Dandasana The StaffDandasana - The Staff by Sue Fuller

This posture will increase flexibility and improves spinal alignment.  It also develops core strength and encourages you to maintain correct alignment throughout the day. 

Sit with the legs extended, the feet flexed and a straight spine, focus on your alignment and the sensation of drawing up the lower abdominal muscles. Broaden the upper back and release your shoulders away from your ears breathe slowly through your nose. 

Remain here for ten slow breaths.

Variations

It is possible to widen the legs just a little bit or elevate the hips if you find it particularly demanding to maintain a straight spine.

If you wish to advance this posture try the following. Lift the arms up above your head with the palms facing each other continue to breathe slowly.  As you lift your arms work to maintain a straight spine by continuously drawing up the lower abdominal muscles.  When the arms lift the centre of gravity moves accordingly this could cause the lower back to arch, it is important to remain strong through the lower stomach muscles so that this does not happen. 

Lifting the arms above the head for long periods of time is not suitable for those with high or low blood pressure.

If you feel pain or discomfort, relax the posture immediately.  Always seek medical advice before beginning any new physical activity.

Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher, columnist and course author.  She is the creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes.  There are over 60 yoga classes suitable for different abilities all available from www.yoga2hear.co.uk