AnatomyAnkles, Hamstrings, Hips, Knees, Spine, Thighs
Pose TypeBackbend, Balance, Heart Opener, Standing
Natarajasana (not-ah-raj-AHS-anah) nata = dancer / raja = king
- 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
- Hip pathologies
- Balance deficits
- Low back pathologies
- Ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder injury
- 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.
- Set your gaze in front of you. Inhale and lift your right arm with palm facing forward.
- Exhale and flex the left knee. Reach your left hand behind you, with thumb facing upward, and grasp the inner left foot.
- Inhale and lengthen the spine, lifting out of your torso and tucking the chin.
- 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.
- Hold this pose for up to 5-10 slow breaths.
- 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
- Stay standing and reach back for the non-standing leg for a quad stretch.
- Hinge slightly forward to challenge balance; then return to standing.
- Keep a slight bend in the knee to avoid hyperextension.
- Place hands at the thighs or hips for support.
- Chair pose (Utkatasana)
- Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
- Tree pose (Vrkasana)
- Pyramid pose (Parsvottonasana)
- Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- 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.
- 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