March 16, 2017
The third Asana I chose to explore for Yoga Teacher Training is King Dancer Pose. All balance poses are difficult for me, so I decided to begin my exploration with this graceful asana. Natarajasana is Sanskrit for “Lord of the Dance” or “King Dancer.” It is a beautiful pose that requires much focus, stability, and grace, while engaging many muscle groups.
This pose is a whole body experience. There are two versions to experience this posture, both requiring back-bending and equilibrium. To get into the asana, you will begin in mountain pose. While standing on one leg, you grab your opposite foot with your hand and bring it close to your gluts. Clasp your foot’s inner ankle, foot in flexion. As a modification, you can loop a strap around the top of your foot, and then hold onto the strap with your hand. Bring your knees together while raising your other hand to the sky. When you feel ready, you can slowly begin to press your foot away from your body as you simultaneously lean your torso slightly forward. The key here is to keep your chest lifted and hand high in the sky as you shift your body forward. The tailbone should be anchored while the raised thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is close to the body. Since this is a balance pose, it's a helpful tip to keep your eyes focused on a point.
For the advanced version, swivel your elbow forward and hug the right bicep toward your ear. You'll have to really move your shoulder down to make this adjustment, as your elbow will be high in the air, forearm parallel to the ground. With care, you can grab your other hand toward your foot, or the strap. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back while your arms are hugging close to your midline. Avoid the torso from dropping forward while lifting yourself up in the pose, hips square and level. Release with ease.
The benefits of holding King Dancer pose is that it “provides a deep stretch to the shoulders, chest, groin, abdomen and thighs. It also strengthens the muscles of the standing leg and helps stabilize the ankle. The quadriceps and iliopsoas (hip flexors) of the non-weight-bearing leg receive an amazing stretch.” - 'Yoga Outlet'
The more I dance around with this asana, the more I enjoy it. It was actually one of the first poses I had learned when I began yoga. I have currently placed a mirror in my living room to watch my alignment with this posture. It will be awhile before I reach the advanced position, as I am still working to improve my balance in general. I really enjoy the fluidity and grace of the pose when I organically fall into it. It feels very feminine and divine when I naturally embody the curvature of the experience. As my flexibility and balance improve, I aim to enhance this asana.