Locust Pose
March 29, 2015
Lotus Peacock Pose
March 29, 2015

Lord of the Dance Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Natarajasana
(not-ah-raj-AHS-anah)
nata = dancer / raja = king

BENEFITS

  • Lengthens the hamstring of the standing leg
  • Stretches the hip flexors of the non-standing leg
  • Opens the chest
  • Improves balance and stability
  • Strengthens the entire spine; ankle, knee, and hip joints; and supportive structures of the joints in the standing leg

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hip pathologies
  • Balance deficits
  • Low back pathologies
  • Ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder injury

HOW TO

  1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain pose), with feet hip-distance apart, and slowly begin to shift your weight over to your right foot. Engage your right thigh to support the knee of the standing leg.
  2. Set your gaze in front of you. Inhale and lift your right arm with palm facing forward.
  3. Exhale and flex the left knee. Reach your left hand behind you, with thumb facing upward, and grasp the inner left foot.
  4. Inhale and lengthen the spine, lifting out of your torso and tucking the chin.
  5. Exhale and draw the abdominals while keeping the chest lifted. Begin to bend forward at the right hip, letting your gaze travel downward. Feel free to take a micro bend at the right knee.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 5-10 slow breaths.
  7. To exit Lord of the Dance pose: Inhale, press through your grounded foot, and rise to an upright position. Exhale, and release your arms and knee. Repeat on the opposite side.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

  • Stay standing and reach back for the non-standing leg for a quad stretch.
  • Hinge slightly forward to challenge balance; then return to standing.

Modifications:

  • Keep a slight bend in the knee to avoid hyperextension.
  • Place hands at the thighs or hips for support.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep the upper and lower spine extended, and draw the chest forward.
  • Keep the hips stacked equally, side-by-side. Keep the knees parallel by engaging the inner thighs slightly.
  • Hinge first at the hips and press the free foot into the hand, keeping the abdominals drawn up and in toward the spine.
  • On each inhale, feel your chest expand and spine lengthen. On each exhale, feel your hips sink deeper.

VARIATIONS

  • Reach over the shoulders to grab the raised foot. Press the toes upward as you begin to bend forward further.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Hyperextension of the low spine
  • Shoulder pain or strain