Yoga Journal - - Contents - By Ali­son West

Ali­son West, di­rec­tor of the Yoga Union Back­care & Sco­l­io­sis Cen­ter, teaches mov­ing from Dan­dasana to Urd­hva Mukha Svanasana.


Danda = Staff or rod á Asana = Pose

Staff Pose

BEN­E­FITS Strength­ens your back, hip flex­ors, and quadri­ceps; al­lows for lift and ex­pan­sion in the top of your ch­est.


1 Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Flex your feet slightly, and keep a long, neu­tral spine. Visu­al­ize your torso as a firm staff.

2 Bend your el­bows, dome your hands, and press the tops of your fin­gers into the floor next to your hips. (If you don’t have wrist is­sues and your arms are long enough, press your palms flat on the floor and straighten your arms.)

3 Firm your thighs as if hug­ging your fe­murs (thigh bones). Take your in­ner thighs down, lightly draw­ing your legs into your hip sock­ets to bring your pelvis ver­ti­cal and sup­port your lower ab­domen. Reach out through your lower legs, and spread the balls of your feet.

4 Lengthen your spine with­out hard­en­ing your ab­domen or im­ped­ing your breath. It helps to imag­ine that you’re a leafy plant whose leaves are grow­ing out from your tail­bone to the sides of your pelvis, from your lower spine out to the sides of your rib cage, from your heart out to your col­lar­bones, and from the base of your neck out to the base of your skull.

5 An­chor your in­ner shoul­der blades against your back, and draw the bot­toms down with­out pinch­ing them to­gether. Gen­tly roll the tops of your arms out to broaden your ch­est.

6 Breathe fully and freely for 5 breaths.

DON’T over­arch your back or push your ch­est out, which will over­work your hip flex­ors and put pres­sure on your sacroil­iac joint (which joins bone at the base of your spine with your pelvis ).

DON’T round your back or stick out your chin, which will re­strict your breath­ing and can strain your lower back.

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