Natarajasana, or Lord of the Dance pose, is a pose symbolic of both transformation and of maintaining internal bliss amidst chaos.
The pose is named after Nataraja, one of Shiva’s many forms. Shiva is one of the most prominent deities in the Hindu tradition, and is considered the overseer of destruction (or transformation, depending on how you see it).
Nataraja is depicted dancing in a ring of flames—which represent samsara, or the constant cycle of change—birth, death, and rebirth. He is steady, calm, and fearless. All of which are necessary for the pose, Natarajasana.
This pose requires open hips, an open heart, and calm, steady focus.
First, let’s explore the more commonly practiced version of Natarajasana, commonly known as Lord of the Dance pose, or sometimes “Standing Bow”.
This pose helps to warm up for the full expression by stretching the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders.
As you become more comfortable in Lord of the Dance pose, if you are practicing with a mirror in front of you, you should see the lifted foot above your head in the mirror. Eventually if flexibility has become easy for you, holding on to the foot will not be enough, you may need to walk the hand down to the ankle. This will allow you to get a deeper stretch.
When you feel ready to tackle the full expression of Natarajasana or Lord of the Dance pose, you can first try practicing at a wall and with a strap.
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