[Pose Of the Week] Lord of the Dance or Dancer’s Pose (Intermediate)
Improve balance, flexibility, and strength and connect with the cosmos in Dancer’s Pose.
Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana) – also known as “Lord of the Dance” or “King Dancer’s” Pose is an intermediate-to-advanced standing yoga pose that will challenge your balance, build strength in your lower body, and stretch your arms, shoulders, chest, hips, thighs, and more. This pose is believed to help the practitioner connect with cosmic energy, and also helps improve concentration and focus.
There are several different versions of this pose, and some are more advanced than others. Start with the intermediate version, and then, when you’re comfortable, you can move on to the advanced variation, holding onto your raised foot with both hands over your head, which requires more flexibility and a deeper backbend. The instructions below explain both options (see video here).
This is a fairly intense standing backbend, and should not be practiced by those with chronic low back issues, or recent shoulder, ankle or neck injuries.
To modify the pose when first starting out, you may stand near a wall or use a chair for balance. You can also wrap a yoga strap around your lifted ankle and hold onto both ends with your near hand if you are not flexible enough to reach your foot.
Here’s how to do it:
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Shift your weight onto your left foot.
- Bend your right knee and bring your right heel toward your right buttock. Reach your right hand down and clasp your right foot’s inner ankle. You can also loop a strap around the top of your right foot, and then hold onto the strap with your right hand. Draw your knees together.
- Reach your left arm overhead, pointing your fingertips toward the ceiling and facing your palm to the right.
- Fix your gaze softly at an unmoving spot in front of you. Make sure your left kneecap and toes continue to point directly forward.
- When you feel steady and comfortable, begin to press your right foot away from your body as you simultaneously lean your torso slightly forward. Keep your chest lifting and continue reaching your left hand’s fingertips up toward the ceiling.
- Raise your right foot as high as you can. Bring your left thigh parallel to the floor, or higher if possible. At the same time, press your tailbone toward the floor to avoid compressing your lower back. Do not let your right knee splay open to the side.
- If you are comfortable and steady here, you may go into the advanced pose. Swivel your right elbow forward and then up, so it points toward the ceiling. You will need to drop your right shoulder slightly as you make this adjustment. Hug your right bicep toward your right ear. Your right forearm should now be reaching overhead and behind your body to hold onto your foot or the strap. Bend your left elbow and reach your left hand back to hold onto your foot or the strap. Draw both arms inward toward your head as your keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back.
- As you press your raised foot back, keep your chest lifting. Do not let your torso drop forward. Keep your pelvis square and your right knee drawn in toward the midline of your body.
- If you are holding a strap, walk your hands down the strap toward your foot until you can clasp the top of your foot with both hands.
- Hold for five breaths. To release, very slowly and gently return to your starting position. Then lower your right foot and come back into Mountain Pose. Repeat the pose on the opposite side for the same amount of time.
Read more + find tips and modifications for Dancer’s Pose at YogaOutlet.com…