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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Natarajasana - King Dancers Yoga Pose

Natarajasana is also known as King Dancer's Yoga Pose. "Nata" in Sanskrit means "dancer" and "raja" means "king". 'Nataraja' is another name of Shiva, the Lord of the Dance. Hence this pose symbolizes the dance of Lord Shiva. For background, the name Nataraja is one of the names that is given to the Hindu God Shiva in his form as the cosmic dancer. This image is commonly represented in metal or stone in the Saiva temples of South India. Another term for Shiva in this form is Lord of the Dance (but not the theater dance group that performs celtic dancing). Shiva in cosmic dance is believed to encompass all of creation, preservation and destruction. Regardless of your religious beliefs it is easy to see how, in full position, this graceful asana appears like something that a ballet dancer might do.

Procedure for doing Natarajasana - King Dancer's Yoga Pose

  1. Begin standing with your feet together and arms by your sides. Shift your weight to your left leg. Find a point at eye level to steady your gaze at.
  2. Extend your left arm in front of you so that it is parallel to the floor.
  3. Bend your right knee and lift your right foot off the floor.
  4. Take hold of your right big toe with your right hand, grasping it between your thumb, index and middle finger.
  5. Lift your right foot up and back with your right hand.
  6. Roll your fingers around your right big toe and rotate your elbow and shoulder so that your right arm is stretched behind your head.
  7. Find a balance between pulling your right leg up and back and extending your left arm either straight forward or reaching into the air with your palm facing towards you. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, making sure to continue even breaths.
  8. Release the grip on your toe and lower right leg and arm. End in standing pose. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits of Natarajasana - King Dancer's Yoga Pose

  • Releases tension in the angle and foot, helping to prevent injury
  • Develops a sense of balance and focus
  • Opens the chest and lungs, creating more space for the breath
  • Strengthens spine and entire leg
  • Stretches thighs, shoulders

Tips and Cautions for Natarajasana - King Dancer's Yoga Pose

  • This pose strengthens leg muscles and develops balance. The shoulder blades and chest muscles also get a good stretch.

  • If you are very advanced, you may hold your back foot with both hands so that both elbows are pointing up in the air and your head leans back to meet your foot.

Natarajasana - King Dancer's Yoga Pose Video