Natarajasana is a glorious heart-opening backbend, but it is first and foremost an asymmetrical standing balance pose. In order to arrive at the pose’s graceful dynamism, you’ll need the integrity of a strong and stable foundation in the standing foot, leg, and hip.
Virabhadrasana III involves placing the full weight of the extended upper body on one hip joint (which is contraindicated for students with weakness in the supporting musculature, trochanteric bursitis, or other hip issues). To come into the pose, start in crescent pose with the right foot forward and the left heel off the floor. Then hinge at the hips to bring the torso forward to a 45-degree angle; bring the hands on the hips or let the arms come alongside the body to help center the weight over the standing leg. Lightly spring forward to bring the weight of the body fully onto just the right foot. At first keep the right knee bent, slowly extending it to feel your way into stability without straining in the hamstrings, knee, or hip of the standing leg. Eventually the pelvis rotates forward 90 degrees, the left leg extends straight back with the knee and toes pointing down, and the torso extends forward. Finally bring the arms alongside the ears. Explore on both sides, holding for up to one minute.