Dandasana (pronounced dan-DAHS-ana) is the starting point for all seated poses. It looks deceptively simple, as if it would not ask enough of us in our yoga practice. However, it will reveal challenges to be worked through — both in achieving the pose itself, and in properly achieving other asanas based on this “simple” starting point. The term “danda” means rod or staff.

How to Practice 

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out fully in front of you, to the point where the back of your knees are pushed into the floor and your thigh muscles are taught and together. Push your heels deliberately forward of your stretched out toes. Tilt slightly forward at the pelvis while stretching your spine tall. Look forward, not down, and feel the back of your neck tall. Place your palms flat on the floor and pointed forward. Lock your elbows tight and arms straight. Your shoulders should be relaxed and down, your chest wide, and your diaphragm relaxed. Pulling your navel in will help you feel the torso stretching tall.

This pose helps with general anxiety and with balancing the emotions. It also helps with constrictions of the breath and throat, as well as heartburn and gastric disturbances. If your arms seem “too long” for the pose, it is because the hamstrings and ligaments of the legs are tight. Therefore, work with the pose regularly for improvement. Sit on a blanket and/or against a wall for additional assistance.


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