Alignment Tips: Dancer Pose

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Dancer Pose, or Natarajasana in Sanskrit, is a backbend, heart-opener, and balancing pose all at once. It builds full-body strength and coordination and requires a hefty dose of determination. Dancer Pose also serves as a beautiful metaphor for life as it teaches us to kick out of the past and reach into the future while staying grounded in the present moment. Often with challenging balancing postures, our inclination is to hold our breath. Dancer Pose helps remind us of the importance to continue breathing despite the challenges we face, both on the yoga mat and in life. 

What are the benefits of this pose?

Dancer Pose offers a lot of bang for its proverbial buck. It helps strengthen the legs, improves balance and coordination, opens the entire front side of the body, and keeps the spine flexible. Regular practice of Dancer Pose helps to:

  • Strengthen the feet, ankles, legs, core, and back 
  • Open and stretches the chest, abdomen, hip flexors, psoas, and shoulders
  • Improve balance, focus, coordination, and concentration

Dancer Pose also helps cultivate core strength which, combined with improved balance and flexibility, may improve athletic performance. The deep front-body opening that Dancer Pose provides also serves as a great antidote to our sedentary, modern life. 

How to hold this pose

  • Begin in Mountain pose, standing at the top of your mat.
  • Shift your weight into your left leg, firming your left leg and glute for stability but not locking your knee.
  • Bend your right knee, bring your right foot toward your glute, and grab your right foot with your right hand. 
  • Keep your torso upright, your chest open, and lengthen your tailbone to create space in your lumbar (low) spine. 
  • Begin to kick your right foot back into your hand, raising your right leg so your thigh bone ends up parallel to the floor.
  • The kick is the engine of the posture so try and kick your hand away as you simultaneously pull your foot closer. 
  • Reach your left arm in front of you, parallel to the floor or a little higher next to your ear. 
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths as you continue to kick and reach with each breath.
  • Gently release and repeat on the other side. 

Don’t worry if you fall out of Dancer Pose, just jump right back in and remember, it’s a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect! Over time you will cultivate the patience, balance, flexibility, and strength to hold this posture for longer periods of time. Try it yourself in this Ohana replay class with Alyssa Manny.

Interested in learning more alignment tips? Grab our Alignment course that breaks down 19 of the most common postures for only $10.