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Natarajasana (Dancer Pose): How To Do, Benefits and Variations

Among the countless beautiful and transformative asanas, one that stands out is Natarajasana, commonly known as the Dancer Pose. This graceful posture embodies the artistry and elegance of a dancer, while also nurturing strength, balance, and inner harmony. In this blog post, we will delve into the meaning, technique, benefits, and variations of Natarajasana, and explore how it can bring both physical and spiritual awareness to your practice.

Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)

Natarajasana derives its name from the Sanskrit words "Nata" meaning dance and "Raja" meaning king or lord. It is a captivating posture that symbolizes the dance of Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer who represents creation and destruction. Natarajasana allows us to embody the divine dance within ourselves and connect with the harmonious flow of energy.


Natarajasana primarily targets the legs, shoulders, chest, and core muscles. This pose strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, while also improving balance and flexibility. The elongated position of the spine engages the muscles of the back, promoting a healthy posture and relieving tension. Moreover, Natarajasana opens the chest and shoulders, enhancing lung capacity and releasing any pent-up emotions.


How to Perform Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)

  1. Begin by standing tall in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your feet hip-width apart and arms relaxed by your sides.

  2. Shift your weight onto the left foot and bend your right knee, bringing your heel toward your glute.

  3. Reach back with your right hand and grasp the inner or outer ankle of your right foot.

  4. Lift your right foot off the ground, simultaneously extending your left arm forward.

  5. Slowly begin to tilt your torso forward, hinging at the hips, while keeping the left leg straight and the right leg lifted.

  6. As you lean forward, allow your right foot to lift higher behind you, extending the leg while keeping the right thigh parallel to the floor.

  7. Find your balance and hold the ankle of your right foot with your left arm over your head, creating a sense of opposition.

  8. Stay in the pose for several breaths, feeling the stretch and strength in your body.

  9. To release, slowly lower your right leg and return to Mountain Pose. Repeat on the other side.

Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)

When to Perform Dancer Pose

Natarajasana can be practiced at any time of the day. However, it is recommended to perform this pose in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening, at least four hours after a meal. It can be an invigorating start to your day or a peaceful transition to unwind in the evening.


Preparatory Poses for Dancer Pose

To prepare your body for Natarajasana, it is beneficial to practice the following poses:

  1. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  2. High Lunge (Alanasana)

  3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

  4. Standing Quad Stretch

Follow-up Poses

After performing Natarajasana, it is advisable to transition into poses that stretch and release the muscles engaged in the posture. Some suitable follow-up poses include:

  1. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  2. Child's Pose (Balasana)

  3. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

Chakra

Natarajasana activates and energizes the Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana). This chakra is located in the lower abdomen and is associated with creativity, sensuality, and the flow of emotions. Practicing Natarajasana can help to balance and awaken this vital energy center, bringing forth a sense of joy, passion, and harmonious expression.

 Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana Chakra)

Mantra

While practicing Natarajasana, you can recite the mantra "Om Natarajaya Namaha." This mantra honors Lord Shiva as the supreme dancer and invokes his divine presence, guiding you toward grace, fluidity, and self-realization.


Alignment Cues for Dancer Pose

Here are some alignment cues to keep in mind while performing Natarajasana:

  • Engage your core muscles to maintain stability and balance.

  • Keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.

  • Focus on lengthening your spine while extending your leg backward.

  • Keep the knee of the standing leg slightly bent to protect your joints.

  • Soften your gaze and find a steady point of focus (drishti) to enhance concentration and balance.

Duration of Hold

As a beginner, start by holding Natarajasana for 20-30 seconds on each side. With practice and increased strength, gradually extend the duration to 1 minute or more. Remember to listen to your body and never push beyond your limits.


Physical and Spiritual Awareness

Natarajasana offers a unique blend of physical and spiritual awareness. As you find stability and grace in the pose, pay attention to the sensations in your body, the breath flowing in and out, and the alignment of your posture. Simultaneously, allow yourself to tap into the deeper layers of consciousness, connecting with the rhythm of the universe and the divine energy within.


Beginners' Tips

For beginners, finding balance and maintaining stability in Natarajasana can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you ease into the pose:

  • Start by using a wall or a chair for support until you gain confidence and strength.

  • Use a strap around your ankle if you are unable to reach your foot with your hand.

  • Focus on one point ahead of you to improve balance and concentration.

  • Practice regularly and be patient with yourself. Over time, your flexibility and balance will improve.

Who Should Not Do It

Natarajasana is not recommended for individuals with the following conditions:

  • Recent or chronic knee or ankle injuries

  • High blood pressure or heart problems

  • Vertigo or severe balance issues

  • Chronic back pain or spinal disorders

Who Should Do It

Natarajasana is suitable for practitioners of all levels who are looking to enhance their balance, flexibility, and spiritual connection. It can be particularly beneficial for those seeking to cultivate grace, self-expression, and inner strength.


