Dancer’s Pose, called ‘Natarajasana’ in Sanskrit, is a powerful and graceful backbend pose can be intimidating at first. The pose symbolizes Lord Shiva’s dance, the “Lord of the Dance” and relates to connecting with cosmic energy. Exercises break down each component in the pose to allow you to successfully execute dancer’s pose.
Here is a full dancer’s pose sequence to master this pose:
Practice your balance with the tabletop pose. From the pose on all fours, kick the right leg back, keep the leg bent, reaching back grab the ankle. Kick up further and if you can look forward to challenging and improve your balancing abilities. While here think of opening the right shoulder and lift the back thigh.
Release and repeat on the other side. Find your balance again, kick the leg back. Bring the same-side arm up as the kicked leg. Reach back and grab the foot into the hand while kicking up as hard as you can. Remember the kicking sensation is what helps you keep your balance. This lifting sensation and momentum will help you from falling. To come out of this pose, release the foot and the hand.
Relax into the floor in the extended puppy pose. Hips over the heels and melt the chest into the mat. Touch your chin to the mat and gaze forward. Extend your arms forward. This is a soft backbend and a shoulder opener to assist your back to open up further. Breathe 5 cycles.
Come into the side camel pose. Balance on the knees, stacking the hips on top of the knees and the shoulder’s on top of the hips. Take the hands to the hips. Push the hips forward and see if you can grab the ankle from behind on one side. Push the hips forward and melt the chest forward. Head drops back while extending the neck. Take a breath. And on the next inhale return back up. Repeat on the other side.
Go for the full camel pose. Full camel pose reaches for both ankles.
So get into it by reaching the hands up. Reach back, grab one heel then the other. Push the hips forward so the hips externally rotate. Then release back up and take a few breaths here in extended puppy pose.
Come into the triangle pose. Take hand onto the shins. This pose helps us stretch the standing legs and the hips.
Bowed Half Moon Pose. From the triangle pose reach forward, kick the back leg up while holding onto the foot (like in the tabletop exercise). Push the hips forward and open the knees away from each other. Keep the standing leg super strong and active. Repeat on the other side.
Get ready for full dancer’s pose. Come to standing. Reach back with the right arm and grab the outside of the foot. Squeeze the knees together in line. Then, start to kickback. Let the left-hand float forward naturally. Hold the full dancer’s pose for 8 to 10 breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
Follow up this strong backbend with a relaxed forward fold pose to counter the backbend action.