Nata means dancer and raja is the word for lord or king. Shiva is the King of Dancers. This pose reveals Shiva’s attributes. Shiva represents transformation or change. He represents movement as in the process of creation, preservation and dissolution. He represents the dance of our lives, the changes, illnesses, relationships, the emotions, etc. Shiva is the divine dancer who animates the universe; he dances the cosmos into and out of existence. We can experience movement within Natarajasana. When we hold the hand to the foot we create a complete circle of birth, life and death. Through the dynamism of this pose, we experience expansion, growth, the ability to change to become open hearted, courageous and fearless. In this graceful, elegant pose we feel as though we’re dancing.
Shiva is also the deity of stillness, meditation, calmness, introspection and peace. Practicing this pose provides an opportunity to find the stillness within the motion. Because it’s such a challenging balance, one must cultivate a quiet and focused mind. In order to remain still and balanced we must be completely present.
Natarajasana is a balance between stillness and motion. The stillness speaks of peace and poise that lies within us all at the center. The intense motion is an intimation of the fury and ferocity, the vigor, which fills this universe. It’s the idea that in the middle of this wild dance of the universe we discover stillness. In the midst of his wild dance, Shiva’s head is balanced and still, his expression, calm and serene, he’s in perfect equipoise.
So, in this pose we stand strong and tall, balanced, poised and serene. Because it’s a standing pose, we become strong, increase our stamina, and learn alignment. The backbend expands our hearts and opens up to our true nature. It teaches us who we really are; it reminds us that we are Shiva.
text from jivamuktiyoga.com
photo by mosh benjamin