Namaste Yoga 117 Beginner Yoga Dancer Pose

by Melissa West on February 2, 2012

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Namaste-Yoga-Episode-117:In today’s beginner yoga class we will go step by step through opening your body up to dancer pose or natarajasana. This pose is particularly important in our culture because we spend a lot of time sitting in chairs and hunched over our computers, cell phones, personal devices, tablets, reading, driving and eating. This creates a rounded, hunched over posture, a c-curve in our spine, and tight hip flexors at the front of our hips.

This class will open up your chest with gentle backbends and stretch out the front of your hips with gentle hip openers. I will lead you through simple step by step, gradual yoga movements and postures to help you slowly and gently open your body. I will give you lots of instructions and cues on how to listen to your own body and be your own best teacher. I will give you several modifications and lots of cues for alignments throughout the class.

I recently asked beginners what their biggest obstacle to learning yoga was and a number of people responded, balance. Natarajasana or Dancer pose is a balancing pose and so it is a great pose to develop your balance. Balance is one of the five components of physical fitness (along with strength, cardiovascular, endurance and flexibility) and so it is something that you must train, just like a muscle. This class will allow you to train your balance with natarajasana pose or dancer pose. By training your balance you will benefit your neuromuscular coordination which means you will improve the communication between your brain and your muscle – which for those of you who are interested in neuroplasticity is an important thing.

Another big benefit to this class is that it will reduce anxiety and stress. A good portion of this beginner yoga class is spent lying on your stomach. You will find lying on your stomach will relieve tension, anxiety and stress. The yoga postures that you do on your stomach to open up your hips and chest will not only strengthen your back and stretch your hips but will also relax and calm you.

Today’s yoga class is designed for the absolute beginner. You can do this class if you have never done a yoga class before in your life. I will give you slow, easy to follow, step-by-step instructions and tell you exactly how to get in and out of each and every pose. Detailed instructions will be given for even the most basic poses and how to breathe. You will be given lots of cues of how to pay attention to your body and where to feel the effects of the yoga poses. You do not have to be athletic, flexible, strong, balanced, skinny or coordinated to do this class. The slow, step-by-step instructions will give you the confidence to let go of your self-judgment and stay focused with commitment and motivation.

Props Needed:  wall, yoga strap (or belt or bathrobe tie), folded blanket

Yoga Postures/Asanas: guided relaxation, knee sways or windshield wiper legs, quad stretch on stomach, locust, child’s pose or balasana, cobra pose or bhujangasana, half bow pose or dhanurasana, cat pose or marjaryasana, thread the needle, lunge pose or anjaneyasana, downward facing dog or adho mukha svanasana,  standing side bend or ardha chandrasana, standing quad stretch, dancer pose or natarajasana, uttanasana or standing forward fold, marichyasana, savasana or corpse pose

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Today’s question to answer in the comments is: How do you feel after this class?

If you would like more support for your yoga practice and a savasana, particularly because this class doesn’t have one, we have several savasana or guided relaxation videos on our membership site.

I have one that is 45 minutes long and uses the soft foam roller from our Postures and Pranayama section

This savasana will provide you with a long integration to do at the end of any yoga class. We will discuss the benefits of savasana and contraindications especially for pregnancy and back issues. I will give guidelines for savasana for each of the Ayurvedic constitutions, including the length of time vattas, pittas and kaphas should be practicing savasana as well as how they should prop for savasana. We will go over a short connective tissue sequence before savasana so that you are able to lie with more ease. Traditional Chinese Medicine connection to the organ and emotions are given as well as moon phases, Gods and Goddesses, and quotes from related to the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita. This class ends with a long archetypal story related to savasana to deepen your connection to the meaning of savasana.

We also have 4 short guided savasanas in our short video section that are all around 10 minutes long:

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