Yoga Poses

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose Dwi pada viparita dandasana

Steps

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose is a combination pose that puts headstand together with upward bow pose. If you’re looking for an intermediate backbend chest-opener, this is your pose. Suggested warm-up and prep poses include headstand (sirasana), bow pose (dhanurasana) and upward bow (urdhva dhanurasana).

Begin in a lying down (neutral spine) position with bent knees. Bring the feet close to the hips. Place both palms, on either side of the head. Press the knees away from the body and push the hands down. Straighten the arms, lifting head, shoulders and hips off the ground (as for bow pose).  Hold for 3-5 breathes.

Next, bend the elbows, lower the forearms (one-at-a-time) onto the ground. Slowly lower the head crown onto the mat. Slide the hands towards each other and interlock the fingers (as for headstand). Press the forearms and elbows down to lift the chest and head up off the ground.

To complete the full pose, walk the feet away from the body, one-at-a-time, until the legs are straight. Press down with the inner heels and lift up with the chest.

To exit the pose, walk the feet back under the knees. Slowly lower the head crown to the mat. Release the handclasp and one-at-a-time, place hands next to the head, press back to bow pose. Walk the feet in slightly and drop the chin to chest, rolling back down to neutral spine, start position.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

When lifting up into bow pose, imagine pushing the floor away from you, a golden thread attached to the belly button drawing the hips and glutes upward.

Technical Comments

When pressing up to bow pose, keep knees over feet with toes slightly turned inward, press knees away from the body, but keep the shoulders over the hands. This might mean shifting the weight of the chest forward. Keep the eye gaze between the hands and keep pressing the pelvis upwards. To stabile the shoulders in the final phases of the pose, widen the space between the blades and draw them down towards the tail bone, pressing elbows and forearm into the mat. Try to extend the middle back, bringing upper chest directly over the shoulders.

Benefit Comments

  • Strengthens neck, shoulders, back and thigh muscles
  • Opens the chest and improves respiration
  • Improves balance
  • Improves circulation and metabolic processes

Watch Out For:

  • Pressure on the neck in final pose
  • Toes pointing outwards (duck feet)

Contraindications

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Slipped disc
  • High blood pressure
  • Hernia
  • Acid re-flux

Modifications

  • Practice lying sideways across a chair
  • Place block between feet and squeeze
  • Practice with knees bent
  • Practice with head supported by block in final pose

Variations

  • Begin from Bow pose or wheel
  • Begin from bound headstand
  • Place clasped hands behind head, head stays off ground looking upwards
  • One-legged – extend one leg at-a-time toes pointing upwards

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Sage Marichi I (Marichyasana A)
  • Knee-to-chest pose (apasana)
  • abdominal twist pose (udarakarshanasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga

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