The Lord of the Dance

Many of us are familiar with the traditional song, The Lord of the Dance. As a former liturgical musician many years ago, I played and sang this song many times:

I danced in the morning when the world was young
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun

I came down from heaven and I danced on earth

at Bethlehem I had my birth

Dance, dance, wherever you may be

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he

And I lead you all, wherever you may be

And I lead you all, wherever you may be

As I reflected on this song, I began to think of Shiva, of the Hindu trinity, in his form of Nataraja, which has always captivated me. He too, is considered the Lord of the Dance.

Nataraja (King of the Dance) is a manifestation of Shiva, in his dancing posture where he performs a divine dance as part of his duties of creation and destruction. In order for us to give birth to something new, we must destroy or let go of the old. I think of Shiva as a deity who ultimately brings hope and is the catalyst enabling the phoenix to arise out of the ashes.

In Anusara Yoga we commonly begin classes with an Invocation to dedicate our practice. This translation of the chant used in the Anusara community was given to me by a dear friend:

OM Namah Shivaya Gurave
I bow to the goodness within myself,
the Divine Light that is Shiva,
who is the one True Teacher

Saccidananda Murtaye

Taking on the form of my highest Truth,
Consciousness, and Bliss

Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Always present and full of Peace

Niralambaya Tejese
Completely free, illuminating all with Divine Light

The practice of yoga is also, like walking the labyrinth, a meditation in motion - it is a dance that we offer to the Divine as we bring our bodies, minds, and souls into greater alignment. And the Invocation reminds us that we are always one with the Divine.


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