How to Do Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose in Yoga (Guide to Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana)

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose is a multifaceted pose that includes back bending, hip extension, and chest opening elements. As if it weren’t versatile enough already, it doubles as an inversion! This advanced asana takes time and practice, so act with caution if you decide to take on this pose.

“Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose is like a reset for your body and mind,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “It feels incredibly intense in the moment, but it is always followed by a sense of bliss.”

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana
Pose Type: Chest-Opening Yoga Poses, Yoga Backbend Poses
Difficulty Level: Advanced pose
Targets: Legs, glutes, hips, back, and shoulders.
Benefits: Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose stretches and strengthens the entire body. It conditions the muscles in the legs, glutes, back, and shoulders to resist gravity while lengthening the front of the body. Due to its complexity, it develops a sense of self-awareness, both physically and mentally. The inversion element has a calming effect on the mind, allowing the practitioner to find focus. Furthermore, inversions may improve blood circulation and provide an energy boost to the body.
Preparatory Poses: Dolphin Pose, Bridge Pose, Wheel Pose, Upward Plank Pose

How to Do Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start in the supine position. Bend your knees and plant your feet hip-width apart, as close as possible to your sit bones.
  2. Plant your palms either side of your head, with the fingertips pointing at the shoulders, and the heels of the palm firmly on the ground.
  3. Inhale and tuck the tailbone slightly under. Exhale and lift your lower back off the ground, reaching towards the sky with the hips. At the same time, push into your palms, lifting the upper back and resting the crown of the head on your mat.
  4. Slide your hands further towards the center of your mat, bringing your forearms to the ground. Keep your elbows shoulder-width apart and allow your hands to come closer together. Press into your forearms and lift your head off the ground.
  5. Carefully begin to walk your feet forward and straightening your legs. Keep pushing the hips up, holding the body in a rigid staff position. Open your chest as you press into your feet.
  6. Stay in Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose for 3-5 breaths. To exit, reverse the steps: bend the knees, step your feet closer to center, rest your head on the ground, and bring your hands either side of your face. Carefully lower your back to the floor.

Beginner’s Tip

This is quite a complex asana to tackle as a beginner. The best way to go about it is to work on different elements separately to build the necessary strength and flexibility. To work on the strength in your back body, start with poses like Bridge Pose and Reverse Tabletop. To gain the required mobility for your shoulders, practice poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Dolphin Pose, and Upward Salute. It’s also good to develop hip extension through gentle backbends and lunge variations. Finally, don’t rush it. Take it one step at a time and ease off if it gets too intense.

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