Nataraj is a beautiful and proud pose that enables you to create a lively expression with an open heart and strong core. Challenging and expansive, working towards mastering this pose is complex and detailed. Michelle leads us through the steps to do so.

Beginning in child’s pose, Michelle sinks you deep into the relaxation encouraging your ujayi breath. Drawing the breath deep in through the nose and wrapping the throat around the breath to create a harmonious and deep connection enables us to sink into the poses and move towards the fullest expression of royal dancer.

Warming up through cat cow pose, she directs us into cobra and back towards cat cow to wake up and lubricate the spine.

Back to the knees, we move towards camel to open the heart and throat chakra, and to do a deep stretch in the back. Placing hands on sitting bones, or if more flexible reaching back towards the heels, holding the chin in and focus on arching upper back so as to not dunk too far backwards. Shoulder blades come together and sternum lifts, before we break back onto the heels. This backbend is integrative and enables us to move more actively into the back.

In downward facing dog, Michelle reminds us to soften ribs, lengthen through sit bones and pull out through the armpits. Breaking it down and prepping us for deep awareness to stand strong and firm in royal dancer.

Nataraj is a complex pose. Finding stability in stillness, there are several key points to be aware of to stick the pose. Keep hips level, don’t let lifting leg open up. Keep pelvis neutral. Lengthen tailbone down so that you don’t overextend the low back. Frontal points lift, gently kick foot back keeping hips level to establish boundary.

Work on safety of pose instead of going super deep. Cat tilt with the pelvis reaching the tailbone down. This position is the embodiment of grace, by being slow and deliberate with your movement, you make it beautiful by bringing awareness to the intricacy of it.

Finally we sit and squat in malasana for back release and to lengthen the lower back. Gently opening knees with the arms and honoring your back for its flexibility, legs for stability and heart for being open to something new.

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