Dancer's pose (aka natarajasana in Sanskrit) is one of my favorite poses and I know I'm not alone so I thought I'd put together a list of tips for the pose and ways to switch it up in case you wanted to play around with it. Above is the "regular" dancer's pose. The first rule of dancer's pose is that there is no "right" way. Bikram yoga will instruct one way, various vinyasa teachers will teach it a different way. Just go with what works for you.
Tips for the "Regular" Dancer's Pose
-Always grab the inner arch of the foot, with your thumb pointing away from you.
-Be sure not to hyperextend the standing leg. This may mean keeping the tiniest of microbends in the standing leg. Alternatively, I've seen people do this pose with a deep bend in the leg.
-Always reach forward with the free arm. Some people put the arm straight out in front, some put it straight up towards the sky. Some bend the arm, some straighten it. Up to you.
-Stay lifted and light from the pelvis up through the fingers. That is, be rooted in the standing foot, and think about a line of energy from the pelvis down through the ground. From the pelvis up, visualize a line of energy lifting you towards the sky.
If you're ready to take your dancer's pose to the full expression, you can twist your arms all around getting up there, or you can use a strap as shown. If it's a lot for you to be here, just stay there and breathe fully for five to seven breaths and come out. With practice, you'll get there. Listen to your body.
Tips for Full Dancer's Pose
-Be careful not to hyperextend the standing leg.
-Relax the shoulders away from the ears
-Lower the belly but stay lifted in the upper body.
-Be mindful not to compress any area of the spine.
I looove this variation. The hand on the knee kind of helps to guide the knee and protect it from falling out of line with the body. It feels so good.
Tips for this Variation of Natarajasana
-Use a strap to get the left arm up if you need.
-Spread the toes of both feet for added stability and maximum muscle engagement.
-Visualize the shoulder blades melting down the back for relaxed shoulders and open chest.
Do you have any tips you'd like to share for dancer's pose? Is this a favorite of yours, too, or do you prefer something different?