Natarajasana is “the Lord of the Dance”.  This beautiful asana develops grace and balance in the body all while producing energy and heat for the body.  It encourages good posture by toning the gluteus and leg muscles.  The entire spine, especially the lumbar is worked gaining flexibility and strength, the heart and shoulders are opened as well.  Dance is a pose of inner beauty.  Front body opening is extremely important especially in today’s society of forward rounding body positions.

  •  Begin in Tadasana, and find neutral pelvis.  Shift your weight onto your left foot, keeping your hips aligned and engaged.
  • Clasp your right foot behind you with your right hand, keeping the right knee turned down and hips square.
  • Activate the left foot without gripping the toes; continue to activate the entire base leg, keeping the abdominal muscles active.  Focus your eyes at a point on the floor in front of you about 6-8” in front, keeping your chin parallel with the floor (where our eyes go our body follows).
  • INHALE, draw your right arm up over head alongside your right ear, and rotate your externally rotate your bicep turning your palm in, the shoulder is relaxed and down.
  • EXHALE; begin to press your right foot into your right hand drawing your right leg behind you (keep your knee turned downward and hips square).
  • As you draw your leg back, INHALE, being to let your heart pull forward, keeping your shoulders and hips aligned forward. Do not immediately lead with the belly to enter into the back bend, instead draw the heart forward and tilt from the hips not the waistline (this will decrease potential back pain).
  • Hold the pose with a steadiness of mind and breathe for five to 10 breaths.  Release with an EXHALE.
  • Return to Tadasana slowly and steadily and repeat other side.

TIPS:
-Use the wall or a chair for better balance
-Use a strap if one cannot clasp the foot, if using the strap with the arms overhead, work to keep the elbows forward rather than outward, this will allow a more appropriate stretch around the shoulder blades and triceps.
-Try dipping your chest forward while keeping your back leg moving away from your body
-We tend to move from the most mobile areas and this may increase potential injuries later on
-Keeping the upper arm by the ear allows for the openness of both shoulders, then possibly one reaches behind the head for the foot with both hands
-Many people turn the bend knee and leg out to “back bend” deeper, but in all reality they are simply tightening the outer hip and thigh and avoiding the stretch where they need it, the front of the body: quadriceps, psoas, hip flexors, abdomen
-Do not pinch the shoulder blades together, but rather broaden the upper back (hence, the external rotation on the upper arm)
-Avoid reaching with the chin, reach with the heart and tip from the hips not the waistline
-Do work from a place that is comfortable, yet challenging

VARIATIONS:
-Loop a strap over your back ankle and hold the strap over head walk your hands down the strap behind your head (elbows in) and your leg moves upward closer to your hands.  Grab big toe and foot with hands behind your head, chest moves forward.
-Place the back foot (top of the foot) on the mouth of a chair, more challenging try with the top of the foot on a large swiss ball.

CHAKRAS WORKED:
-Root, Sacral, Navel, Heart

COUNTER POSES:
 -Forward Bend, Standing Knee to Chest, Bear Swing, Chair

Happy Asana-ing!

Hope

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