Natarajasana – also known as King Dancer, Dancing Shiva, or Lord of the Dance – is an amazing yoga pose that helps us deal with one of our most fundamental fears: the fear of change. Its power lies in challenging us to use faith to confront two fearful actions: the action of balancing and the action of opening our heart.
Shiva is a Hindu God who plays the cosmic role of the Lord of the Dance. With a drum in one hand and the dancing flame of enlightenment in the other, the Dancing Shiva crushes ignorance and extinguishes the poison that separates us from the divine source of life. Shiva slowly beats his drum to usher in the destruction of one age in order to allow for the birth of the next. He is an equally beautiful and terrifying image. It teaches us that destruction is part of creation, and death is part of life. Rather than resist, we learn to surrender, to find our center and open our heart to change.
To practice Natarajasana, first find your center in Mountain Pose. Plant one foot, then bend your other knee to lift your foot behind you. Hitchhike your thumb back and grab the inside of your foot or your big toe. Lift your other arm by your ear like a graceful dancer. Press your foot into your hand and allow the isometric force to move your body. Your leg will naturally begin to rise. Breathe deeply and lift up your torso a little more. Feel your chest muscles release so that your heart can open. If you fall out of the pose, try again. Remember to spend the same amount of time on each side. Bravo!
Images: “104 King Dancer / Dancing Shiva” coloring by Michele Palumbo, Bay Shore, NY. From Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big Little Coloring Book of 108 Poses. Picture of Yoga Teddy Bear creator K. Mae Copham practicing Natarajasana by Robert Oakley.