Learning the Language of Yoga: Staff Pose #MovementMonday
Staff pose, or Dandasana, is deceiving! There is much more engagement in the body than it appears. The energy is streaming up from your pelvis to your sternum, then back down from your shoulders to your tailbone. Imagine your spine as a long, straight staff.
- Getting into it: Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso. Flex your feet towards your nose by pressing out through your heels. Try to stack your shoulders right over your hips/pelvis to ensure your torso isn’t leaning back (or forward). If this is challenging, try sitting on a blanket to lift your pelvis. Gently engage (don’t flex) your core muscles and firm your thighs. Press your thighs down against the floor, and rotate them slightly inward to create more space for your sacrum. Then, drop your shoulders away from your ears and gradually lift your chest.
- Tips and tricks:
- Flex your feet to keep your legs engaged.
- Imagine there’s a string lengthening the crown of your head to the sky.
- Hug your arms along your torso to help straighten up, but ease off if you have any back pain.
- Press your hands gently into the mat, but back off if your wrists are sensitive.
- Stretches your shoulders and chest.
- Strengthens the muscles in your back.
- Improves your posture by promoting a long spine.
- Creates body awareness and helps calm your mind.
Think “long and strong” in staff pose. I often feel like my spine has lengthened after performing this pose. However, in addition to the physical benefits, I came to experience how this pose can be incredibly calming. It is often held for several breaths to let you absorb the benefits for your body and mind.
Natalie Anthony, BA, RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
After a serious accident, Natalie was revived by discovering the physical and emotional benefits of yoga. Her yoga journey began as a client at Balance, and evolved into a passion for teaching the practice to others. Natalie is registered with the International Yoga Alliance as an instructor. Her creative sequencing inspires students to develop strength, flexibility and joy – both on and off the mat. Natalie instructs group classes and facilitates private one-on-one Yoga sessions at Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness and wellness centre. balancefit.com