No matter whether you’ve been a yogi for years or you’ve recently joined the community, the Natarajasana, which is otherwise known more simply as Dancer’s Pose, is one of the best poses for a deeply satisfying backbend and requires a stillness of the mind, plenty of patience and a good deal of focus in order to perform it correctly.
Read on for simple step-by-step instructions on how to perform this pose, as well as additional insights into the potential benefits you can expect from this soulful pose.
Dancer Pose: Step-By-Step Instructions
If you’d like to try out the dancer pose for yourself, then the good news is that it isn’t as tricky to do as it might seem.
Nevertheless, it’s important to make sure that you’re following the proper technique to prevent any injuries while also ensuring that you are able to make the very most out of this pose. Check out the following instructions below:
- To begin the Dancer Pose, start by standing in Mountain Pose, ensuring that you have positioned yourself towards the top end of your yoga mat to make sure that you have all the room you need to perform the pose.
- When you’re ready to begin transitioning into the Dancer Pose, visualise your energy traveling downwards and into your feet. Once you have done this, gently press all of your toes down on the mat to ground yourself, all while slowly lifting up your arches.
When you’re ready, focus on your breath and turn your inner thighs outwards, and this will encourage your tailbone to gently release in a downward motion.
- Once you have gotten here, take a few moments to focus in on your breathwork, consciously reminding yourself to breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale deeply from your mouth.
When you’re ready, gently lift up your sternum from your tummy area, and relax your ribs. Once again, take a few moments to ensure that your breathing is aligned.
- In your own time, gently bend your right knee so that the heel of your right foot is adjacent with your hip/behind area, and then carefully reach back and take your heel into your right hand.
By opting to take your heel with your right hand, you will help to lower the chance of you losing your balance reaching behind your torso.
- Once you’ve successfully done this, you will then need to take your right knee next to your left knee. Keep in mind that while you do this you might find that you fall out of symmetry with yourself, so take a few moments to realign your body and your breathing before moving on to the next step here.
If you struggle to do this, we recommend that you press down firmly with your left foot and gently bring the right side of your chest, hips and pelvis forward to become realigned with the left side of your body.
- When you’re ready to move to the next step, you’re going to want to firmly press your right thigh back and lift up, all the while lifting up your left arm over your head to meet your right heel.
If you’re not overly experienced in this particular pose, then you might find yourself losing some Tadasana. Don’t panic – take a few moments to realign yourself so that there is a smooth flow of energy throughout your body, as well as an alignment of your breathing.
- Once you have recentered yourself and you’re ready to complete the pose, all you are going to need to do is finish up by pulling your sternum area away from your navel, so that your chest can be fully opened.
While you extend into the pose completely and stretch your right leg, keep your breathwork aligned as you bend deeply into the stretch. All the while, keep your right leg and food grounded and strong, while also engaging your core to ensure optimum balance.
- While there are no set rules, we recommend that you hold this pose for around 10 breaths, and then come back into Mountain Pose. From there, you can repeat the movement using your left leg. This will ensure that your back is given a total stretch.
Top tip: If you’re a beginner to intermediate yogi who doesn’t have much experience in performing the dancer pose, then the key is to give yourself plenty of patience.
Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself unable to perform it correctly the first few times, as the dancer pose is one that requires plenty of practice, flexibility and patience so take your time.
If you find your thigh cramping up, try and keep your lifted foot flexed, so that your toes feel like they are pointing backward.
Dancer Pose Benefits
Just like with all other types of yoga poses, there are a variety of wonderful benefits that the dancer pose can offer you.
For starters, the dancer pose is able to help improve your overall focus and concentration levels by encouraging you to harness your balancing abilities and become more aware of your body.
Alongside this, the dancer pose also has the ability to tighten up your back and core muscles, while also helping to give your arms, chest, shoulders and back a soothing and soulful stretch.
In addition to the above, the Dancer Pose also helps you to strengthen the glutes and hamstring along the leg that is being lifted, while also helping to strengthen and tone the leg that is firmly planted on the ground.
Besides helping to tone and make your legs and core more shapely, the dancer pose also has the ability to increase your awareness of prana, and will encourage you to become more aware of your body, and the energy that flows through it.