Natarajasana, also known as the Lord of the Dance pose, is a challenging and graceful yoga posture that involves balancing on one leg while reaching back and holding onto the ankle or foot of the other leg. This asana is named after the Hindu god Shiva, who is often depicted dancing in this posture.
Meaning of Natarajasana and Where it Came From
The name Natarajasana is derived from two Sanskrit words: “Nata” meaning dancer or actor, and “Raja” meaning king or lord. This posture is inspired by the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, who is known as the Lord of Dance. This dance symbolizes creation, destruction, and liberation, and is said to represent the balance between the masculine and feminine energies in the universe.
When To Practice Natarajasana
Natarajasana can be practiced at any time of day, but it is best done on an empty stomach and in the morning or early evening. It is recommended to warm up the body with some preparatory asanas before attempting Natarajasana.
Step by Step guide How to do Natarajasana
- Begin by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right heel towards your buttocks.
- Reach back with your right hand and grasp your right ankle or foot.
- Keep your left arm extended in front of you for balance.
- On an inhale, lift your right foot towards the ceiling and kick it back, simultaneously lifting your left arm up and forward.
- Keep your gaze forward or up towards your left hand.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.
Common Mistakes of Natarajasana
Common mistakes in Natarajasana include leaning too far forward or back, collapsing the chest and shoulders, and failing to engage the core muscles.
Suggested preparatory Asanas
Suggested preparatory asanas for Natarajasana include standing poses such as Warrior I and II, lunges, and balancing postures such as Tree Pose.
Suggested follow-up Asanas
Suggested follow-up asanas to Natarajasana include hip openers such as:
- Pigeon Pose
- Forward folds
- Twists to release tension in the spine.
Pro Tips for Beginners
Pro tips for beginners practicing Natarajasana include using a wall or chair for support, focusing on the breath, and keeping the standing leg strong and engaged.
Natarajasana should be avoided if you have any recent or chronic knee, ankle, or hip injuries. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and if you have high or low blood pressure.
Modifications & Variations
Modifications for Natarajasana include using a strap to hold onto the foot or ankle, using a wall or chair for support, or keeping the lifted leg bent instead of straight. Variations include Half Lord of the Dance pose and Revolved Half Lord of the Dance pose.
Precautions to take when practicing Natarajasana include practicing with caution and mindfulness, avoiding sudden movements or jerks, and listening to your body’s limits. It is also important to warm up properly and to not push beyond your limits.
20 Benefits of Natarajasana
Natarajasana offers numerous benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are some of the most significant ones:
- Improves balance and stability.
- Strengthens the legs, ankles, and feet.
- Stretches the thighs, hips, abdomen, and chest.
- Increases flexibility in the shoulders and spine.
- Stimulates the digestive and reproductive systems.
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem.
- Relieves stress and anxiety.
- Improves focus and concentration.
- Enhances posture and alignment.
- Opens the heart chakra.
- Releases tension in the shoulders and neck.
- Develops mindfulness and body awareness.
- Promotes a sense of grace and fluidity.
- Helps to overcome fear and insecurity.
- Increases circulation and energy flow.
- Improves lung capacity and breathing.
- Promotes a sense of inner peace and calm.
- Helps to reduce back pain and stiffness.
- Enhances creativity and artistic expression.
- Cultivates a sense of connection with the divine.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) About Natarajasana
Q: Is Natarajasana suitable for beginners?
A: Natarajasana can be challenging for beginners, but it is still accessible with proper guidance and modifications. It is important to start with preparatory poses and to practice with patience and awareness.
Q: How long should I hold Natarajasana?
A: Natarajasana can be held for several breaths on each side, gradually building up to longer holds as your strength and flexibility increase.
Q: Can Natarajasana help with back pain?
A: Yes, Natarajasana can help to relieve back pain by stretching the spine and opening the chest. However, it is important to approach the pose mindfully and with caution, especially if you have any pre-existing back conditions.
Q: What should I do if I can’t reach my foot or ankle in Natarajasana?
A: If you can’t reach your foot or ankle in Natarajasana, you can use a strap or a towel to hold onto the leg. You can also practice with a wall or chair for support.
Q: What is the difference between Natarajasana and Half Lord of the Dance pose?
A: Natarajasana and Half Lord of the Dance pose are similar, but in Half Lord of the Dance pose, the back foot is lifted and held by the opposite hand, while in Natarajasana, the back foot is lifted and held by the same hand.
Q: Can Natarajasana help with anxiety and stress?
A: Yes, Natarajasana can help to relieve anxiety and stress by promoting a sense of calm and inner peace. It is important to approach the pose with mindfulness and to focus on the breath.
Q: Is Natarajasana safe during pregnancy?
A: No, Natarajasana should be avoided during pregnancy as it involves balancing on one leg and can put pressure on the abdomen.
Q: What should I do if I feel pain or discomfort in Natarajasana?
A: If you feel pain or discomfort in Natarajasana, it is important to come out of the pose immediately and to reassess your alignment and approach. You can also try using modifications or props to make the pose more accessible.
Q: How does Natarajasana promote a sense of connection with the divine?
A: Natarajasana is inspired by the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, who represents the balance between creation and destruction. Practicing this pose can help to cultivate a sense of connection with the divine and to tap into the universal flow of energy.