Staff Pose - Dandasana

Staff pose
Ben Goldstein

Type of pose: Seated

Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings and calves, improves spinal awareness.

Dandasana gives you the basic alignment used for most other seated yoga poses. Think of it as a seated version of tadasana (which is the basis for standing poses). The most important part of this pose is finding your spine in an upright position that is sustainable. This may mean sitting up on a blanket or two.

Sitting flat on the floor with your legs outstretched may look like the simplest thing in the world, but when you try it, you may change your mind. In fact, many people find this position profoundly uncomfortable. The point here is not to grit your teeth and get through it but to find a way to make the experience better. Props can help. If your spine wants to round forward when you sit flat on the floor, some height under your seat can make a big difference.


  1. Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  2. You want to be sitting on your sit bones as much as possible. To that end, take hold of the flesh of each buttock and move it out of the way. This results in a much more grounded feeling.
  3. Engage your thigh muscles and flex both feet. Your heels may come up off the floor.
  4. Stack the shoulders directly on top of the hips. Release your shoulders away from your ears.
  5. The ideal version of the pose has the arms straight and the palms flat on the floor on either side of your hips to support your spine. However, arm lengths vary so there is some discretion to bend your arms slightly or shift the placement of your palms.
  6. Inhale to lengthen your spine.
  7. Try to stay for five deep breaths with the legs fully active.

Beginners' Tips

  • If It's hard for you to sit up straight, place a folded blanket under your seat. Raising the hips really helps here. 

Advanced Tips

  • Take this pose into a forward bend, also known as paschimottanasana
  • Challenge yourself to stay for ten breaths with the legs fully engaged the whole time.
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