Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Dandasana is an asana in which the person performing the asana assumes the shape of a stick or staff. Therefore this asana or pose is called Dandasana or Staff Pose or Stick Pose.
Dandasana – Staff Pose or Stick Pose
Danda = Staff or Stick
Asana = Pose, Posture
Dandasana is an asana in which the person performing the asana assumes the shape of a stick or staff. Therefore thisasana or pose is called Dandasana or Staff Pose or Stick Pose.
Dandasana is a pose and also a good exercise which helps the body of the doer to prepare for performing more intense postures or poses (asanas). It improves the alignment of the body. The asana increases one’s ability to work on aligning your body perfectly.
Preparation for Dandasana
- Dandasana is a warm-up pose for the other deeper Yoga Poses. It shall be practiced on empty stomach for better results. The bowel also should be kept empty and cleansed before beginning this asana.
- It is better to have food at least few hours before doing the asana (4-6 hours before asana for better effect and impact).
- It is good if the asana is done in the early hours of the morning. As an exemption, it can also be done in the evening if it cannot be performed during the morning (for various reasons).
Method of doing Dandasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Sit erect on the ground or Yoga mat.
- Keep your back straightened.
- Keep your legs stretched out right in front of you.
- The stretched out lower limbs (legs) should be exactly parallel to each other. The feet should be pointing upwards.
Performing and getting to the Dandasana
- After properly positioning yourself on the ground with straight back and spread out legs as said above, press your butts on the floor. Now, align your head in such a way that the crown of your head points the ceiling. This will straighten and lengthen your backbone (spine)
- Flex your feet. Press your heels.
- Now place your palms next to your hips on the floor. This will support your spine. At the same time it also relaxes your shoulders.
- Keep your torso straight and relaxed.
- Relax your legs. Ground the lower half of your body firmly to the ground.
- Breathe normally. Hold the pose for about 20-30 seconds.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Relax your feet and legs.
- Breathe freely and relax your body.
- Come back and sit free, as you had started the asana at the beginning.
Pattern of working:
- The entire body weight of yours must be well balanced between your butts while doing this asana.
- Once you are in the pose, make sure to move your hips from one side to the other.
- When you start feeling that your weight has been balanced out, ensure that your tailbone and pubic bone are at equal distance from the floor.
- Start working on this pose from your feet up. Draw the base of your big toes forward. Align your heels, feet and toes. Just focus on your ankles.
- As you work on your heels, ground properly your calves and thighs.
- Try to get proper alignment in your belly, tailbone and pelvis as you gradually lead upwards and reach up to your arms, shoulders, clavicles (collarbones) and neck.
- Finally align the crown of the head.
- Remember to keep your hips, shoulders and ears in a single line.
Advanced pose (variation of Dandasana)
It is always important to get this asana right since Dandasana forms the foundation for all other twists and seated poses. The below mentioned pose variations shall be implemented which would imbibe the needed right alignment and help you in getting the things in a right way.
Sometimes your hamstring muscles might be tight enough. This makes sitting with the legs stretched out difficult. To make things comfortable, fold a blanket and place it underneath your butts. This will remove the tension from your legs and hips. This will also enable you to sit straight in the desired position.
Use the support of a wall in case your abdomen and upper back are weak. Gradually move away from the wall as you gain strength. Make sure your spine is erect as you gradually master the pose.
If you have long arms, bend your upper limbs gently at your elbows if you cannot straighten them fully. Remember to keep your palms flat on the floor and release your shoulder blades down to your back.
Keep your fingers pointing behind you, if you suffer from CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome) or have tight wrists and forearm. Just place your palms on the floor and rotate your arms such that your fingers point towards your back. This variation will ensure that the muscles of your chest and upper arm are opened up.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Dandasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
- Adho Mukha Shwanasana
Paschat Asanas (Post-Dandasana Poses)
After performing Dandasana, one can perform –
- Bharadhwaja’s Twist
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Dandasana?
One can stay in Dandasana for 20-30 seconds at a stretch.
Health Benefits of Dandasana
- Dandasana helps to strengthen the muscles of your back.
- This asana helps to stretch your shoulders and chest and the muscles therein.
- Dandasana also strengthens and stretches the abdomen and abdomen muscles.
- This asana helps in improvising your posture when it is practiced regularly.
- Dandasana helps in curing asthma.
- Dandasana is a good remedy for Sciatica.
- Dandasana helps to focus and calm the mind and senses. When this asana is blended with proper breathing, it relieves stress and helps in enhancing concentration.
Effect of Dandasana on Doshas and Dhatus
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Dandasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Dandasana helps in balancing and calming Vata, mainly Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu. By balancing these dosha subtypes, Dandasana helps in enhancing the focus and concentration, aeration of the body and balancing the breathing patterns, calming the nerves and mind and in turn de-stressing the doer.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Dandasana on Dhatus –
Dandasana strengthens and provides good stretch to the mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) of the back, limbs, shoulders, chest and abdomen. It enables proper movements of these muscles and helps in providing good balance and posture of the body.
Dandasana also strengthens the asthi dhatu and supports the bone tissue of the back, limbs, shoulders and chest.
Dandasana, what it promises!
Dandasana looks like an easy pose but it is quite an intense exercise for the chest, abdomen and upper back. The asana also provides good strength to the mentioned parts of the body.
This asana provides foundation for all the seated poses as Dandasana gives the basic structure for them all. It can be considered as the seated version of Tadasana or mountain pose.
Impact on Chakras
Dandasana balances the Manipura Chakra. By doing so, the asana helps one to move with will and purpose. It helps in energizing the limbs and torso.
Dandasana also supports and balances the Ajna Chakra. By doing so, it pacifies the mind and senses and provides serenity, de-stresses the doer to a maximum extent. Dandasana enables one towards internal seeing, imagining the movement of energy in the body, and visualizing the chakras during the pose.
Dandasana also balances the Sahasrara Chakra. It enables one to develop awareness of the body, awareness of one’s power of being aware, to witness consciousness and in releasing attachment.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Dandasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Dandasana –
- Lower Back Injury
- Wrist Joint injury
Dandasana looks as an easy asana but it isn’t as easy as it appears to be. It should be practiced under the guidance and supervision of an expert Yoga tutor, until you master it.
Just Before Finish
Dandasana is a good asana or pose for setting right and balancing one’s posture apart from strengthening the muscles of the limbs, back and abdomen. It is comprehensive exercise for body-mind health. In this article I have covered the details about the procedure of doing Dandasana, its benefits on body mind health and contraindications.
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