This "straightforward" Staff Pose can be more challenging than it looks. Also known as Dandasana, this posture will give you the strength to improve your posture and tackle every other sitting pose with ease.
(Pronounced as "done-DAHS-anna")
In Sanskrit, danda means "staff" or "walking stick."
Sit down on your yoga mat and stretch both of your legs straight out in front of you. Shift your weight onto your left buttock as you reach underneath your right buttock and pull the flesh out to the right side, holding it out as you sit your right buttock back down. Now you will feel your right sitting bone pressing firmly into the floor. Do the same with the left buttock so that you are balanced directly on top of your sitting bones.
Hold your thighs, knees, ankles and feet together. Press both of your palms down into the mat next to the sides of your hips. Your fingers should spread apart and point forward. Your thumbs should almost touch the outer edges of your hips. Use the pressing of your hands into the floor to help you lift your chest straight up. Straighten your arms and sit up so that your entire spine is in a straight line.
Press your thighs down into the mat and lift your waist to hold your torso up. Here your torso should form a 90-degree angle with your legs.
If you find it difficult to sit up, then place a blanket or bolster underneath your sitting bones to increase the height of your pelvis. You can also sit with a wall behind you and see that your sacrum and shoulder blades are the only parts of your back that make contact with the wall. You can place a rolled blanket in between your lower back and the wall if you need more support to get this proper alignment.
Extend your heels forward and let the tips of your toes point directly up toward the ceiling. While you should contract the abdomen somewhat to keep it active, do not harden your diaphragm. Lift up and expand your rib cage. Visualize lengthening the bottom of your spine down into the floor.
Breathe normally. Stay in this posture for 20 seconds in the beginning. Later on when you are comfortable with it, you can hold it for a minute or more.
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