What is Dandasana?
Seated poses have been an integral part of yoga for centuries to strengthen the back and the lower body, the most essential body parts that impact our health and the ability to function. These seated poses are either practiced on their own or combined with meditation and pranayama.
Dandasana is one such important seated pose, the practice of which offers tremendous mental and physical benefits. The term Dandasana comes from ‘dand’ that means a stick or staff and ‘asana’ that means posture. Also known as the staff pose, it is a simple and gentle pose that is often amongst the first poses that yoga students learn and lays the foundation for other more intense poses like the Surya Namaskar yoga routine.
Who can perform Dandasana?
Anyone who wants to improve her/his strength, form, and stability can perform Dandasana. This pose is especially advised for:
- This is an ideal pose of yoga for beginners.
- Seniors can easily perform this simple asana.
- Children as young as 5 years can perform Dandasana.
- Pregnant women can easily perform this asana.
- People who have trouble doing standing yoga poses due to injuries or other reasons.
- Yogadandasana is a very effective pose for people who suffer from vertigo or feel dizzy while standing and sitting.
- People who feel stressed, anxious, or depressed can practice Dandasana.
- Those who have suffered injuries and are finding it difficult to balance.
- People who suffer from frequent back pains.
- Those who suffer from stiffness in the neck, shoulders, legs, etc. due to a sedentary lifestyle.
- People who suffer from frequent digestive issues.
- People who suffer from pains in the legs.
- Those who want to improve their balance and coordination can practice the staff pose.
- People who want to improve their stamina.
- People who suffer from high blood pressure.
Who should avoid Dandasana?
There are certain categories of people who should avoid Dandasana. These include:
- Avoid practicing yoga Dandasana if you have injuries in your arms, wrist, or back.
- If you have recently undergone surgery and are yet to heal, avoid practicing this asana.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you are suffering from severe pain in your legs, arms, or back, let yourself heal first before you practice Dandasana.
- If you are experiencing severe fatigue or exhaustion, it’s best to let yourself calm down a little before practicing this asana.
- If you suffer from tightness in the glutes or hamstrings.
- If you are suffering from fever, cold, or flu.
How does Dandasana help?
Dandasana is a simple yet powerful asana that has tremendous spiritual, mental, and physical benefits. Some of the most important Dandasana benefits include:
- Since in this asana, you are required to stretch and straighten your legs and back by solely using your core muscles, it helps in building your core strength. This is extremely beneficial in helping you remain flexible during exercise and daily activities.
- Yoga Dandasana is an effective pose to help you correct your posture while standing, sitting, walking, and even sleeping. This is beneficial for people who have postural problems due to a sedentary lifestyle or work that requires them to be seated for long hours.
- This asana helps in strengthening, stretching, and toning your back muscles. This is essential for not only exercising and lifting weights but even for making the smallest of movements.
- Since in this asana you are required to bring your torso perpendicular to the floor, it helps in strengthening your hip region and build flexibility.
- It helps in relieving you of pains and inflammations due to injuries or conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.
- Since this asana stretches and strengthens your digestive organs, it helps in preventing constipation, gas, flatulence, etc.
- It helps in relieving your shoulders of stiffness and pain.
- When practiced along with pranayama, this asana helps in calming your mind and reducing stress and anxiety. This in turn helps in preventing obesity, heart problems, etc.
- Since this asana requires you to be seated on the ground, it helps you feel connected and grounded. This goes a long way in inducing humility & empathy and connectedness with people and life.
- This asana is known to cure shortness of breath and asthma.
- This is a great yoga posture for kids for improving their concentration and performance in sports.
How is Dandasana done?
Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of how the staff pose should be done:
- Sit on the ground keeping your back straight. Your legs should be stretched in front of you. Your feet should be pointed upwards.
- Press your hips on the floor and keep your neck straight.
- Make sure that your spine is stretched comfortably.
- Place your palms next to your hips on the floor.
- Relax your legs and press your body firmly on the floor.
- Breathe deeply.
- Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat this pose 5-6 times, 2-3 times in a day.
Once you familiarise yourself with Dandasana, it becomes easy to progress to its advanced variations. One of the most effective variations is Chaturanga Dandasana. Also known as the ‘Low Plank’ pose, this is one of the poses in the Surya Namaskar routine. Here are some Chaturanga Dandasana benefits:
- Chaturanga Dandasana is a very effective pose of yoga for weight loss.
- One of the most important Chaturanga benefits is that it helps increase your stamina and endurance.
- Chaturanga Dandasana is a great way to help stretch and strengthen your spine, back, shoulders, arms, and abdomen.
Other variations of Dandasana include:
- Viparita Dandasana: Also known as the Inverted Staff pose, this is an advanced level back-bending pose. Viparita Dandasana is a great pose to stretch your chest muscles, strengthen your heart, and increase lung capacity.
- Supta Dandasana: This is a reclined posture that helps in improving your blood circulation, calms the mind, strengthens the core, and improves your digestive processes.
What are some tips for practicing Dandasana safely?
Though Dandasana is a beginner level pose, still it’s good to know some tips for practicing this pose safely:
- Never start practicing Dandasana without the guidance of an expert trainer. This will help in practicing it properly and avoiding fatigue and pains.
- Never practice the asana too fast or too many times. Start slow and build up the repetitions gradually.
- Always practice Dandasana in a space that’s clean and clutter-free. Switch off your phone and TV to avoid distractions.
- If you feel that you are not able to straighten your back, you can keep a folded blanket underneath your sitting bones. This will help in elevating your hips and keeping a straight back. You can also practice this asana with your wall placed against a wall.
- Never let your legs rotate in any direction. Keep them straight to avoid a tear in your ligaments or twisting your limbs.
- Practice this asana in the early morning hours of 4-6 am. This is when your stomach and bowels are empty and your mind is stress-free.
- Since this asana requires you to stretch your lower limbs, always do a warm-up session before you start practicing this asana. This is important for preventing injuries.
- Practice Dandasana consistently to gain its benefits. Taking too many breaks will not let you gain its benefits.
- Avoid performing this asana if you have suffered an injury in your wrists, arms, shoulders, back, or legs unless you have healed completely.