The Myth Behind Dandasana~Staff Pose

The cow herders of Vrindavan were led by Krishna’s father, Nanda. Nanda decided one day to honour the ruler of the heavens, Indra, through a ritual. Indra sends the clouds, and without the clouds there would be no rain and thus no grain to feed the cattle. Krishna had other ideas. He felt that they should honour the cattle and the mountains because they were cow herders, not farmers or traders. He wished to honour Mount Govardhan and forget about Indra. The other herders agreed and so they performed a ritual.

Indra was quite angry that the people had decided not to honour him and so he called on his favorite clouds to pour down torrential rains and brings strong winds to Mount Govardhan. To protect the people and the cattle, Krishna held Mount Govardhan on one of his fingers like a staff, creating an umbrella. The cattle and herders took refuge underneath. For seven days he held it aloft like this.

Indra was very impressed by this divine display and after the seventh day he stopped the rains. Eventually Indra and Krishna became friends and Indra honoured Krishna by bathing him with the help of his elephant.*

Staff pose doesn’t look like much, but it actually uses a lot of muscle energy. Sit on the floor with the legs extended out front. To ensure you maintain proper posture you can sit against a wall.

The low back should maintain a lordotic curve and the tailbone will press toward the floor. The inner and outer thighs will press equally toward the floor; this may require more effort toward the inner thigh as we are not used to rotating the thighs in this way. Think about your spine becoming longer, making space through each of your vertebrae. If sitting against a wall, the sacrum at the base of the spine and the shoulder blades should be touching the wall, as should the head, but the low back should not touch. If you have tight hamstrings in the back of the thighs there will be a tendency for the sitting bones to pull forward and the pelvis to dip back. Sitting up on a blanket or bolster can help the pelvis to rotate forward so you come into proper alignment. It may help to place a small towel behind the low back. This pose is good for sciatica, helps to strengthen back muscles and stretches the front shoulders and chest.

*Story as told in Myths of the Asanas by Alanna Kaivalya & Arjuna van der Kooij

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About Reena Davis

I am a certified yoga teacher and a student of all things spiritual.
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