Monday, March 19, 2012

Yoga Pose of the Day: Dancer Pose

Dancer Pose, or Natarajasana, is such a wonderful pose! Not only does it work your entire body, but it is so beautiful to look at and is the picture of grace, control, and balance in one's body.

Dancer Pose is a great pose because it can be modified for anyone, regardless of balance or flexibility. The best instruction I have ever received in practicing Dance Pose was while taking classes at Hot House Yoga in Iowa City, IA, ( during Scott's classes, and I will try my best to put into writing here his great instruction.

1-Stand in Mountain Pose, lengthening through your spine and really finding yourself grounded.

2-Shift your weight onto your right foot.
3-Once you feel grounded into your right foot, extend your right arm straight upwards, and bring your left arm behind you.
4-Raise your left foot to your left hand. Take your left hand to the big toe side of your left foot and grasp your left ankle.

You can modify at this point and use a towel to wrap around your ankle and hold in case your flexibility does not allow for you to bring your leg all the way to your hand.

5-As you exhale, begin to kick into your left foot into your left hand, creating resistance and extension of your leg. Do not immediately tip your torso forward. Focus on the backside of your body right now.
6-When it is time to inhale, reground yourself, then exhale, and further the active stretch of your quads, pushing your left foot into your left hand.
7-Your leg extension will get you to a point, where your torso will naturally begin to tip forward. Work with the movement. Keep your torso active and controlled.
8-As you further the stretch in your back leg and your body moves forward, extend your right arm forward. This will create a push and pull motion in your body: your leg pushing backward, and your arm moving forward as if being pulled away from your core.
9-When you are able to hinge your torso so that it is parallel to the floor, stop and hold the pose for five to seven breaths.
10-Slowly and with control, bring your torso back upright, lower your left leg to the ground, and then repeat the pose, this time with your body weight shifted onto your left foot and your right leg extended behind you.


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