Anatomy of a Pose - Laurel Marsh

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Laurel Marsh

Laurel Marsh


  • Strengthens the muscles along the spine & the hip flexors
  • Improves posture and helps build a strong foundation for healthy spinal alignment
  • Opens the chest and shoulders

Key Actions

  • Sit down at the back of your mat and extend both legs straight
  • Find the sitting bones at the base of the pelvis by shifting side to side.  Sit directly on top of them so that the tailbone and pubis are equidistance from the floor    
  • Bring the legs together, big toes touching and heels about one inch apart
  • Spin the inner thighs to the floor until the kneecaps face the ceiling, creating neutrality in the legs
  • Flex the feet back toward the knees and press the big toe mounds forward while drawing the outer blades of the feet back
  • Firm the tops of the thighbones down.  If this action causes the heels to lift it most likely means the knees are hyperextended.  In that case bring a soft bend to the knees but practice the activating actions of the legs
  • Place the hands by the hips, fingertips pointing toward the front of the mat
  • As the hands and thighs root down, lift and lengthen the sternum up and away from the navel
  • Draw the shoulders back and down until they are in line with the sides of the torso while broadening across the chest
  • Keep the chin parallel to the floor as the crown of the head lengthens upward
  • Take 5 well-rounded breathes and then release
  • Modifications

    If it is difficult to stay directly on top of the sitting bones, causing the lower back to round, sit on top of a folded blanket to elevate the hips.  If one is not enough use a second or sit on top of a bolster.  Be mindful not to lock out the knees.