Dandasana / Seated Staff Pose

This posture awakens the entire body in preparation for more complicated asanas.  It challenges us to pay attention to details.

Step by Step

1.  Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.  Keep the big toes, inner heels and inner knees together.  Work the legs strongly by gripping the thigh muscles to the thigh bones and activating the muscles around the knee caps.  Press the back of the knees into the floor.  Ensure the legs do not rotate outwards.

2.  Move the heel bones and sitting bones away from each other by stretching the heels away from the body and tilting the pelvis slightly forward.  You will have a feeling of lengthening the back of the legs as well as the lower back.  It is important not to collapse the lower back, work strongly to lift from the base of the pelvis.  Ensure your weight is evenly distributed between the sitting bones.

3.  Place the hands flat on the floor on either side of the hips with the fingers pointing forward.  Allow your chest to lift, then broaden across the shoulders.  Pull the navel in toward the spine, so you get a sense of lengthening the front of the torso.  Having your tailbone act as a little anchor in this pose will let the rest of the vertebral column lift away from it, helping you to sit long and tall.

4.  Check the position of your head and neck.  Have your chin parallel to the floor, which prevents the chin from jutting forward and helps maintain a nice length in the back of the neck.

5.  Counterpose: Purvottanasana/East Stretch Pose.