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Benefits of Natarajasana (Dancer Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction

India is a prosperous land of “Ayurveda”. Ayurveda is the science of life which balance the relationship between the body and mind. We have been blessed with its fortunes of yoga and asanas. Yoga helps us to gain good health, whereas asana teaches us the skills to practise physical and mental strengthening exercises.1

natarajasana

People believe that Lord Shiva was the first person to practise Yogasana. Shiva is renowned as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. The arch of flames seen in King Nataraja’s idol is believed to be the source of all movement in the universe. Lord Shiva’s endless dance is a symbol of destruction and creation that brings the light upon us.2

Based on Lord Shiva’s Nataraja avatar, we bring you one asana called Natarajasana! Read along to learn more about Natarajasana’s benefits, techniques, variations, and more.

What is Natarajasana?

Natarajasana is a standing, balancing and back bending yoga pose. Natarajasana pose is derived from the classical Indian dance form ‘Bharatanatyam’. Natarajasana is a combination of Sanskrit words in which ‘Nata’ means dancer, ‘raja’ means King and ‘asana’ means pose. Natarajasana yoga is also known as the Lord of the Dance pose yoga. 1

Natarajasana is a physically challenging pose as it requires more flexibility in the legs, hips, and spine. Natarajasana pose is a chest opener. It stretches the thighs, shoulder, abdomen, and inguinal region, which may strengthenthe ankles and legs. While performing, you must practice enough to prepare your mind and body. If you regularly practice, it might help in developing strong mental endurance and sturdy concentration.1

The dance pose yoga is a perfect balancing asana and helps us become more grounded. Natarajasana benefits may activate the Mooladhara chakra and bring in feelings of stability, security, and awareness in the body.1

How to do it?

Natarajasana is also known as the “Lord of the dance pose”. Practising Natarajasana can stretch and add flexibility to the spine. However, it is absolutely contraindicated in people suffering from slipped discs as it applies pressure on the spine and entire back.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Natarajasana preparatory poses include Dhanurasana (bow pose), Ushtrasana (Camel pose)and Vrikshasana (tree pose).1 The following steps will guide you to practise the Natarajasana pose:

Stand straight with the feet together and focus on a fixed point at your eye level.

Bend your right leg by the knee and grab the toe with your right hand behind the body.

Maintain balance by keeping both knees together.

Slowly raise your right leg upward and stretch the arm and leg away from the body as much as possible.

Ensure your right hip does not twist and the leg is raised directly behind your body.

Bring your left arm in front, place the hand in Gyana mudra and focus your gaze on the left hand. This position makes the final Natarajasana pose.

You may bend forward and lift your leg further away to increase the stretch.

Now, balance your entire weight on your left leg with normal breathing. You may maintain this position for up to one minute or as long as possible till you feel comfortable.

To come back to the initial position, exhale and slowly lower your left arm to the side. Straighten your back and lower the right leg, so the knees are together. Release the toe and lower the leg; the foot lies on the floor. Relax and repeat with the left leg.3,4

There are a few Natarajasana variations and modifications which you may perform:

Some people might have difficulty grabbing the toes, so holding the ankles or using a strap around the foot to bridge the gap might work.3 Advanced practitioners with flexible bodies may try intense Natarajasana posture by touch the back of the head with the toes or holding the toes with both hands.4 Natarajasana for beginners might be difficult. They might struggle with balancing, so practising this pose by taking support of the wall or chair with an outstretched hand might help.1

Do You Know?

Here we bring a few interesting facts about the Natarajasana pose:

  • Natarajasana is a dance posture depicted in the idols of God at the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, India.1
  • The balance that comes from the pose triggers our understanding that clarity brings steadiness.1
  • The physical incarnation of King Nataraja is a tribute to the mighty Lord Shiva.1
  • Some Hindus believe that Lord Shiva performed Natarajasana in Chidambaram in South India, which is called the centre of the universe.2
  • A yoga enthusiast Sunabh Rangnia from Himachal Pradesh, India, on 15 June 2020, made the World Record for ‘longest performance of Natarajasana yoga’. He performed the Lord of the dance pose yoga for two minutes and two seconds.5

Practising Natarajasana can exhibit multiple health benefits. It might aid in reducing stress and weight. It also aids in improving concentration and posture. As it is a hip-opener, it might correct diseases related to the buttocks, thighs, groin and abdominal. Overall, it might increase the flexibility of the body.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Benefits of Natarajasana:

Natarajasana yoga might act as a great stress buster and calm your mind.3 Natarajasana may also have the following benefits:

1. Benefits of Natarajasana for Weight Loss:

Natarajasana might be beneficial for weight loss. While performing the Natarajasana pose, your entire body weight is balanced on one leg. It may engage each muscle of the body, allowing them to stretch and get stronger. This muscle involvement may make the extra calories in the body burn off. Hence, Natarajasana might give your body a feeling of lightness by helping you lose those excess calories.1,3 If you have weight-related issues consult your doctor and practice under a proper trainer.

