Natarajasana (Sanskrit) – Dancer’s pose is a big shoulder stretch and standing balancing pose. The pose stretches the shoulder, chest, bicep, hip flexor and your balance! The pose can be done with an open shoulder rotation or a closed shoulder rotation as long as the arm rotation is completely open or closed.
- From Tadasana, set your drishti (gaze) on a spot that is not moving. Shift your weight to your right foot and stretch your toes out on the mat. Press the four corners of your standing foot into the ground and hug in. Skin to muscle to bone.
- Bend your left knee and clasp your left hand around the left ankle.
- Your thumb can be pointed up or it can be pointed down. If you reach back with your thumb pointing up, this is an open shoulder pose. If your thumb is pointing down, it is a closed shoulder pose. Engage the right arm and extend it towards the ceiling.
- Kick your foot into your hand and pull back on your foot with your hand. Lift the back of your thigh (hamstring) parallel to the mat and flex your foot.
- The stability in this posture comes from the strength in the kick—the harder you kick, the more stable you’ll be.
- Square the hips. Try to square the hips and keep your left knee in line with your left hip joint rather than opening out to the left side (which is what your body will want to do by default).
- Protect the standing knee. Take care to not hyperextend the standing knee in this posture. Hyperextension occurs when the knee bends past its usual range of motion when straight. This is also known as locking the joint. To prevent this and protect that standing leg, engage the quadricep of your standing leg (“lift the kneecap”) and make a microbend in the knee of your standing leg.
- Hold for 5 – 6 breaths, then switch sides.
Jennifer Huber 200hr RYT