I decided on this pose mainly due to a growing fascination. Though it is used for many different yoga pictures and profiles, it is one of the most under utilized poses in classes, and one of the least talked about poses in books and articles. Much of what I found while doing research was talk on how to get in and out of the pose with bullet points on the benefits. Though I managed to find one good article here I have yet to find anything more informative about the emotional release and beauty of this pose in the energetic body.
Natarajasana is a pose about grace and elegance, as well as freedom. Much as the name suggests it is a pose that represents a dancer. When we dance, and truly dance from our hearts, we find ourselves in a freed state, though we are not always graceful. Natarajasana also has benefits to the body including stretching the thighs and groin, as well as creating focus and balance. This pose then connects the second chakra, Svadhisthana, to the sixth chakra, Ajna, by opening up Svadhisthana and creating focus with Ajna.
Essentially natarajasana invites you to let go of repressed emotion from relationships gone bad, and helps you refocus your energies in a more positive way. While in Natarajasana let go of thought and focus on a singular point, this helps with balance as well as cleansing. Feel the elegance mixed with the strength. Notice what is being stretched and what is being used to keep yourself upright and balanced.
How to Practice
When entering natarajasana start in mountain pose. Root your right foot into the ground, and contract your first Bandha. Make sure you keep your lower back from crunching on itself. Slowly bend your left knee bringing your left foot upto your left butt check. Reach around with your left hand and grab the top of your left foot. Inhale, as you exhale, pushing out your left foot into your left hand, slowly tip forward. Inhale lifting your right hand up and out in font of you.
If the above is too much you can begin standing next to a wall and using it for support. So instead of bring your right hand up in front of you, use it to anchor yourself to the wall. You can also prep for this pose by just bring your foot to your butt and holding it there while holding on to a chair or the wall to gather strength..
Only go as deep as feels right to you. Stay for five breaths. Inhale coming back to standing. Exhale releasing the bind. Inhale and bring your foot out in front with your arms and hands making a T. Exhale releasing all the way back down to mountain pose.
Repeat on the right.
This pose is not recommended for anyone with low blood pressure. If the balance is too much even with the wall, visit the preparation for tree pose first to get a good sense of balance. Once tree is handled with ease, try natarajasana again.
Keep your gaze forward during this pose and avoid looking down. Not only will this throw off your balance, but looking down could potentially cause harm.
There are not many counter poses for balancing asanas. I do find that after doing a number of standing poses, doing as many seated poses helps to balance out my energies. I have also found mixing locust, or Salabhasana, or bow pose, or Dhanura-asana, and bridge pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, and Urdhva Dhanurasana into a flow after natarajasana fully opens up the body and balances the energies.