Lord of the Dance pose is a standing, back-bending asana. A strap can be used to aid the pose.
Benefits of Lord of the Dance pose
The dynamic interplay of form, structure, creativity, and movement is beautifully embodied in Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance pose), which symbolises the ancient dance of Shiva. Over time the practice of this posture increases strength, flexibility and muscular endurance. There are a few variations of this pose. Pictured is the hand to floor variation which stretches the shoulders, chest, thighs, groins, and abdominal core area. It also strengthens the arms, legs and ankles and improves balance. With practice and intention and much perserverence, you will effortlessly feel Shiva’s cosmic dance coming into your being.
Do not hold your breath; allow the breath to flow freely. Root your foot then activate the arch in your foot and spread to your toes. Balancing hand is lightly touching the floor. Maintain focus but try not to start, use your peripheral vision. Avoid compression in your lower back, actively lift and draw in your lower belly and lengthen your tailbone.
Natarajasana is based on Nataraja, and the image of Shiva dancing out the rhythm of the cosmos. Nataraja is a widely used bronze temple statue in South India. Nataraja symbolises breaking the cycle of death and rebirth. The name comes from the Sanskrit words nata meaning ‘dancer’, raja meaning ‘lord, king’, and asana meaning ‘posture’ or ‘seat’. Whilst practicing this pose try to keep the intention of transformation and creativity.
Imagine a root extending from each of the four corners of the balancing foot down into the earth. Press your leg in the air away from your body, and expand your chest. Balance your free hand against the wall then walk it down the wall towards the floor. Wrap a yoga belt/small towel around your ankle/foot if you cannot reach it with your hand. One of the most important stabilisers in this pose is the hip abductors (outermost hips). Squeeze the thighs together in this pose, to activate the inner and out spiral of muscular contraction.
Chris Salton is a yoga teacher and personal trainer. This article first appeared in issue 41 of OM Yoga magazine.
Find more Man on the Mat poses here.