Dancer pose (natarajasana) is a standing backbend pose that combines balance, stability and patience.
Natarajasana can be quite challenging pose to master and requires a lot of focus. In addition to opening the shoulders and hips, you’ll need to connect core strength with grounded foundation. After the proper preparation, perfecting dancer pose is much easier with comfortable support of a FeetUp Trainer.
- Nataraja: One of the names of Lord Shiva
Benefits of Practicing Dancer Pose
- Develop balance and focus
- Improve postural awareness and proprioceptive acuity
- Boost energy
- Build strength in core, legs, and back
- You’ll feel like a champion!
Precautions to consider:
- This can be a pretty complicated single leg standing balance that puts pressure on knee and ankle joints.
- Practitioners with tight hips and lower back may have trouble reaching hand to foot.
- It’s easy to forget to breathe as you figure things out. Don’t let that happen to you!
Dancer Pose with your FeetUp Trainer
- Start standing in front of your FeetUp Trainer in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with hips parallel to the crossbar.
- Fold at the ships into a Standing Supported Forward Fold (hands supported on far corners of the cushion)
- Ground down through the big toe mounds and outer edges of parallel feet to create strong arches. This supports an internal rotation of the thighs to help curl tailbone downward for more space in the lower back.
- Broaden collarbones to lengthen side bodies and lift sternum long from an engaged navel.
- Bend right knee to bring heel toward sit bone. Reach back with right hand to clasp around outside of ankle bone (thumb down, palm in, shoulder externally rotated.)
- Keep left hand on FeetUp Trainer for support. Bend the standing left leg for more stability as you figure out the lifted knee situation.
- To create even find balance, ground down through the standing left foot and hip to square pelvis off with Trainer.
- Keep gaze long, forward, and slightly down so the neck and shoulders stay even with the hips.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and play with lifting the grounded arm forward if you feel inspired!
- Release back to Tadasana and repeat on other side.
Alignment Tips for Beginners
- Keep one hand grounded as you figure things out! There is no need to let go of the FeetUp Trainer until you feel comfortable. Think of this more as a Warrior 3 variation (extending energy parallel to the ground) instead of Tree Pose (vertical energy).
- Push foot into hand, pull hand into foot. This internal traction helps keep the muscles engaged and creates lift in the torso.
- Can’t reach the foot? Use a strap. All the more reason to keep one hand on the Trainer until you find balance.
- Floating hamstring cramps? Flex the lifted ankle for a little less tension on the back of the lifted thigh.
- Need more space, time, and support? Start on hands and knees instead of standing. From a forearm tabletop position, you’ll have much more grounded support as you develop flexibility and figure out proper hand / strap placement for the bind.
Advanced Variation: Inverted Dancer Pose
If you’ve got the flexibility and body awareness to find balance while standing up, try recreating this shape while inverted! Here is a quick video to review the poses needed to warm up your body:
Start off by warming up the spine with some Cat / Cow and opening the chest with Camel pose. Throw in a couple supported low lunges to focus on the hips and a supported downward facing dog with arms extended to warm up the shoulders. From there, you can work on a standing supported dancer pose before flipping it upside down from a floating tuck!