NATARAJASANA - King of Dancer

dancer-pose-courney The name comes from the Sanskrit words nata meaning "dancer", raja meaning "king", and asana meaning "posture".

From in Tadasana, shift your weight to the left leg. Exhale bend your right knee and bring the right foot to the buttock, and hold the outside of your right foot with the right hand. Engage your left thigh and knee to make the standing leg strong. Keep the torso upright, the chest open and draw the pubic bone to the navel to keep length in the lower back. Now on an inhale pushing the right foot back into the hand, raising the leg so the thigh bone ends up parallel to the floor and the lower leg in a right angle with the thigh bone and vertical with the floor. Lift your left arm up in front of you, parallel to the floor or a little higher next to the ear. Hold for 5-10 breaths. On an exhale-breath release the leg back down to the floor. Repeat for the other side.

This asana strengthens the legs through balance. It is a full body stretch which engages the shoulders, chest and abdomen while strengthening the thigh and calf muscles, knees and ankles, hips and spine.