Yoga is full of fun and exciting poses, however much of what we see as “yoga” online gets blended with acrobatics and contortion. This is why I like to say that my yoga is for “regular people”. For example, I don’t do headstands or handstands in any of my classes. I often will encourage people to actually do LESS because that’s when we feel MORE. Case in point is in this dancers pose tutorial. A challenging balance yoga pose.
Google dancers pose, and you see people holding their back with both hands, arms lifted over their heads. Usually on a beach at sunrise, but I digress. In reality, most people nowadays can barely hold onto their foot in a quad stretch. So I’m going to lead you through how to do dancers pose, with modifications using a wall or chair, strap variations. Plus some tips and tricks.
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Dancers Pose Tutorial
Begin standing in tadasana. Feet hip distance apart. You may already know that your balance sucks, if so use a wall or chair for support. Bend your left knee and bring your foot to your bum. Can you hold your foot? Sock? Pant leg? Draw your bent left knee slightly behind the standing right knee, coming into hip extension. Push the left foot into your hand, arching the back. Option to tip slightly forward.
Think less about pulling your foot away with the hand and more about pushing the foot into the hand. This will create more of the backbend in the pose. Leaning forward bring us more into standing bow pose so keep the chest up as much as possible. As you do both sides notice:
- Where do you feel resistance?
- On which side is your balance better?
- Do you feel more comfortable in general standing on the right or left?
- Can you reach and grab one foot but not the other?
- Is hip extension easier on one side?
- Which side can you reach the leg back further?
- Does one shoulder feel more open?
Dancers Pose Modifications
The first obviously challenging thing about this pose is that you’re standing on one leg. So balance in this dance pose tutorial needs addressing. If balance is your nemesis then use props. Below left I have one hand on the wall. Below right I have the support of a chair. Both perfectly valid modifications for balance.
It is much better to use props, than wobble around and get irritated. Being in your practice means being where you are today. There are many days I use a wall for support in dancers’ pose or tree, or many balance poses. It’s much better to explore the pose as a practice than struggling to seek perfection.
Dancers pose with Strap
For those that struggle to grab the foot use props! If you have a yoga strap then use that. You could also use a belt, a tie, a towel or dog leash to wrap around the ankle and act as an extension of the arm.
If your goal is to eventually reach the arms overhead and grab the foot then work with a variation of the strap shown below. In the video I explain the steps to coming into this position through hip extension with the strap.
Yoga is a practice. There are no quick fixes, or “10 days to the splits” because that isn’t yoga! Be in your body TODAY. Be on your mat at this moment. Honor what you CAN do, and modify what you can’t.
Tips & Tricks
As many of us spend more and more time sitting dancers’ pose can be challenging so give yourself ample warm-up in the back, hips and shoulders. Ways you can improve your dancers pose could be:
- Use props as outlined above
- Releasing the hip flexor and quads
- Working on other balance poses like tree or warrior 3
- Looking forward rather than at the floor.
- Embracing backbends!!!
- Improving shoulder mobility
- Work on other asymmetrical backbends (eg: half bow pose)
Instead of getting caught up in how a pose looks, experience how it actually feels! The sensation of all the stability muscles working in the standing leg. Opening through the front body. Enjoying the backbend.
Want more yoga?
If you’re looking for normal yoga for real bodies then consider joining my Patreon. Each month I release two yoga classes exclusively for my Patreon community. Other ways to find more yoga with me are signing up for my 7-day yoga challenge, or subscribing to my YouTube channel.
- Can you hold your foot in a basic quad stretch?
- How is your balance different right vs left?
- Do you use props in your yoga practice?