Yoga Poses: Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)


Dancer pose or the Natarajasana is one of the many yoga poses derived from the impulsive dance that one of the Indian deities, Lord Shiva is known for. In spite of being the God of destruction and re-birth, he is worshiped by all classical dancers as the ultimate god of dance, hence the name, Nataraja (Lord of Dance).

The pose combines the challenging aspects of both one-leg balance standing pose and back bends. Natarajasana looks very familiar to Standing bow pose, with little difference in benefits.

Health Benefits

The pose is highly effective in opening up chest capacity and lengthening legs. It has been used to increase one’s range of motion, and help with maintaining dance postures with great balance, poise, and flexibility. What more, it tones your back, hips and thighs while strengthening ankles and toes, enhancing the grip, thereby improving overall stability and stride.

Getting in the pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), a yoga mat and you.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Initial Position: Stand in Tadasana or the Mountain pose.

Gaze: While performing this pose, concentrate your gaze in the line of your hand stretched out in front at all times.

Steps:

  1. As you inhale, shift you weight on your right leg and lift your left leg backwards, your heel touching your hip.
  2. Now, with your left hand, grab your ankle and begin taking it away from your body. Simultaneously, stretch your right hand in front.
  3. Your right palm should face the sky, and your index finger touching the thumb gently in a hermit’s gesture.
  4. As you hold your breath, stretch above with left hand and further in front with right. Try to maintain this position for 30 seconds initially and gradually increase the duration to 5-10 minutes.
  5. Gently exhale and revert to the starting position.
  6. Now, repeat the pose with shifting weight on left leg. This will complete one cycle of Dancer’s pose. Do it twice in a practice along with other poses.

If you feel exhausted, lie down in Savasan or Corpse pose to relax.

Other Variations

  • Iyengar yoga version with strap: The Natarajasana is modified with the use of strap. First, balance is maintained on one leg, and while lifting the raised back leg, it is stretched up more with the help of strap. The strap is wrapped around the feet with ends held in hands.
  • Knee-toe lock: Here the fingers are locked up above the head, elbows bent and the raised feet is locked with one elbow like a hook.
  • Ballet stretch version: This is an advanced version of this pose, where the raised leg is stretched up straight in air like a pretty ballerina. This is similar to a full leg split and balance on one leg.
  • Head-toe modification: Of the same difficulty level, in this variation, the raised up leg is pulled forward with use of both hands in an attempt to touch the head.

Preparatory Poses

Beginner Tip

Though it is an easy pose, most people find it difficult. So, if you are doing it as a beginner, which is good, try doing it with side support of a wall, to develop an initial sense of balance and identify your center of weight. Later, move to doing it without support.

Also, one can go for the Iyengar version, where Dancer pose is done with a strap.

Advanced Poses

  • Ballet-stretch version
  • Head Toe modification
  • Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)

Important Notes

  • This is a Vinyasa yoga pose and hence, movements must be synchronized with the breath. That way, you strengthen your internal as well as external system simultaneously.
  • People with issues of high and extremely low blood pressure are advised against doing this pose.

Further Reads:

1. How Do I Get Toned Fast and Easy

2. Pranayama – The Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated: May 29, 2014

Next Scheduled Update: Jul 29, 2014


Back to