I love dandasana, or staff pose. To the untrained eye, a person in dandasana looks she’s just sitting there hanging out. In reality, this pose can be difficult to hold: it requires relaxed hamstrings, active quads, an open chest, a flexible thoracic spine, and a strong core. Dandasana is great prep for seated forward folds and also for training the body to sit without the back of a chair for support.
Here’s how you do dandasana:
1. Start on the floor in a seated position with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
2. Inhale and place your hands beside your hips, pressing your hands firmly into the mat.
3. Exhale, lift your toes and slide your heels away from you. If you can, straighten your legs entirely. If tight hamstrings hamper this position, keep a slight bend in the knees or place a rolled-up blanket beneath them.
4. Breathe in and engage the abdominals from the pelvic floor to the navel; engage the quadriceps and breathe out.
5. Inhale and press your hands more firmly to the mat, lifting your chest. Without moving your hands, press them down into the mat and behind you to energize the triceps.
6. Exhale and see if you can find a bit more curvature in the upper back as you roll your shoulders back.
7. Stay here for five to ten breaths.