This posture is often overlooked because from the outside it appears so easy. It tends to be in the simplest postures that the mind starts to wander, but simplicity allows you to learn a lot if you put the effort to pay attention. Usually, dandasana (danda means staff) is used to move between other seated postures, and as such people tend to forget to bring the focus that they apply so diligently elsewhere.
Try bringing your full awareness to this posture, and use the alignment cues to discover imbalances, weakness, or tightness in your body. You can then use this information to choose other postures that will help improve and use your whole practice more effectively.
Look at the two photos below to see the LAZY Dandasana and ENGAGED Dandasana. We have exaggerated the difference here so you can see it, but in reality, it might not be very noticeable from the outside. Only you know how the posture feels.
- Sit down with your legs extended out in front of you
- Engage your thighs and press your legs together, flex the feet and engage the muscles of the pelvic floor
- Roll the shoulders back, open the chest and draw the lower belly in.
- Bring the hands to the ground (depending on the length of your arms compared to your torso this will either be just the fingertips or your whole palms), press the hands into the floor, and use that tension to open the chest more and arch the lower back a bit more.
- Keep the chin neutral, and cross the eyes to look at the tip of the nose
- Breathe deeply and carefully observe the body
**If you want to make it more challenging try lifting your arms over your head, and bringing them as far back as possible, arching the back.
Common problems to observe and fix:
- Can’t sit up straight
Tightness in the hips or back of the legs, either work on the forward bending flexibility before sitting down or sit on a cushion so the angle of the hips is greater. (Careful with the knees if they are off the floor)
- Difficulty keeping the shoulders back
Work on back bending, particularly shoulder opening and strengthening poses
- Ankles touching but space between the knees (bow leg)
Use the pelvic floor muscles and thigh muscles to draw your legs towards each other
- Knees and thighs touching but the gap between the ankles
Work on poses that open the groin like baddha-konasana, and work on the position of your ankles while standing to make sure they are not rolled in.
- Improve your overall posture, by strengthening the back muscles and helping you find a neutral space.
- Find the problems in your body, by spending a good amount of time in this pose with proper alignment and all the muscles engaged. See which muscles give up first being weak
- Useful transition pose between other seated poses
Looking for more postures? Check our Posture Library