How to Do Lord of the Dance Pose in Yoga (Guide to Natarajasana)

Lord of the Dance Pose, often shortened colloquially to Dancer Pose, is a standing balance that includes a back-bending aspect. It is inspired by a pose in the classical Indian dance called Bharatnatyam. This pose is featured multiple times in the statue form in the Nataraja Temple, which is how it got its name. Above all, practicing this asana can make anyone feel strong, flexible, and graceful.

“My favorite thing about Natarajasana is that it can be adapted to suit yogis of different levels,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “Whether you are completely new to yoga, or a seasoned practitioner, there is a variation of Lord of the Dance Pose that will challenge you.”

Lord of the Dance Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Natarajasana
Pose Type: Balancing Yoga Poses, Chest-Opening Yoga Poses, Standing Yoga Poses, Yoga Backbend Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Hip flexors, back, chest, and ankles.
Benefits: Since Natarajasana is a one-legged standing balance, it helps yogis work on their spatial awareness, coordination, and balance. As a result of balancing on one leg, you strengthen your hips, thighs, knees, shins, ankles, and arches of the feet. The backbend element of this pose allows you open and stretch the chest, collarbone, and shoulder area. It also strengthens the muscles in your back. The non-standing leg benefits from a deep stretch of the hip flexor and quadriceps.
Preparatory Poses: Low Lunge pose, Lizard Pose, Warrior III pose

How to Do Lord of the Dance Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start in the standing position. Shift your weight into your right foot and unlock the right knee.
  2. Lifting your left foot off the ground, bend your left knee and bring your heel towards your glute. Opening through the chest, reach back with your left hand and grab hold of your left foot. On an inhale, raise your right arm up.
  3. As you exhale, begin lowering your chest forward and simultaneously lifting the left knee back. Let your right arm follow the same trajectory as the torso.
  4. Press your left foot into your palm, engage your glutes and lift your heel as far away from your seat as possible. Keep your chest open and lifted forward.
  5. Bring your gaze straight ahead and focus on your balance. Stay here for up to a minute, then retrace your steps to come back into standing. Repeat on the other side.

Beginner’s Tip

To start with, you don’t have to lean very far. Practice your balance standing on one foot, and gradually introduce other elements into your variation of Lord of the Dance Pose. If you can’t connect your hand and foot, make a loop with a yoga belt, and rest your foot in the loop. If your balance is compromised, you can rest the front hand on a wall or the back of a chair to help you steady yourself.

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