Natya Yoga

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Natya Yoga Mean?

Natya yoga is the name given to a type of yoga that combines yoga and dance-like movements as a spiritual practice. It has similarities to Hatha yoga, but it has a different approach in that it also integrates elements of dance and mime, rather than static asanas.

Natya yoga is an integral yoga: it enlightens the yogi on the levels of his/her body, mind and spirit. Its fundamental spiritual text is the “Natya Shastra,” an abridged written version of the “Natya Veda,” which was said to have been synthesized into the four main Vedas.

Natya yoga also has connections with ancient forms of classical Indian dance theater.


Yogapedia Explains Natya Yoga

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.

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