Yoga Posture Guide - The Lord of the Dance Pose (Nataraja-asana)

The Lord of the Dance Pose (Nataraja-asana)
/Courtesy
Can also be called King of the dance yoga pose

Translation of The King of the Dance Yoga Pose (Nataraja-asana)

The Sanskrit word nata means dancer and raja means king. Nataraja is another name for Shiva, the Lord of the Dance, whose cosmic dance is the creation and destruction of the world.
  • Pronunciation: nah-tah-raj-ah-sa-na 
  • Difficulty: (3) 
  • Level: Advanced

Health Benefits of the Lord of the Dance Pose (Nataraja-asana)


  • Develops concentration and balance
  • Tones and stretches the leg and hip muscles
  • Stretches the hip flexors
  • Strengthens the arch in the standing foot
  • Develops a range of motion in the shoulders
  • Expands the chest and front body
  • Strengthens the back body in a back bend
  • Great hip opener and balance enhancer
  • Improves mental focus and back flexibility
  • Sculpts arms and calves

Perform the King of the Dance Pose nataraja-asana gracefully as if dancing, yet firmly with focused attention. This posture helps to strengthen your sense of balance and concentration. The arch formed by the back and stretched leg gently aligns the vertebrae of the spine restoring suppleness and easing strain caused by poor posture or long periods of sitting. It tones the muscles of the hips and legs as well as stimulates the chest muscles.

Instructions for The King of the Dance Yoga Pose (Nataraja-asana)


  1. Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides (see the tad-asana). 
  2. Inhale and bend the right leg backward grasping the left foot with your left hand while simultaneously extending the right arm straight out in front. 
  3. Continue raising the right arm upward until it is about 45 degrees from the floor while lifting the left leg as high as possible with the left arm. 
  4. Hold the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils. Keep your gaze fixed slightly above the horizon. 
  5. Remain in the nataraja-asana for about one minute then return slowly to a standing position. Repeat by reversing directions 2-4. 

Duration/Repetitions: Begin by holding the nataraja-asana for about a minute and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable with this posture. Repeat it three times on each side, alternately from right to left. 

Cautions for the Lord of the Dance Pose (Nataraja-asana)


  • Shoulder injuries
  • Low blood pressure
  • This is an advanced posture

Variations to the Lord of the Dance Pose (Nataraja-asana)


  • If you can’t grab hold of your back foot, wrap a strap around your foot and hold the strap instead
  • If you are struggling with balance, use a wall for balance.

The King of the Dance Yoga Pose nataraja-asana Beginner's Tip


  • Many beginners, when lifting the leg, tend to cramp in the back of the thigh. Be sure to keep the ankle of the raised foot flexed; that is, draw the top of the foot toward the shin.
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