2. Benefits of Natarajasana for Blood Circulation:

Several yoga poses are believed to make blood circulation better and natarajasana might help in circulating blood in the body. It might replenish blood circulation in the lower abdominal muscles and the entire body.1

3. Benefits of Natarajasana for Digestion:

Nobody likes uneasiness in the stomach. It may be related to improper digestion. With ageing, the digestive power may not work correctly. Natarajasana might restore your digestive system. While performing Natarajasana, it massages the abdomen and may activate the digestive organs. Hence, Natarajasana might boost the functions of your digestive system.1,3

4. Benefits of Natarajasana for Balance and Coordination:

Natarajasana might be a great asana for increasing balance and coordination in the body. Standing poses like Natarajasana create awareness, allowing us to balance on one leg. It might maintain the balance by activating the coordination between both the hemispheres of our brain leading to a more balanced personality. Natarajasana may also increase your concentration intensity as it balances the body.1

5. Other Benefits of Natarajasana 

  • Natarajasana pose may help to stretch the legs, knees, ankles, chest, neck, abdomen, and hipsin one go.1,3 
  • As we stand on one leg, the bones and muscles of the legs may get stronger as they carry the weight of the entire body.1 
  • Natarajasana pose may develop more flexibility in your hamstrings, spine and shoulders.1 
  • It may give an excellent stretch to the thigh and lower back and may relieve pain and stiffness.1,3 

Yoga practice may help develop the body and mind; however, it is not an alternative to modern medicine. Therefore, you should not depend on yoga alone to treat any health condition. Instead, consult a qualified doctor who will assess your situation correctly and advise accordingly. Furthermore, it is essential to practice yoga under the supervision of a professional trainer to avoid injuries.  

Risks of Exercise 

  • Natarajasana must be practised with utmost precaution to avoid any injuries and the risk includes: People with constant back or ankle pain must avoid the Natarajasana pose as it might worsen the condition. 3 
  • People with recent abdominal surgery should not perform this pose and wait until the surgery heals or take advice from their doctors.3 
  • Women during pregnancy and menstruation must follow the instructions given by yoga experts to avoid further complications. 
  • Older adults with balancing problems should practice dance poses by taking support of a wall or chair to gain stability.1 

With the guidance of a qualified yoga expert, you can assess and analyse the risk factors and continue to practise Natarajasana yoga with precautions.  

Conclusion 

Natarajasana is a balancing pose inspired by the Indian classical dance ‘Bharatnatyam’. Natarajasana yoga is named after the physical incarnation of King Nataraja. (Lord Shiva)  and called as the Lord of the Dance pose. Natarajasana may activate the Mooladhara chakra and stimulate the feeling of stability and awareness in the body. It is a physically challenging pose because it requires more flexibility in the legs, spine, and hips. So practice the Natarajasana pose under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher to perfect this pose. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

1. What is Natarajasana? 

Natarajasana is a balancing, back-bending yoga pose. Natarajasana is a Sanskrit name in which ‘Nata’ means dancer, ‘raja’ means King and ‘asana’ means posture. Natarajasana is based on one of Lord Shiva’s avatars, King Nataraja. Hence, Natarajasana is also called the Lord of the Dance pose yoga.1 

2. In which conditions is Natarajasana not advised?  

Natarajasana is not advised if a person has back pain, ankle pain, undergone abdominal surgery, pregnancy, or menstruation.3 

3. Which are the preparatory poses of Natarajasana? 

The Natarajasana preparatory poses include Ushtrasana (Camel pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose) and Vrikshasana (tree pose).1 

4. Which chakra gets activated by Natarajasana? 

Natarajasana may activate the Mooladhara chakra or the base cycle. The key aspects of the Mooladhara chakra may help psychologically with feelings of stability and security.1 

5. Which body parts are benefitted from the Natarajasana pose? 

The main body parts targeted during Natarajasana include the lower back, legs, hips, shoulders, arms, ankles, feet, thigh, and abdomen.1,3 

References 

1. Gangwal J, Kholiya S. Significance of Natrajasana in Day to Day Life. Intern J of Res Publi and Revi. 2020;1(7):74–7. Available from: https://www.ijrpr.com/uploads/V1ISSUE7/IJRPR068.pdf 

2. Shiva As Nataraja – The Lord of Dance [Internet]. NC State University. [cited 2022 Oct 1]. Available from: https://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/mgfosque/ENG219/Siva.html 

3. Yogapoint- Guide to Yoga Practices. [Internet]. YogaPoint India. [cited 2022 6 September]. Available from: https://www.yogapoint.com/pdf/Yogapoint%20Book%20of%20Practices.pdf 

4. Saraswati S. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust; 1996. 1–560 p. Available from: https://upaya-yoga.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Asana-Pranayama-Mudra-and-Bandhas-Bihar-School.pdf 

5. Longest Performance of Natarajasana Yoga – Golden Book Of World Records [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 30]. Available from: https://goldenbookofworldrecords.com/archives/11884 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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