Asana of the Month: Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. Contributed by Asana Girl (aka Danielle Polen)

Rolling Thunder, white shoes, Screen on the Green–all mark the formal arrival of summer in Washington, D.C., and June’s Asana of the Month finds us dancing for joy in celebration of nature’s great transformation. Natarajasana is a representation of Shiva, Lord of the Dance, as well as the transformational aspect of the Vedic Trinity, who brings rebirth, new beginnings and evolution. Longtime Iyengar yoga teacher and scholar, Kofi Busia, notes that Shiva “helps yogis realize there is more to the world than the immediately evident dichotomy between the physical and nonphysical, the other and non-other. When you first practice Natarajasana,” he continues, “you’ll likely be focused on the physical aspects of the pose because it is so challenging. Learning it requires tremendous patience, persistence, and resolve…. Eventually you’ll start to find the eternal and the nonphysical within what might at first have appeared to be the temporal and physical. Then one day, after much perseverance and devotion, you will overcome all obstacles and you will effortlessly feel Shiva’s cosmic dance of the coming into and the going out of being and nonbeing. Existence will be divine. And as…B.K.S. Iyengar says, your body will become a temple, this asana a prayer.”
Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose): 
Nata = actor, dancer, mime 
Raja = king

  • Stretches the shoulders and chest
  • Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
  • Strengthens the legs and ankles 
  • Improves balance
  • Low blood pressure
Preparatory Poses:
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) 
  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) 
  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose) 
  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose) 
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow or Wheel Pose) 
  • Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)  
  • and many others…
Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:

Tito Puente’s salsafied cover of the Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe classic “I Could Have Danced All Night,” from the album My Fair lady Goes Latin

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