Lord of the Dance, or Dancer Pose, is a graceful and powerful pose.
I love this pose because of the strong backbend that targets each side of your back. In this respect, you can isolate the left side backbend and the right side backbend. It strengthens and compresses the low back, opens the chest, tones the core, and can be a great active quad stretch. Because of the focus on opening the front of the body in Dancer, it's great to pair with forward folding and twisting.
Trouble balancing? Grab a wall.
Trouble catching your foot? Grab a strap or tie.
Try out these Dancer variations!
1. Find mountain pose with legs grounded. Then, strongly lift from your quads.
2. Bend the right knee while not to dropping all your weight into your left leg. Stay centered.
3. As you grab ahold of your right foot with your right hand, find a gazing point on the floor.
4. To get a quad stretch, point your knee to the ground by tucking the tailbone. Then, press your hips forward and bring the heel close to your glute.
5. Progress by reaching forward with your left hand. Finally, press your foot into your hand to lift the foot away from the glutes.
Typically, I can find a deeper backbend here than in the standing variation. Then, the key is placing the supporting hand towards the edge of the mat to counterbalance.
Lying Dancer with a twist
While in a spinal twist with knees to the right, reach back for your bottom leg (right). Also called Cat Pulling Tail pose, it's a great way to finish your series of Dancer variations. Also, it provides a great quad stretch and twist.
Dancer on the wall
If your balance is shaky, try Dancer with the wall. Two ways to do this: reaching forward to touch the wall (pictured) or standing beside the wall for balance. If you're using the wall in front of you, it can be difficult to judge how much space to give yourself between the standing leg and the wall. Usually 2-3 feet works. If you are standing beside the wall, position your body beside the same side as your standing leg (i.e. have your right side facing the wall if your standing on your right leg). For balance, use the wall as you reach forward.
Dancer with the strap
Create a loop with your strap or tie. First, start by placing the strap over your shoulder to get a stretch through the quad. Then, progress by reaching your arms overhead. Finally, inch your hands closer to the foot to increase the backbend.