Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Archive for July 11th, 2015

The Base Of Many Asana

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2015

As you may know, there are thousands of yoga poses.  Some of those may be variations or modifications, but still, there are a lot of yoga poses.  I think of them in four categories; standing, sitting, lying down, and kneeling.  Some people break them into different categories or types: standing poses, forward bends, back bends, twists, balances, and inversions.  Or even standing, twists, sitting/forward bending, supine/prone, inverted, balancing, and back bending.  To me you can do a forward bend while standing or sitting.  Same with a twist.  Balancing can be done standing, sitting, or on knees.  Lying down is generally supine or prone.  Inversions can be done lying down or standing, and the same with back bends.  Within the four categories I named, I think of asana in terms of what are we doing.  Are we balancing, are we stretching, are we working on strength or is this a restful pose.  So sometimes those are my categories.  It just really depends.  Sometimes seated poses might look easy, but they might be more involved than you first realize.  It might appear to be a restful pose when in fact it is a strengthening pose.  One of those poses is Dandasana or Staff pose.

The staff pose is a sitting pose.  It might be considered somewhat restful, but you are using your muscles.  You are activating quite a few.  This pose might not be done often on its own in yoga classes, but it is a base or starting point of many poses.

This asana is simple, yet it might not be easy.  The pose requires you to sit up tall with a straight back.  You want to sit on your sitz bones.  Your weight is evenly distributed over both bones.  Your legs are extended straight out in front of you.  Your legs are together, thighs, knees, ankles and feet, together.  Your thighs are active.  You are actively pressing your legs gently into the floor.  Your knees are facing the sky.  Your feet are flexed with toes pointing up to the sky.  Your spine is lengthening.  You are reaching with the crown of your head to the sky, lengthening the neck, opening the chest, allow shoulders to relax, shoulder blades sliding down into your back pockets.  Your ribs are lifting up, away from your hips.  One way to do this pose is to press into the floor with your hands, arms are straight.

Using your hands is a variation or a modification . . . depends.  Pressing into the floor would give you tension in your arms allowing them to work.  But using your arms might be a modification because your arms might help you keep your spine straight allowing your core muscles to work less.

Another modification would be to sit on a blanket.  That might be more comfortable for your sitz bones.  Another modification would be to sit up against the wall.  This could be a step one might take if they need to build up core strength.

This pose is said to have the following benefits:

–strengthens muscles of chest, shoulders, and back
–tones abdominal organs
–improves digestion
–reduces heartburn and flatulence
–tones the spinal and leg muscles
–lengthens ligaments of the legs
–stretches and activates muscles of legs
–relieves sciatica
–improves posture

As I mentioned this post is the base of many poses.  The lengthening of the spine and legs is the start of many asana.  Some even keep that energy, the energy of the legs moving away from the hips and/or the energy of the head moving away from the hips, throughout the pose.  So this is a great one to master to help with other asana.

Do you practice Dandasana?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »