Yoga Sequences

An Accessible Yoga Sequence for Practicing Lord of the Dance Pose

Try Amber Karnes' way of accessing the energizing and balancing benefits of Natarajasana.

Body Positive Yoga founder Amber Karnes created this sequence to approach Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose), one of her favorite postures, in a new way: It’s less about creating a “pretty” pose and more about exploring sensation and muscular action. Stay in each pose for 5–10 breaths, depending on what feels supportive to your body. Finish with some forward bends and twists. 

Mat Version

1. MARJARYASANA-BITILASANA | Cat-Cow Poses

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

From Tabletop, bring a block or folded blanket under one hand to play with an asymmetrical version of Cat-Cow. Inhale, and lift your tailbone. Let your belly drop toward the floor, pressing your hands down, lifting your chest, and looking upward. Exhale, curl your tailbone under, arch your back, and let your chin drop toward your chest. Try the prop under your other hand or below a knee, noticing how it changes your experience of the pose. 

2. WALL CLOCK

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Stand with your left shoulder facing a wall, arm overhead, palm pressing into the wall. Turn your body away from the wall until you feel a stretch across your armpit and chest. Experiment with bringing your left hand behind you and down the wall at various angles/heights, like the hand of a clock. Adjust the sensation further by changing how much you turn your body away from the wall. Repeat on the other side. 

3. VIRABHADRASANA II | Warrior Pose II, Dynamic

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Step your right foot forward into Warrior II. Play with the angle of your back foot so your left knee feels supported. Bend into your right knee. Spread the mat between your feet. Lift your arms to shoulder height, bending at your elbows to make cactus arms. On the inhalation, squeeze your shoulder blades together, broadening your collarbones, and draw the head of your arm bones backward. On the exhalation, bring your forearms together as you round your upper back (like in Cat Pose). Move back and forth with the breath. Repeat on the other side. 

4. BHEKASANA | Frog Pose, variation

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Lie on your belly. Bring your right elbow underneath your right shoulder, and let your forearm rest parallel to the front edge of your mat. Use this arm to bolster your upper body off the ground. Reach back with your left hand (use a strap if you can’t easily reach your foot) and take hold of your left ankle. Try to keep both hipbones connected to the ground as you pull your heel closer to your butt to stretch your quad. Adjust the sensation by bringing your foot closer to, or farther away from, your body. Repeat on the other side. 

5. BHUJANGASANA | Cobra Pose, variation

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Reach your arms in front of you, and bring your fingertips to the floor with your hands wider than the width of the mat. Press down through the front of your hips and the tops of your feet. Dig your fingertips into the floor, and squeeze your shoulder blades together, curling your chest and head up off the mat. Drag your chest forward toward your hands, and lift your heart. 

6. PIGEON POSE, ACTIVE

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit on a bolster placed across the width of your mat with your legs wide. Bend your left knee, drawing your heel in toward the bolster, swinging your right leg behind you. Rest your pelvis on the bolster and tuck your back toes. Keep your back knee lifted and leg muscles active. If it’s difficult to keep your upper body upright, bring both hands to blocks. Press your legs into the earth and draw them together to engage your inner-thigh and groin muscles. Experiment with lifting your back foot and alternating lifting one or both arms. Repeat on the other side. 

7. NATARAJASANA | Lord of the Dance Pose

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Move your mat perpendicular to a wall. Stand firmly on your right foot between the wall and a chair with the seat facing away from you. Bring your left leg up behind you and rest your shin against the wall. Experiment with the chair position to support your balance. Press your shin actively into the wall and root your right foot down into the mat. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, broaden your collarbones, and arch your back for an active backbend. Repeat on the other side. 

8. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA | Downward-Facing Dog Pose

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Stand in front of the chair with the seat facing you. Grab the sides of the seat with both hands, and walk your feet backward. Stretch your hips up and back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Find a long spine, and take any movement that feels good. 

9. APANASANA | Knees-to-Chest Pose

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Lie on your belly. Bring your right elbow underneath your right shoulder and let your forearm rest parallel to the front edge of your mat. Use this arm to bolster your upper body off the ground. Reach back with your left hand (use a strap if you can’t easily reach your foot) and take hold of your left ankle. Try to keep both hipbones connected to the ground as you pull your heel closer to your butt to stretch your quad. Adjust the sensation by bringing your foot closer to, or farther away from, your body. Repeat on the other side. 

Seated Version

1. MARJARYASANA-BITILASANA | Cat-Cow Poses

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Come to a comfortable seat in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Practice Cat-Cow as cued in the Mat Version (left) but with the block under one hand or foot. 

2. WALL CLOCK

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Position your chair next to the wall sit with your left shoulder facing the wall, arm overhead, palm pressing into the wall. Turn your body away from the wall until you feel a stretch across your armpit and chest. Experiment with bringing your left hand behind you and down the wall at various angles/heights, like the hand of a clock. Adjust the sensation further by changing how much you turn your body away from the wall. Repeat on the other side. 

3. VIRABHADRASANA II | Warrior Pose II, Dynamic

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit in a chair and turn your body 45 degrees so that you’re seated toward the chair’s right corner. Anchor your sitting bones and keep your knees wide. Keep your legs bent, feet connected to the floor, or stretch your left leg behind you for Warrior Pose II. Practice with cactus arms and movement as in the Mat Version (left). Repeat on the other side. 

4. BHEKASANA | Frog Pose, variation

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit sideways in a chair with your right thigh resting on the seat, right hip touching the back. Bring your left knee to a block for support. Rest your right forearm on the back of the chair. Lift and lower your left foot to stretch the front of your quad, or loop a strap around your left ankle and use that to bring your heel closer to your butt for more sensation. Repeat on the other side. 

5. BHUJANGASANA | Cobra Pose, variation

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit in a chair with a block on top of each thigh. Press your feet firmly into the earth. Dig your elbows into the block, then drag them back as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and your chest moves forward through your arms. 

6. PIGEON POSE, ACTIVE

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit sideways in a chair with your right thigh resting on the seat and your right hip against the back. Actively push your front foot down into the earth as you press your back toes into the mat. Spread the mat between your feet to engage your leg muscles. Play with the angle of your back leg to find a new or deeper sensation to explore in the front of the hip. Repeat on the other side. 

7. NATARAJASANA | Lord of the Dance Pose

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit sideways at a 90-degree angle in a chair with the wall behind you. Bring your left toes to the wall behind you, and press your foot actively into it. Feel the stretch in the front of your left hip. Experiment with the distance between the chair and the wall so you can bend your knee while pressing your toes into the wall with both legs active. Rest your right arm against the back of the chair for stability. Play with lifting one or both arms for the backbend. Repeat on the other side.

8. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA | Downward-Facing Dog Pose

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Bring the chair about a foot away from the wall with the seat facing the wall. Sit with both feet on the floor, reaching your arms out in front of you higher than your shoulders. Press your hands into the wall, and let your head come between your arms. Find a long spine. 

9. SEATED HIP CIRCLES

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Photography by Aviv Rubinstien, Wardrobe: Day Won sports bra, DK Active leggings

Sit in the chair and let your hands rest on your thighs. Press your feet into the floor as you make torso circles over your legs. Let your weight shift back and forth to each sitting bone as you slowly rotate your spine. Circle in each direction 5–10 times to reset the spine. 

Try this technique from Amber for making common yoga poses accessible for folks in larger bodies.