Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance)
In Sanskrit Nata means Dancer and Raja means king or lord so this asana is also known as the Lord of Dance. And also Natraj is another name give to Lord Shiva. This asana thus can be performed as follows;
- Stand up in Tadasana or the Mountain Pose.
- Inhaling begin to shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel backwards to your left buttock as you bend the knee. Press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong.
- Try keeping your torso relatively upright.
- Now reach out back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. To avoid compression in your lower back, actively lift your pubis towards your navel, and at the same time, press your tailbone towards the floor.
- Now slowly start lifting your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.
- One can also with your hands can sweep the right hand around behind your back and catch hold of the inner left foot. Then sweep the left hand back and grab the outside of the left foot.
- Remain in this posture for about 29 to 30 seconds,
- Then release the grasp of the foot and place your left foot back on the floor. And repeat the same on the other side too.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Stretches the shoulders and chest.
- Vertebral joints are stretched so they can perform well.
- Builds inner as well as outer steadiness.
- Opens up your heart.
- Releases the tension in the ankle as well as foot and helping to prevent various injuries.
- Opens up the chest and the lungs thus increasing the breathing capacity of the lungs.
- Stretches the thighs, groin, and abdomen.
- Strengthens the legs and ankle.
- Develops concentration and balance.
- Tones up and lengthens the leg as well as the hip muscles.
- Stimulates the full range of movement in the shoulders.
- Improves your balance.
Precautionary measures that must be followed in this asana are:
- If coming forwards is difficult then come partially forwards.
- You can even allow your body to be supported by the wall as you come forward in the pose.
- Is not at all recommended for individuals with high blood pressure, serious lower back injury and in case of a knee injury.
- In case of injury to the shoulder capsule.