hips for support.
  • You may also want to place a blanket under your knees for support.
  • If you have tight hamstrings, you can place a strap around your legs and hold onto the strap as you extend your legs. This will help to lengthen the hamstrings.
  • You can also practice this pose with your back against a wall. This will help you to maintain the correct alignment.

How to do Dandasana or Staff Pose

  • Start by sitting comfortably on your Yoga mat.
  • Gently extend your legs out and join them together at the center.
  • Now, exhale and place your palms on the mat beside you such that your fingers point towards your feet.
  • As you inhale, lengthen your spine and lift your chest.
  • The key to getting into Dandasana correctly is engaging the muscles of the back. You want to imagine that you are pulling your shoulder blades down and together, and then tucking your tailbone under. This will help create length in the spine and prevent rounding of the shoulders.
  • If you find it difficult to sit up tall, you can place a folded blanket or bolster underneath your hips for support.

Mental Benefits of Dandasana or Staff Pose

  • Beneficial for the mind.
  • Helps to calm and focus the mind.
  • Anxiety or stress.

Bottom Line

Dandasana is a foundational yoga pose that is done before virtually any seated pose, particularly forward bends, and twists. It is also a powerful pose in its own right and is surprisingly difficult to hold for extended periods of time. It helps to build both strength and active flexibility. By practicing Dandasana regularly, you will improve your posture and alignment, lengthen your spine, and find greater body awareness. This pose also provides a mild stretch for the hamstrings. Dandasana is beneficial for the mind and can help to calm and focus the mind. It is also beneficial for those suffering from anxiety or stress. So, if you are new to Yoga, be sure to add Dandasana to your practice.

1 sources
  1. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/27/2/27_jpts-2014-427/_article
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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