INJURIES ASSOCIATED WITH ARABESQUE and DANCER (NATARAJASANA) POSE

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Recently, I received a YouTube question regarding how to correct the injuries associated with arabesque. I am posting my response here as well.

I think, unfortunately, the problems associated with arabesque are not so much a correction issue, but rather an overuse injury. The movements needed to execute arabesque are not therapeutic in nature. Therefore, we need to cross train to alleviate some of the negative impact of the movement. The same problems occur with the Yoga pose called “Dancer/Natarajasana.”

What I would suggest to counteract the repetitive wear and tear of performing an arabesque would be to stretch and strengthen the opposing muscle groups.

To execute the arabesque we must extend the trunk at the spinal joints, anteriorly tilt the pelvis, externally rotate the thigh at the hip joint, and rotate the trunk at the spinal joints.

Rotation of the trunk, especially combined with posterior or anterior tilt can cause irritation to spinal discs. Therefore, if you are in acute pain avoid rotation of the spine.

Here are some exercises you may try to stretch and strengthen these areas. 

• My first suggestion is to take a break from turn out and work in parallel sometimes. For instance, practice arabesque in a parallel position with a long back. This position elongates and strengthens the muscles of the trunk. Warrior Three Pose 

• Lie on your back and bring the knees to the chest. This puts the spine in a posterior tilt and stretches the lower back. Apanasana Pose

• To stretch the external rotators of the thigh/hip, in the same back lying position place your right foot on your left knee, grab the back of your left thigh, and gently pull the left leg back toward your chest. Eye of The Needle Pose

• Strengthening the back extensor muscles can help. Simply lie in a prone position and gently lift the chest off the ground. Cobra Pose

• Strengthening and stabilizing the abdominal muscles will also help. The Dying Bug and Sunbird exercises work well for abdominal strengthening and spinal stabilization.

For more therapeutic stretches see my book Yoga Practice Essentials

I hope that helps!

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