Yoga Poses

Dancer Pose Natarajasana

Steps

Natarajasana (nata = actor, dancer) (raja = King) (asana = posture)

Also referred to as the lord of the dance takes its name from the Hindu God Shiva also known as nataraj in his form of the cosmic dancer.

This posture not only requires balance, concentration, flexibility and strength, but most importantly its execution requires grace and elegance.

Starting in Tadasana (Mountain pose) ground down into your left leg as you lift the right heel towards your buttocks, swiftly taking hold of the inside of your right foot with your right hand. Inhale and lift your left arm towards the sky along with lengthening the upper back and chest. Exhale and extend your right leg back gently pressing your right foot into your right hand, simultaneously bending back and down. Reach your left hand out in front of you keeping your gaze forward (Drishti point) with chin parallel to the floor . Hold for 20 seconds to 1min release and repeat on the other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Now draw your attention to the grounding of your supporting foot, imagine that your grounding foot is growing roots like a tree keeping you fixed to that one spot. Imagine that your hip bones are headlights of a car always shining forward no matter how deep you take your pose. You have an invisible piece of string attached to the crown of your head reaching all the way up towards the sky allowing you to keep your gaze forward at all times.

Technical Comments

Once in position keep your supporting leg strong and stable by contracting your quadricep muscles, at the same time encouraging a micro bend in the knee to prevent over extension. Once deep into the pose the back raised legs thigh remains parallel to the floor. Check that both hips are open and you are creating space in your lower back by pressing your tail bone down towards the floor. Your torso should remain aligned as far forward as possible. The arm reaching upwards/forwards should remain relaxed and shoulders away from the ears. keeping your gaze forward and chin parallel to the floor ensures a natural curve in the upper spine. Crown of the head reaching towards the sky.

Benefit Comments

Physical
  • Develops balance
  • Opens the shoulders and chest
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Strengthens the leg muscles and arches of the feet
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches the abdominal muscles
  • Increases lung capacity
Mental
  • Stimulates and energies the mind
  • Relieves mild depression
  • Reduces stress
  • Develops mental concentration

Watch Out For:

  • Avoid looking down at the floor - keep the gaze forward
  • Watch out for compressing the lower back
  • Do not get frustrated or expect to much from yourself as it may take some time to feel balanced in this position

Contraindications

  • Vertigo
  • Back injury
  • knee injury
  • High / Low blood pressure

Modifications

Beginners may find it easier to lift the heel towards their buttock and hold in that position increasing the strength in their supporting leg. It is also a good idea to hold onto a chair or wall for balance. Advanced students may work towards lifting the back leg enough to be able to hold onto the back foot with both hands. Your elbows should point forward keeping the elbows close as possible to the side of your head. If holding onto the foot is a strain then use a strap to hold your foot.

Variations

  • Tree
  • Bow pose

Yoga Counter Poses

Standing forward fold (Uttanasana)

Written By: Angela Sweeney

Angela is a qualified, passionate and enthused health and well being instructor. Her main aims and goals are to help people live and maintain a wonderful and full lifestyle by incorporating the physical, mental and centering teachings and methods she has trained in. As a professional personal trainer, yoga and Pilates teacher and massage therapist Angela has helped influence positive change in her clients drawing on her physical and internal skills, building a strong client foundation which continues to grow on a daily basis with her open, friendly and welcoming demeanor the key and catalyst to her ever expanding business. www.youryogatimeonline.com www.betruetoyou.co.uk

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