Preparatory lord of the dance pose, also known as Lord Shiva’s pose or saral natarajasana in Sanskrit, is a joyful balancing pose that lengthens the muscles of the hips and thighs. It combines the vertical action of a standing balance with the horizontal action of a heart opener.
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Lord of the dance is a pose that looks graceful, but requires a lot of toughness to pull off. It strengthens a comprehensive list of the muscles in the shoulders, back, arms, hips, and legs and stretches the muscles in the hip and groin. The pose is great preparation for standing split, but it also stands on its own as one of the most quintessential yoga poses.
Named for the Lord Shiva in Hinduism, Shiva pose reflects the joy and playfulness of the “lord of the dance.” Lord Shiva is often depicted balancing atop the demon of ignorance – totally content, centered, even joyful despite the chaos under/around him. Lord of the dance is a strenuous pose, but, like Lord Shiva, it’s also carefree and fun.
Do not attempt lord of the dance pose if you:
- have a weak heart
- have high blood pressure
- have back problems
- have a peptic or duodenal ulcer
- have a hernia
- have colitis
- have vertigo
There are no conventional flows that include lord of the dance pose. Shiva pose can go pretty much anywhere. However, beginning a practice with preparatory poses that deepen backbends and a front splits and improve balance will also improve your lord of the dance.
Practice backbends like bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana) to warm up your back muscles. Lizard pose (utthan pristhasana) and pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana) will deepen your front split. Tree pose (vriksasana) and other simple standing balances will build balance.