What is Natarajasana?
There are several back bending poses in yoga that has been practiced for centuries to open up the frontal part of the body, improve the flexibility of the lumbar spine, and stretch out the abdominal muscles.One such classic yoga pose is Natarajasana. The word Natarajasana meaning Lord of the Dance or Dancer pose comes from the words Nat, which means dancer, raja meaning king/lord, and asana meaning posture. The name of this asana refers to Lord Shiva who is designated as the cosmic dancer and is derived from a pose in the Indian classical dance of Bharatanatyam. Natarajasana is seen in the 13th-century statues of the ancient temples in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. This is one of the most powerful, beautiful, and intense poses of yoga that involves standing, stretching, balancing, and back bending all at the same time. The dancer pose yoga symbolizes celebration, liberation, bliss, and letting go of your fears.
Who can perform Natarajasana?
Natarajasana can be done by anyone who wants to enjoy sustained health and a life free of diseases. It is especially advised for:
- People who feel that they are unable to balance their gait properly.
- Those who want to improve their flexibility and range of motion.
- People who feel stress and anxiety constantly.
- People who cannot concentrate well or feel that they have memory problems.
- Those who have backache or pain in the shoulder due to wrong posture or sedentary lifestyle.
- People who feel fatigued or exhausted.
- Those who want to improve their confidence.
- People who suffer from pains in the back and thighs.
- People who suffer from frequent digestive problems.
- Those who want to lose weight and improve their metabolism.
- Athletes who want to strengthen their chest, back, shoulders, and legs.
- Seniors can do modified versions of the dancer pose.
Who should avoid Natarajasana?
There are certain conditions that render the dancer pose risky or difficult for some people. There are also some precautions that you need to take before performing this pose. These contraindications and precautions include:
- Since Natarajasana is an advanced-level pose, beginners without the guidance of an expert trainer must not do it.
- Anyone who suffers from an injury to her/his back, shoulders, or legs should avoid the Natarajasana yoga pose.
- Anyone who has undergone surgery and is yet to recuperate.
- People suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Those who suffer from tennis elbow.
- People who are experiencing extreme stress and anxiety must avoid doing the dancer pose.
- People who have been diagnosed with low blood pressure.
- Dancer pose should not be done by people who have been diagnosed with heart issues.
- People suffering from fever, cold, or flu.
- People suffering from vertigo should avoid the asana Natarajasana.
- Avoid it if you suffer from peptic or duodenal ulcers.
- People suffering from colitis should avoid the Natarajasana pose.
- Pregnant women should avoid practicing Natarajasana.
- People who have been diagnosed with arthritis or osteoporosis must avoid doing this asana.
- Those who have the problem of disc bulging, herniation, or sacroiliac pain.
How does Natarajasana help?
The dancer pose yoga step has amazing mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. Some of the most important Natarajasana benefits include:
- The lifted leg gesture in this asana helps in strengthening your hips, thighs, shins, and ankles.
- The standing leg gesture helps in strengthening your hamstrings and stretching your hips, ankles, and quadriceps.
- Natarajasana helps in giving these muscles a good stretch and improving your flexibility and range of motion.
- This is a great asana to increase your metabolism making it a very effective weight loss yoga pose.
- Natarajasana helps in curing gastrointestinal issues and relieving you of constipation, bloating, gas, flatulence, etc.
- It makes the spine stronger and powerful improving your ability to do your daily activities better.
- Natarajasana is a great pose for improving your blood circulation. This helps in enhancing your immunity, strengthening your organs, and improving your lung function.
- The improved blood circulation also helps in enhancing your cognitive abilities and preventing Alzheimers, Parkinsons, dementia, memory loss, etc.
- This helps in improving the quality of your skin and hair and prevents premature greying and aging.
- Natarajasana yoga pose is a very effective pose for kids. When practiced during a kid's yoga routine, it helps in improving their activity levels, endurance, and immunity.
- Natarajasana helps in balancing your gait and coordination. This helps in preventing the risk of injuries from falls, etc.
- Practicing this asana every day helps in reducing stress and anxiety. This improves your productivity, interpersonal relationships, and creativity.
- This is a great pose to practice when you are feeling low on energy or fatigued. It opens up and stretches your entire body making you feel fitter and more agile.
How is Natarajasana done?
Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of the Natarajasana pose:
- To begin, get into the Natarajasana preparatory pose i.e. Tadasana.
- Breathe in and lift your left foot so that your heel is placed towards the left hip and your knees are bent.
- Keep your entire body weight on your right foot.
- Push the ball of your right thigh bone into the joint of the hip while pulling the kneecap up so that your leg is stretched comfortably.
- Keeping your torso upright, grasp the left foot from the outside with the left hand.
- Press your tailbone towards the floor.
- Slowly start lifting your foot away from the floor towards the back.
- Extend the left thigh behind you so that it is parallel to the floor. This is the purna Natarajasana pose.
- Hold this pose for around 15-30 seconds and release slowly. Repeat on the other side, which makes one rep complete.
- Do 4-5 repetitions 2-3 times in a day.
What are some tips for practicing Natarajasana safely?
Here are some things to be kept in mind before you start practicing Natarajasana:
- Being an advanced asana, the Natarajasana pose of yoga for beginners should never be done without the guidance of an expert trainer. You can look for yoga classes near me to learn the techniques of this pose. This is also important to know about the Natarajasana steps and benefits.
- Beginners, seniors, and even people who are facing difficulties in doing this pose at the outset can modify it by using props like a chair or a strap. Another effective modification of this pose is the quadriceps stretch with a wall to support you.
- Never overstretch, hyperextend, or lock your muscles or limbs while doing Natarajasana. This may result in injuries.
- Avoid doing Natarajasana if you have suffered an injury in your ankle or back.
- If you have recently undergone surgery, avoid practicing this asana unless you have healed completely.
- Never do Natarajasana without doing a warm-up session. Since this asana is a full-body stretch, your muscles need to be warm before you start practicing it.
- Always start slow. Never do too many repetitions at the outset.
- Always practice Natarajasana in a clean and well-ventilated space. Switch off your phone and TV to avoid getting distracted.
- If you feel pain or a sharp pull, immediately stop practicing Natarajasana.
- Dont practice this asana if you are suffering from stress or anxiety. This may overheat your body and result in palpitations or feelings of anger.
- Avoid doing this asana if you have a fever, cold, or flu.