Natarajasasa, the Lord of the Dance Pose is a balance pose that represents Shiva’s dance of creation, preservation and transformation. We will learn so much more about the deities behind the yoga poses at the SOYA retreat this June, with Dr Raj Balkaran! Join us there to learn from him!
Method for coming into Natarajasana:
Begin in tadasana (standing pose). Ensure that your feet are stable and balanced and your spine is straight.
Take one deep breath while standing, and on the next inhalation raise your right arm to chest level with the palm facing toward your heart. Take the left arm over head with the palm facing up to the sky.
Exhale. With the next inhalation, bend your knees and raise your right leg up in front of the left leg, angling the foot toward the left. Keep both knees bent. Hold your gaze steady at a stable spot in front of you to help with balance.
Notice your breath as you balance in the pose.
In this balance pose, the left foot symbolizes Shiva standing on his enemies that prevent him from reaching his spiritual goals of enlightenment. The right leg is raising up toward those spiritual goals, liberating the soul toward enlightenment. The right hand in front of the heart represents Shiva’s compassion for all even in the most challenging times, and the left hand represents that constant connection to the Divine on this path. Learn more about the mythology of Nataraja here.
When you are ready, exhale slowly and lower the right leg and the arms down to your sides. Stand in Tadasana as a counter pose and feel the effects of the asana. Then repeat on the other side with the opposing arms and legs.
Benefits of this yoga pose:
Strengthens mental focus, helps develop willpower. Develops balance and strength in the legs. Improves coordination and control over your whole body.
Precautions and Modifications:
For shoulder issues, keep either hand on your hips to reduce shoulder strain. Students with neck injuries- keeping the gaze at about a 45 degree angle to take some strain off the neck. For balance issues, pregnancy and vertigo, use the back of a chair or the wall for support.
Mugs McConnell, E-RYT500 is a co-founder of SOYA and its Yoga Teacher Training programs. She is the author of Letters from the Yoga Masters, and has been teaching yoga since 1978. Her most significant teachers include Swami Vishnudevanada, Dr. Hari Dickman, Namadeva Acharya, Erich Schiffmann, and Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani.