Natya yoga is said to not be of human origin, but rather a divine practice which was revealed originally to enlightened rishis through their meditations. It combines nritta (dance movements) and natya (mime movements).
The combination of nritta and natya is sometimes called nrithya. As well as dance and mime, Natya yoga may include attaining some trance-like states. It may also use elements of Hatha yoga, such as the bandhas and the breath.
Natya yoga has been performed and taught throughout history by temple dancers and sages. It is considered a beautiful art form as well as a spiritual practice. Today, it is taught in conventional Odissi and Bharatnatyam dance schools.
A natya yogi, or yoga dancer, masters 108 karanas
, which are units of dance where the step, gesture and attitude are perfectly coordinated. In doing so, the yogi is said to learn the intimate connections between their physical, mental and emotional bodies, helping them to elevate their consciousness.