Your Monthly Yoga Pose
May is a month of celebration! In May, we honor, mothers, teachers, nurses, public service, and our national military. We celebrate prom, Memorial Day, and Cinco de Mayo, three events that usually contain music and dancing. Thus, this month’s pose is dancer pose, or natarajasana.
Dancer pose is a vigorous balancing pose that promotes brain health and a graceful carriage. It expands the chest, opens the shoulders, and strengthens the leg muscles.
- Stand in mountain pose with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Close your eyes.
- With your eyes closed, notice the weight in your feet and transfer it from one foot to the other. Keeping your eyes closed, bring all of your weight onto the left foot.
- As you open your eyes, lift the right toes off the mat and bend the right knee so the right toes are coming toward your right hamstrings.
- With the right hand, catch the right toes or foot.
- Keep the right palm facing away from the body as you catch the foot and the right thumb facing up.
- With the right foot in your right hand, keep the hips on the same plane and begin to kick the right leg.
- The thigh should be parallel to the mat, and the shin should be perpendicular to the mat.
- Allow the left arm to straighten ahead and stay parallel to the mat.
- Make sure your chin is slightly bent down so as to elongate the spine.
- Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
Modifications for beginners would be to practice the hold of the foot with the same arm and balance with a wall in front. You will get many benefits from the simplicity of balancing on one leg. According to an American Heart Association study on balance and brain health, or the Association of Postural Instability With Asymptomatic Cerebrovascular Damage and Cognitive Decline, “Postural instability was found to be associated with early pathological changes in the brain and functional decline, even in apparently healthy subjects.”
For an advanced movement, catch the leg with both hands, then rest the foot on the head.
Dancer pose, like all balancing poses, allows the mind to focus. In addition, the pose if freeing while the opposite arm is extended. Enjoy the music and enjoy the dancer pose.
Natalia Foote is the owner of threeR, a company bringing mindfulness, meditation and yoga practices to the workplace. Her mission in life is spreading love and light in the world. When not spending time with her family, you can find Natalia taking and teaching yoga all around Lake Nona.