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Dandasana – A Spine-Friendly Sitting Posture


The Staff Pose of Yoga Resists Sciatica and Slipped Disc

The Dandasana, or “Staff Pose” of yoga is a sitting posture that if inculcated from childhood can keep you away from ailments like a slipped disc and sciatica in your later years.

In our comfortable lifestyle, we rarely sit but slouch into comfortable positions deeply cushioned sofas and the like. The common element in all these is that they place our spine in a concave curve that eventually weakens the spine.

Due to physical comfort of this posture, we come to believe that this position is most comfortable while sitting, as it eases our muscles. But the fact is that while it seems comfortable, it actually is harmful to our spine, eventually leading to spinal injuries and ailments like slipped disc, sciatica and other back and hip related ailments.

How to do the Dandasana Staff Pose of Yoga

Sit with your back erect on a piled carpet with your thighs as flat on the floor as possible and extend your legs straight from your hip (this posture can only be done on a flat surface). To make your posture more comfortable, you may fold a blanket under yourself or sit on a soft piled carpet.

Your big toes should touch each other as also should your knees, ankles and heels. This ensures that your legs are in fact straight on the floor as your back is ramrod straight. To help keep your back straight, you may start doing this posture by resting your back against a wall.

But be sure that your buttocks are as near the right angle between the wall and the floor, or else you will tend to slouch. It will take some effort to keep yourself ramrod straight.

When sitting against the wall ensure that both your shoulders and shoulder blades touch the wall. You should however, keep your lower back and the back of the head free off the wall. This is that as when your head touches the wall, the eventual result would be a slouching position.

You may insert a small cylindrical pillow or roll a towel between the wall and your lower back so that you back is erect in the shape of an “S.” This will also help you to sit ramrod erect and still feel comfortable.

Do not stiffen your abdominal muscles while sitting. But you should stiffen the muscles of your thighs and press them down towards the mat. Your palms will be flat on the floor and your arms will be by your side. Now you are Dandasana pose. Pause and breathe normally.

Cultivate the habit of sitting with your back ramrod straight even when you do not have a wall or a backrest behind you. When you do this posture without your back being supported by a wall you may place some weight, such as books or sandbags, to weigh down your thighs while keeping your back erect. This is so that your thighs do raise themselves when you keep your back erect. You have to make conscious effort to pin them down.

How to Come Out of the Dandasana Staff Pose of Yoga

Exhale and relax the pressure on all muscles except those of your arms. Now bend to one side and support yourself with both arms to turn towards that side. Support yourself up with the palms of both and get up.

Benefits of the Dandasana Staff Pose of Yoga

This is the proper but not most comfortable of all sitting poses. This posture nourishes your spine and your body’s resistance against all hip and back related ailments, if you inculcate this sitting posture from childhood.

To derive comprehensive benefits from the different yoga exercises, do this exercise along with other yoga exercises like the Ardha Chandrasana to resist ailments like osteoporosis and slipped disc,the Mandukasana to resist diabetes, and the Halasana to exercise your entire body with a single posture.

A Word of Caution

Those who suffer from any wrist injury, hip or back ailment should do not do this posture. You need to inculcate this posture as a habit from childhood to keep away all back and hip related ailments. In any case, do consult your doctor and yoga instructor for their tips before you start doing do this posture.

Eat Food with High Nutrient Value

Insist on food with high nutrient value. Eat non-greasy, high fiber and low calorie food. This can supplement your yoga exercises and help you to get the best out of them.