We’ll start with a modified version of the pose. The full pose will be described in the Variation section below.
nata = actor, dancer, mime
raja = king
Step by Step
For the full pose, perform step 1 as described above. Then turn your left arm actively outward (so the palm faces away from the side of the torso), bend the elbow, and grip the outside of the left foot. (You can also grab the big toe with the first two fingers and the thumb.) The fingers will cross the top of the foot, the thumb will press against the sole. Inhale, lift the left leg up, and bring the thigh parallel to the floor. As you do this, rotate the left shoulder in such a way that the bent elbow swings around and up, so that it points toward the ceiling. It requires extreme flexibility to externally rotate and flex the shoulder joint in this way. Reach the right arm straight forward, in front of the torso and parallel to the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, release, and repeat on the second side for the same length of time.
|Modifications and Props|
|Balance can be difficult in the modified version. Try bracing the free hand against a wall to help you stay stable.|
|Deepen the Pose|
|You can move even further into this pose by grasping the raised foot with the off-side hand. Complete the pose as described above in the Full Pose section. Then inhale and swing the free hand first up toward the ceiling, then bend the elbow and reach for the inside of the raised foot.|
|Natarajasana is usually performed as the final pose of a series of challenging backbends. You'll probably want to release the spine by coming to Ardha Uttanasana (Half Uttanasana), also known as Right Angle Pose, at the wall or reclining twist.|
|Many beginners, when lifting the leg, tend to cramp in the back of the thigh. Be sure to keep the ankle of the raised foot flexed; that is, draw the top of the foot toward the shin.|
|Have your partner help you with balance. As you perform the pose (any of the described variations), have your partner stand behind you. Let him use his best judgment on how to keep you from toppling over, such as bracing your hips with his hands, or helping you to grasp the raised foot.|