Monday, August 23, 2010

Dancer Pose, Natarajasana




Natarajasana

Nata= actor, mime, dancer

Raja= king

This beautiful back bending pose is a classic, seen not only in many yoga styles, but also in classical India artwork. It is a pose dedicated to the god, Shiva, the Lord of the Dance and seen often in graphic depictions of him.

You too can feel like a kingly dancer, or at least 10 times more energized when you do, Dancer Pose correctly. It’s many benefits included, stretching the chest, shoulders, quads, and abdomen. This pose strengthens your ankles, and whole leg, while honing your balance and focus skills. All pro athlete's benefit from back bending. Not only does it open your lungs by creating space around your pec's and shoulders, it teaches you how to stay grounded, focus, when attempting a difficult play. It also strenghthen's and creates flexibility in your mid back and glute medius which are necessary to fire off the ground for a jump shot, or spring into action on the field.

Get into the Groove

  1. Before beginning this challanging backward bending pose, do 15 minutes of warm up, quick jog, light weights lots of reps, something that makes you sweat. Then do the Yoga Sun Salutation A 3x's .
  2. After warm up, come to the top of your yoga mat and shift your weight onto the right foot. Bend right knee, and grasp the foot in a classic “runner’s” quad stretch pose. If you find it a struggle to easily grab your foot, please grab a towel or strap for the rest of the exercise.
  3. Allow your pelvic bone to drop and tilt forward, this will stretch the quad more deeply and prevent pinching your low back as you back bend. Hold this simple stretch for 5 breaths.
  4. Before going further, drop your pelvic bone forward, AND lift your chest up to your chin. Then you can proceed into a backbend by leaning slightly forward, and kicking the weight of your foot into your hand and continuing to lengthen your foot and hand upward. BREATHE.
  5. If you feel any pinching, stop, grab a strap and us this excellent tool to ease into Dancer till your quads, pectoral’s and mid back are more open.
  6. GO SLOW. A lot of folks slam themselves into poses, and they are designed to be meditative, thoughtful and well, dancer like. If you find yourself rushing into Dancer or any pose, stop. Are you breathing? Are you struggling to go further than your muscles will allow at this time? Remember, yoga is NOT a competitive sport, but a wonderfully challenging way to integrate, breath and body to enhance a healthy, mind and body.
  7. Stay in Dancer about 10 breaths, then switch.

Counter Poses/Modifications

Forward bending with slightly bent knees, or “soft” knees, or a supine twist are great counter poses to Dancer. Also, if you are still feeling vibrant, a headstand or one leg stretched forward, balance ( Eka Pada Hasta Padagustasana) are excellent ways to balance Dancer

If you need to modify, grab a strap and lasso your lifted foot with it. Also, standing near a wall and using it for support is a great way to train yourself to balance. You can also do this pose with a buddy, who can hold you.

As always, all poses are best learned under the guidance of a certified yoga teacher. You can always email me on t.hall43@gmail.com for yoga related questions and I will get back to you in a timely mannor.


Happy Backbending!!

Tonja Renee Hall

Is a yoga instructor at Seattle Athletic Club Downtown, and for professional sports teams. She uses her 10 years teaching experience, and personal training in many disciplines of dance, cycling sports, and equestrian sports to inform her teaching. She uses humor and discipline to encourage her students to reach for there personal best. To schedule a private yoga lesson, please refer to her website www.tonjareneehall.com or contact Anna Miller, Group Fitness Director at SAC downtown. (. www.sacdt.com )

Her favourite color right now is orange, and she can’t get enough of this sun!!!

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