Dandasana is a wonderful pose to activate all the power points of the bandhas, also as the first seated pose for many flows, it helps to warm up the body to being the seated portion of the flow. Activating the bandhas is important for it helps understand where the energy is flowing and could be lost, as well as helps posture both in and out of asanas. When shifting from seated to standing it can be difficult to shift the energy and tension to the proper places and dandasana helps reestablish this in seated poses.
In standing poses the lines of energy are working perpendicular to the earth, while in seated poses the energy is often working parallel to the earth. Further the bandhas are contracted to provide these movements, thus when switching to seated poses buffering with dandasana the body is eased into this transition.
How To Practice
Sit with your legs out. Pull back the fleshy parts of your bottom to rest on your sit bones. Have you hands on either sides of your hips. Inhale lengthening your spine and raising your shoulders. Exhale bringing your shoulders down and back, and also dropping your chin. This will bring your gaze to your navel. This should cause your hands to gently press into the earth. Feel your three bandhas contract while in this pose. You should also keep your feet flexed out in front of you while practicing this pose. Stay here for five breaths.
Traditionally there are only three bandhas, the first, root, located between the legs, the second in the solar plexus, and finally one in the throat. Still in the jivamukti yoga tradition there are five, the final two are in the hands and feet. Nonetheless dandasana contracts all of them.
This pose really does not get countered with anything; however to move out of the pose more gently, inhale bringing your hands up and over you head lifting your gaze to follow your hands. As you exhale slowly fold forward over your legs. When you are about half way down – and can bind your big toes – inhale lengthen your spine. As you exhale surrender to the pose and fold completely forward in paschimottanasana. Stay for five breaths.