or, as it’s more formally known, Lord of the Dance Pose. I mean, that just sounds graceful. Excuse me, while I slip causally into Lord of the Dance Pose. I feel much more balanced just typing that… but beyond sounding impressive, why is it that we love Dancer’s Pose so much? Part of the reason is that there is certainly an inherent grace built into the pose – you can’t just flop into Dancer, like you can with some yoga poses. The transition into Dancer is requires mindfulness and focus, and the nature of the pose demands a very precise level of balance. It is a physical form put to total balance – balance on the standing leg, but also balance between the two different outstretching sides of the body, balance in the core, and balance in the gaze, breath, and mind.
Physically, the pose offers some truly incredible benefits – it provides an intense stretch for the thighs, groin, and abdomen, as well as the shoulders, chest, and legs. It tones the thigh and calf muscles, while increases ankle strength and stretching your hip flexors. It is an incredible chest and lung opener, while also strengthening the back body. But most importantly, Dancer is a pose that calls upon a steady breath and steady balance. It is a pose that harmonizes every aspect of the body and the mind.
A crucial element to maintaining Dancer’s Pose is to have strong and stretched hip adductors, the muscles in the inner groin and inner thighs. These are what help keep the pelvis steady and balanced in poses like this, and weak hip adductors can result in too much strain on the lower back. A great way to strengthen your hip adductors, and therefore get a more balanced and beautiful Dancer Pose is t0 fold regularly into Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle Pose.
thanks to the lovely Suzie Blackman, the latest and greatest on the Winston-Salem yoga scene, for this beautiful Dancer’s Pose.
ardha chandrasana, or more commonly known as balancing half moon, is one of our favorite poses to pop into during practice, and with good reason! Physically, this pose is a challenging one, as your entire body has to be properly aligned and engaged, but it is also a welcome mental challenge, as is any act of balance, both in yoga and in life. Balancing poses require a perfect harmony of breath and concentration, a very clear sense of presence within your body and a full awareness of what is surrounding and grounding you, and this pose is no exception – in my opinion, it requires a much greater sense of presence than some traditional leg balances, because your body is in an entirely unusual and unfamiliar alignment.
Aside from promoting an excellent awareness, balancing half moon pose has a whole host of other amazing benefits for your body: it strengthens your entire leg, ankles and knees included, as well as your core and buttocks. It also works to open up your chest, shoulders, and torso, and spine WHILE stretching your hamstrings and calves (to all you runners, take note…)! Additionally, because the heart is higher than the head in this pose, you get a little taste of those inversion benefits that we all know and love, such as stress and fatigue relief. Lastly, this is a phenomenal pose to take if your digestive system needs a little bit of love.
Now that you’re all loving good old ardha chandrasana as much as you should be, here are a few final thoughts on the pose, to ensure that you’re not in any way hurting your body while trying to reap all of these fabulous benefits: make sure to keep your core engaged in this pose (as in most poses) and your pelvic floor drawn in, so as to avoid any pain in your lower back. If you’re feeling any neck pain in this pose, make sure to keep your head level and try to look straight forward. As with everything, use a block or other modification to make sure that you’re giving your body all of the love that it deserves!
many thanks to the beautiful Lindsey from Paz Sudios for rocking a snowy half moon for us!