Derived from Sanskrit word natar-rajan, meaning “dance king”, Natarajasana is a gesture of Shiva’s dance. The Hindu god, Lord Shiva is commonly seen in a circle of flame, with his four arms engaged in a dynamic dance representing the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth.
In the same way Shiva embodies power through movement, we can learn to embrace the process of growth between different stages of life. It's the perfect time of the year to reflect upon and honor the changes that largely guide us in our paths. We celebrate the dance of life-- with its ups and downs, challenges and rewards, cycles of day and night, and turning of the seasons.
Channel your inner Shiva and his cosmic dance of creation and elimination. Practice Dancer's Pose to cultivate grace, improve focus, increase energy and remain open-hearted.
- Stand with your feet together. Shift your weight into your left foot. Bend your right knee behind you, and bring your right heal towards your right glute. Reach your right hand behind you (with the eye of your right elbow facing out) and take hold of the inside arch of your right foot.
- Continue to balance on your left foot and reach your left arm overhead. Lift your chest as you kick your right foot upward, until your thigh is parallel to the floor or higher. Keep your hips square, and draw your right knee inward towards midline.
- Look up and stretch your left arm forward and upward. Keep your eyes steady on one point of focus and breathe deeply as you hold.
- Hold for 30 seconds or more. To release, gently release your grip on your right foot and return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
- For a more intense variation you can reach your right hand back to take hold of the top or your right foot or toes, and rotate your shoulder so your elbow swivels outward and then points toward the ceiling. From there you can reach your left arm over your head, and then behind you to grab ahold of your lifted foot. You can also use a strap for this variation, and climb your hands up the strap until you are able to grab your toes. This variation requires a lot of shoulder mobility and spinal flexibility.
As we balance between reaching and letting go, there is beauty in embracing the polarities of life. We can find lessons to be learned even in what seems like the smallest of moments-- and remember to always breathe through each of them.
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