Lord of the Dance Pose aka Dancer’s Pose
Image of Maggie Anderson @ Moonstone Beach, Matunick, RI taken by Donald Anderson IV
Dancers Pose is an amazing balance pose with a nice back bend. To warm up to this pose, it’s helpful to practice a few back bends, such as Half Bow and counter poses, such as Eagle Pose. As you flow remember to hold your focus and connect with your breath. Practicing this awesome yoga pose stretches the shoulders, chest, thighs, groins and abdomen. It also strengthens the legs and ankles, as well as improves balance.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), inhale, shift your weight into your left foot. Bend your right knee, lifting your right heel behind you. Pull the left knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong.
There are two variations you might try here with your arms and hands. In either case, try to keep your torso relatively upright. The first is to reach back with your right hand and grab the outside or inside of your right foot or ankle. To avoid compression in your lower back, actively lift your pubis toward your navel, and at the same time, press your tailbone toward the floor. Push your hips forward.
Begin to lift your right foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the right thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your left arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor. I like to take mudra hands; index finger to thumb for this pose. As you lower your upper body, you lift your leg back. There is a push pull action here – hand into foot, foot into hand. Feel the polarity here. Focus on something that not moving. Breathe deeply. If you feel any cramping here, try to keep your raised foot flexed until your body, feet, thighs and legs get used to you practicing this position.
The second, more challenging, option with the hands is to sweep your right hand around behind your back and catch hold of the inner left foot. Then sweep the left hand back and grab the outside of the left foot. This variation will challenge your balance even more. Then raise the thigh as described above. This second variation will increase the lift of your chest and the stretch of your shoulders.
To take this to the next, most challenging, variation of this pose: Turn your left arm actively outward (so the palm faces away from the side of the torso), bend the elbow, and grip the outside of the left foot. (You can also grab the big toe with the first two fingers and the thumb.) The fingers will cross the top of the foot, the thumb will press against the sole. Inhale, lift the right leg up, and bring the thigh parallel to the floor. As you do this, rotate the right shoulder in such a way that the bent elbow swings around and up, so that it points toward the ceiling. It requires extreme flexibility to externally rotate and flex the shoulder joint in this way. Reach the left arm straight forward, in front of the torso and parallel to the floor. This variation should only be practice when you feel confident and more at ease in the other two variations.
Stay in the pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Then release the grasp on the foot, place the right foot back onto the floor, and repeat for the same length of time on the other side. Come back into Tadasana and then flow forward into a forward fold.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
A possible contraindication here is low blood pressure. Listen to your body and modify wherever and whenever you need to.
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