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Dancer Pose (natarajasana)

Standing balancing posture that strengthens your shoulders, arms and legs.
 

Dancer Pose (or natarajasana), also known as Lord of the Dance Pose, can help improve your balance and stability. This pose also helps to open your chest and strengthen your shoulders, arms and legs.
 
You may want to perform Dancer Pose to stretch your shoulders, back, hips and legs after you have spent all day sitting in a chair. If you are feeling distracted or unfocused, you can perform Dancer Pose to help improve your ability to concentrate.
 
Once you feel comfortable and balanced in the pose, you can try deepening the pose slightly by leaning forward more and stretching your raised leg up higher.
 
Deepening the pose in this way will intensify the stretch and further challenge your balance. As you perform this pose, visualize yourself as a dancer radiating poise and grace.
 
You should be careful performing Dancer Pose if you have problems with your back, shoulders, hips or knees.
 
Steps:
Begin in Mountain Pose.
Shift your weight onto your left leg and foot and bend your right knee slightly to lift your right heel off the floor.
Bend your right knee and bring your right leg behind you.
Reach behind you with your right hand and clasp your right ankle or the top of your right foot.
(Make sure your knees are together and parallel with each other.)
Raise your left arm to shoulder height in front of you, with your palm facing down.
(Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and your arms are straight, but your elbows are not locked.)
Exhale as you press your left foot into the floor and lean your torso slightly forward.
Stretch your right leg away from your body and press your foot into your hand.
(Keep your right knee directly behind you. Do not allow your knee to turn to the side.)
(Make sure your chest and hips are facing forward.)
Allow your head and neck to follow the curve of your spine.
Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
To come out of the pose, bring your torso back to an upright position. Then release your right leg and return to Mountain Pose.
Repeat steps 2 to 10 for your other side.
 
I have difficulty balancing in Dancer Pose. What can I do?
If you find it difficult to balance in this pose, only perform steps 1 to 5 above before holding the pose. Then repeat these steps for your other side. If you are still having trouble balancing, you can perform this variation using a wall for support. Stand beside a wall and raise your arm out to the side to place your hand on the wall for support.
 
What can I do if I cannot reach my foot in this pose?
Loop a strap around the top of your foot and then grasp the ends of the strap in your hand. Keep the strap taut, but do not use the strap to pull yourself into the pose.
 
How can I intensify the stretch in Dancer Pose?
To perform a more advanced version of Dancer Pose, you can reach your arm over your head to hold your foot behind you.
 
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