Staff Pose Yoga for Beginners

Seated Staff Pose might look easy, but it’s an intense strength-builder for the upper back, chest, and abdomen. This pose is the foundational posture for all seated poses, including twists. Because it provides the structural basis for all seated poses, it is essentially the seated version of Mountain Pose.

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. If your hamstrings are tight, sit on a blanket so your torso can be upright and vertical. You can also sit with your back against a wall with your shoulder blades touching it, leaving a space between the wall and your low back.
  2. Sit forward on your sit bones and draw your thighs to the floor. Flex your feet and press out through your heels. Keep your big toes, inner heels, and inner knees together.
  3. Strongly engage your thigh muscles around your thigh bones, and activate the muscles surrounding your knee caps. Press your thigh bones firmly down into the floor. Make sure your legs do not rotate outward.
  4. Stretch your heels away from your body and tilt your pelvis slightly forward, extending the distance between your heel bones and sit bones.
  5. Do not collapse your low back. Work to lift your torso up from the base of your pelvis. Keep your weight evenly distributed across both sit bones.
  6. Place your hands on the floor alongside your hips, pressing through your palms with your fingers pointing forward.
  7. Broaden across your collarbones and lift your chest. Then, broaden across your shoulders. Draw your belly button in toward your spine. Anchor your body through your tailbone and sit tall.
  8. Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor, and lift the crown of your head to the ceiling. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and gaze steadily straight ahead, toward the horizon. Hold for up to one minute.

Staff Pose Variations

  • If extremely tight hamstrings make it difficult to sit with your legs straight, place a firm, folded blanket beneath your sit bones. This will release some of the tension in your hips and legs, making it easier to sit up straight.
  • If you are still gaining strength in your upper back and abdomen, practice with your back against a wall. As you gain strength, gradually move away from the wall, keeping your spine vertical.
  • If your arms are long, it might be difficult to straighten your arms fully in the pose — and that is fine. Just bend your elbows as much as you need to, while keeping your palms flat and shoulder blades releasing down your back.
  • If you have carpal tunnel syndrome or very tight forearms or wrists due to weight lifting, practice the pose with your fingers pointing behind you. Place your hands on the floor and externally rotate each arm until your fingers face toward the back. This variation will help to open the upper arm and chest muscles.

Staff Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens the back muscles
  • Stretches the shoulders and chest
  • Improves posture

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