Dandasana (Staff pose)
Through the custom of sitting in chairs, the back muscles become weak, the shoulders round and inhalations become shallow. The organs of the digestive system become sluggish due to the slumping position.
"Danda" means "staff." In this sitting pose, the legs are kept firm and the torso is lifted and held erect like a staff. Dandasana tones the legs and helps to strengthen the knees. By correct practice the kidneys are stimulated, the muscles of the back are brought to life and the chest expanded. The practice of Dandasana helps to balance the negative consequences of our lifestyle.
1. Sit on the floor and extend the legs out straight with the feet together.
2. Extend through the heels, arches of the feet and the mounds of the toes until you feel your legs extend fully. Turn your legs in toward each other until the knees point directly at the ceiling.
3. Place your hands beside the hips with fingers pointing forward. Spread your collarbones wide and move the shoulder blades into the back to open the chest. Press your hands down into the floor to fully straighten the arms.
MANOA YOGA CENTER
Ray Madigan, co-director of Manoa Yoga Center, demonstrates the Dandasana pose.
4. Now, with an exhalation, press the whole back of the legs into the floor and simultaneously lift the spine in and up as you spread and open your chest fully.
5. Use the downward force of your legs, buttock bones and arms to aid the lift in the spine, and do not let your back slump. Due to tightness in the back of the legs, you might have difficulty lifting the spine. In this case, lift the buttocks and sit on a height (like a folded blanket).
6. Gaze straight ahead and coordinate your exhalations with the actions of your legs, arms and torso. Use the inhalations to enhance and maintain your chest expansion. Do not hold your breath, but let it become even and smooth.
7. Hold the pose for up to a minute, then relax.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.