• Natarajasana: Feel the Dance!

    noelle connolly yoga

    Work toward one of the most celebrated backbends in yoga: Natarajasana (nat = dance, raja = lord or king), also called Dancer's Pose, Lord of the Dance Pose, Dancing Shiva Pose, and King Dancer’s Pose.

    Given its many names, it must be pretty significant, right?

    Well, yeah. It is.

    Nataraja is Shiva as the Lord of Dance and symbolizes the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and dissolution. Heavy stuff, I know. Cultivating this dynamic pose allows you to experience stillness within movement, and feel the dance contained within stillness.

    By opening up the front body and simultaneously strengthening the standing leg and engaging the lower abdominals, this standing backbend:

    • Builds focus and confidence
    • Opens up the shoulders and chest
    • Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
    • Strengthens the legs and ankles
    • Enhances balance

    To experience the benefits, check out these online yoga videos all specifically choreographed with shoulder and heart openers to prep for this kingly pose.

    • Natarajasana: King Dancer's Pose Flow with Joan Hyman Joan will break it down, teaching component parts like opening the shoulder girdle and the hip flexors, along with teaching how to engage the pelvic floor. This is an energizing online yoga practice, including handstand variations and twists that leave you feeling grounded and open at the same time! Begin on two blocks opening the thoracic spine with breath awareness. Enjoy the flow and find your dance within! (62 mins.)
    • Dancing Shiva Flow with Ashley Turner Strengthen by softening in this online yoga class. Travel through a dynamic standing/balancing sequence and dive into the myth of Natarajasana. Learn how to dance through "the rings of fire" in life in this dynamic, Level 3 online yoga video. (92 mins.)
    • Hip and Shoulder Opening to Natarajasana: SmartFLOW with Annie Carpenter This steady and focused alignment-based yoga video features postures to open the shoulders and front hips in preparation for the dance. (88 mins.)

    Like anything else, Natarajasana takes practice, especially for the less bendy of yogis.

    Enjoy the journey, don’t freak out over falling, and trust that with practice all is coming, including strength and poise.

    Natarajasana by Joe Longo Photography via 

  • Intention: Dance Through Life


    “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” ~Wayne Dyer 

    When you yoga, your purpose is not to execute each pose on the mat with perfection. The purpose is to enjoy each pose and each breath along the way. The purpose is get so intimate with that breath and that pose that all else slips away and there you are: Fully in the moment.  

    Many people ask me what kind of yoga I do. I do Vinyasa. Then, they ask: "Well, what's that?" I usually give some loose description they probably don't understand, along with this: "Vinyasa means to place in a special way.” Thus, a part of the Vinyasa practice is, unquestionably, moving into and executing each pose with grace and intelligence. There's always gotta be some structure, right? Some of us, however, get so hung up on the structure and perfecting that structure that we forget to enjoy yoga. We forget to be present with it. Instead, we get all tanged up in an asana over-analysis. And there we are: Not fully the moment, but wrapped up in our heads. So not the point.

    For me, it's most important to enjoy the practice and be present with it. I mean if this isn't happening, then what's the freakin' point? Being graceful and intelligent is all secondary for me. As my practice has evolved, I've grown to see perfection as an illusion, clumsiness and falling as a part of the game, and mistakes as lessons and opportunities for growth. There's no end to learning in yoga. There's no one place to go with it. It's meant to be enjoyed. It's meant to help us live more fully in the moment.

    All of this goes for life too, right? We all wants things (goals, self-realization, love...) and by all means we gotta go get those things. But it’s not about the end result - the retrieval of those things. It’s about the journey to those things and finding joy and presence within that journey. That's the purpose.

    The practice is a dance. Life is a dance. It's all meant to be enjoyed and savored. So, stop over thinking. Stop getting caught up where you want to be. Instead, be here. Savor here.

    And for a little dancer action...

    Join Ashley Turner for her new Dancing Shiva Flow.Strengthen by softening in this online yoga class, exploring shoulder and heart openers that lead to one of the most celebrated backbends in yoga: Natarajasana or Dancer Pose. Enjoy a dynamic standing, balancing sequence and dive into the myth of Natarajasana. Learn how to dance through "the rings of fire" on the mat and in life in this energizing online yoga experience.

    vinyasa yoga videos

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