In my classes this month I have been focusing on the danda. Danda is the sanskrit word for staff or rod. The danda is the length of the spine, from the sacrum through to the crown of the head. Dandasana, or staff pose is a seated posture with the legs stretched out in front and the upper body sitting up nice and tall. A nice way to practice dandasana is seated against the wall. Chaturanga dandasana, or four limb staff pose, utilizes the danda once again but this time the body is horizontal to the earth with only the toes and hands touching the floor, like the low position of a pushup. The body is one long line from the heels through the crown of the head. To find your expression of these postures imagine a blade of grass sprouting from your sacrum, or pelvic floor, all the way up the length of the spine, back of the neck, through the crown of the head. Like a blade of grass moves with the wind, the spine sways and moves with the breath.
Finding the Danda in Tadasana, Mountain Pose
Standing tall, feel all four corners of the feet grounding down into the mat. Lift up all the toes and see if you can place one toe back down at a time, spreading the toes wide. Lift up through the arches of the feet and feel the muscles in the legs begin to ignite. Picture the blade of grass sprouting from your inner thighs as you draw your leg muscles up and into your center. Allow the fleshy part of your seat to shift down, draw the navel in towards the spine. Continue to lengthen from your sacrum up the spine as you draw the shoulder blades down the back, softly lifting the heart. The crown of the head reaches towards the sky, lengthen the neck, and check to make sure your chin is not jutting forwards. Align the ears over the shoulders. Breathe in through your nose and send the breath all the way down to the souls of your feet, root down into the earth. As you exhale, draw the energy from the souls of the feet up the blade of grass that travels through your center line, reaching towards the sun through the crown of the head.
Music Inspiration (all on Spotify)
Home by Zero 7
Shanti (Peace Out) by MC Yogi
Husks and Shells by Volcano Choir
Chaturanga Dandasana: http://www.yogajournal.com/video/video/chaturanga/