To perform the Inverted Staff Pose you’ll follow a four-phase action plan listed below in chronological order.
Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Viparita Dandasana
Warm-up is essential to avoid any physical injury while practicing the Inverted Staff Pose. The following are three primary preparatory poses that help prepare you for the main asana practice:
1. Matsyasana (Fish Pose) - Inhale and sit in Hero Pose. Exhale and recline on your back. Now, lift only your chest and neck, making a deep arch in your mid-back.
Make sure your head is the only point of your upper body that is resting on the mat. No other part of your torso should touch the ground. Hold this pose for a minute or two by breathing normally.
2. Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) - This pose is an intermediate backbend asana, and it’s very close to the Inverted Staff Pose formation. Start by lying down on your back. Now, bend your legs and arms as you place them on the ground.
Inhale deep as you lift your pelvis first and then slowly lift up your head from the ground. Flex your shoulders and open up your chest muscles. Keep breathing and hold this pose for a few seconds, to as long as a couple of minutes if you feel comfortable doing so.
3. Purvottanasana (Reverse Plank Pose) - This pose is an intermediate backbend asana, and it’s also very close to the Inverted Staff Pose formation. Start by lying down on your back. Now, bend your legs and arms to place them on the ground.
Inhale as you lift your pelvis first and slowly lift your head from the ground. Flex your shoulders and open up your chest muscles. Keep breathing and hold this pose for a few seconds to a minute.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Viparita Dandasana
Try the Inverted Staff Pose by following the steps below:
Step 1- Lie on your back and start from an Upward Bow Pose or a Full Wheel Pose.
Step 2- From the Full Wheel Pose, bend your arms and place them on the ground. Also, lower your head on the floor, cupping both the arms around your head. Make sure your fingers are interlaced behind your head.
Step 3- Here, tighten your core and shoulders, and focus on your breathing for one minute.
Step 4- With a powerful exhale, press your heels strongly into the mat and try to straighten your legs.
Step 5- As you straighten your legs, make sure to shift your pelvis, chest, and shoulder in the same direction as your head.
Step 6- Inhale to open up and expand your chest, with a deep tension in your low back. Hold this pose here with mindful breathing for a few seconds.
Step 7- Exhale and release the pose by bending your legs and lying back down on your back.
Inhale while dropping your arms from Full Wheel to Half Wheel Pose.
Exhale as you press into your heels on the mat to straighten your legs.
Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Viparita Dandasana for 30-60 seconds.
Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Viparita Dandasana for 1 to 3 minutes.
Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind
If you are a beginner, these are some essential tips to keep in mind during your Inverted Staff Pose practice:
Do not over-stretch: Be careful not to overstretch in this pose because it can cause wear and tear to your muscles. Instead, you can keep the stretch minimal by maintaining a slight bend in your knees and not opening your chest completely.
Get assistance from a spotter: If you feel some instability in your Inverted Staff Pose ask a friend, teacher, or family member to spot you during your practice. They can correct your alignment, provide you with head support, and keep you safe from injury.
Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Viparita Dandasana
After such a challenging backbend pose, it’s crucial to counter-flex and bring your muscles back to their normal shape. Be sure to perform the following counter-poses after your Viparita Dandasana practice:
1. Savasana (Corpse Pose): As you lie back on the ground post-practice, relax in the Corpse Pose for 1 to 2 minutes. Relax like you are performing a deep sleeping meditation.
Close your eyes and scan your whole body for stress points, from your toes to your head. If you feel tension in any part of your body, simply focus on your breathing and release all your stress.
2. Ardha Halasana (Half Plow Pose): In continuation from the Corpse Pose, lift your legs up at a 90-degree angle to the ground.
Hold this pose here for 1 to 2 minutes in order to release any stress and tension around your tailbone.
3. Apanasana (Knees to Chest Pose): Move your legs from a Half Plow Pose into a knees bent formation. Now, lift your neck from the ground and try to touch your forehead to your knees.
If you want, you can either hold this pose here for a few minutes or you can rock front and back in this position. This helps you relax your entire spinal column and allow your body to return to its normal shape.