Natarajasana Benefits

Natarajasana offers a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, including:

  • Strengthens and tones the legs, hips, and core muscles

  • Improves balance, coordination, and proprioception

  • Enhances flexibility and suppleness of the spine

  • Opens the chest, shoulders, and hip flexors

  • Stimulates the digestive and reproductive systems

  • Boosts self-confidence and promotes self-expression

  • Cultivates focus, concentration, and mental clarity

  • Relieves stress, anxiety, and emotional tension

Variations of Dancer Pose

Once you have mastered the basic form of Natarajasana, you can explore various modifications and variations to deepen your practice. Some popular variations include:


Saral Natarajasana (Simple Dancer Pose)

Saral Natarajasana primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors. It also engages the core muscles for stability and balance. The pose opens the chest and shoulders, promoting better posture and improved lung capacity.

Saral Natarajasana (Simple Dancer Pose)

How to Perform Saral Natarajasana (Simple Dancer Pose)

  1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), standing tall with feet together.

  2. Bend your right knee, bringing the foot backward.

  3. Hold the lifted ankle with your right hand.

  4. Gently pull the leg up behind your body, finding a comfortable stretch.

  5. Raise your left arm forward, reaching upward with your thumb and index finger forming Jnana Mudra (knowledge gesture).

  6. Hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling the stretch and stability.

  7. Slowly release the pose and repeat on the other side.

Natrajasana B (Dancer Pose B)

Natarajasana B strengthens and stretches the entire body. It targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. The pose also opens the chest, shoulders, and hip flexors. It improves balance, concentration, and mental focus.

Natrajasana B (Dancer Pose B)

How to Perform Natarajasana B

  1. Start in Natarajasana (Dancer Pose), balancing on one leg.

  2. After attaining Natarajasana, continue holding the right foot behind the head.

  3. Draw your left arm backward, pointing both elbows upward.

  4. Hold the right foot with both hands, pulling it further to rest on the head while gazing upward.

  5. Maintain balance and stability in the pose.

  6. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the expansion and strength.

  7. Slowly release the pose and repeat on the other side.

Dancer Pose Mermaid Variation

This variation focuses on opening the chest, shoulders, and hip flexors. It stretches the quadriceps and hamstrings while enhancing balance and stability. The pose promotes a sense of freedom and creativity.

Dancer Pose Mermaid Variation

How to Perform Dancer Pose Mermaid

  1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), standing tall.

  2. Bend your right knee, holding the foot with your right hand behind the body.

  3. Bend the right elbow to shift the foot from the hand to the elbow crook.

  4. Lean forward while simultaneously pulling the leg up with the right arm.

  5. Raise your left arm forward, bending the left elbow to reach back and grab the fingers of the right hand.

  6. Find balance and stability in the pose.

  7. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the blend of strength and fluidity.

  8. Slowly release the pose and repeat on the other side.

Modifications for Natarajasana

If you find it challenging to maintain balance or access the full expression of Natarajasana, try these modifications:

  • Use a strap or belt around your ankle to assist in reaching the foot.

  • Place a chair or wall nearby for support and stability.

  • Perform the pose with a bent knee, gradually working towards straightening the leg.

Common Mistakes

When practicing Natarajasana, it is essential to be mindful of the following common mistakes:

  • Forcing the back leg too high, compromising balance and alignment.

  • Hunching the shoulders or collapsing the chest.

  • Locking the standing knee can strain the joint.

  • Holding the breath or tensing the body.

  • Neglecting to engage the core muscles for stability.

Safety and Precautions

While Natarajasana can be a transformative pose, it is crucial to approach it with caution and listen to your body. Remember the following safety precautions:

  • Warm up your body adequately before attempting the pose.

  • Work within your range of motion and avoid pushing beyond your limits.

  • If you have any injuries or medical conditions, consult a qualified yoga teacher or healthcare professional before practicing Natarajasana.

Additional Preparation Tips

To enhance your experience of Natarajasana, consider the following additional tips:

Direction to Face: While practicing Natarajasana, face the east direction if possible. This direction is associated with new beginnings, positivity, and spiritual awakening.

What to Wear: Choose comfortable and breathable clothing that allows for ease of movement. Opt for form-fitting attire that allows your teacher or yourself to observe your alignment cues.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance: Practice Natarajasana in a clean and peaceful environment, preferably in a dedicated yoga space or a quiet room in your home. Consider diffusing essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, or sandalwood to promote relaxation, focus, and a serene atmosphere.

Music for this Pose: Select soothing instrumental music or traditional Indian classical music that elevates your practice. The gentle melodies can enhance your connection with the divine rhythm of Natarajasana.


Natarajasana, the Dancer Pose, invites us to embrace our inner grace, strength, and creativity. As we embody the dance of the divine, this posture serves as a powerful reminder that we are all connected to the universal rhythm. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or a beginner, Natarajasana offers a gateway to self-expression, physical well-being, and spiritual awakening. So, step onto the mat, find your balance, and let the dance unfold.


Happy yoga-ing, everyone!

Namaste!



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About the Author

Namaste! My name is Pooja Chauhan

I am a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner. Diving deep into the realm of my own heritage to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing my culture with the world.

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