Because the positions of the dance of shiva are clearly defined, it's easy for your brain (and your consciousness) to hold on to these patterns and store them. What can make the positions even more memorably is feeling your shoulders, elbows and hands while you do them.
In most dance of shiva positions you can focus on reaching your shoulder blades away from your spine, reaching your elbows away from your shoulders (so that you upper arms feel "long") and making your fingers feel long also.
So that your arms have a solid base, you can also focus on making your neck long (pull your head back and up) and expand your ribcage, (front, sides and back.)
You can work towards making your whole body feel long or open while doing shivanata positions and movements. But prior to that you can focus on learning the positions.
The starting posture for learning the first four dance of shiva positions is
The first part of moving into nearly all positions is spreading the shoulder blades. From there, allow the movement to ripple out through the elbows and then the hands.
Since positions are the same for both hands, also focus on making both sides feel the same.
Use one arm, say your right, as the reference position and adjust your left arm to match your right. (or vice versa.)
When adjusting your body, making it symetrical, you may find it easier if you focus on one element at a time. So for example, start by making your shoulders feel the same. Then adjust your elbows, then your arms.
This can be an iterative process. Work towards symmetry gradually. Do the best that you can.
For all positions, start in neutral, arms by your sides.
Repeat that position 5 times and then move on to the next position.
In the first four positions both hands are horizontal
Hands are horizontal with fingers pointing either outwards or inwards.
For position 1-1 the elbows are bent with hands at about eye height.
Make your elbows feel strong and make your fingers feel long.
Position 2-2 can feel like you are elbowing someone to the side of you. As with Dance of Shiva positin 1-1, make your elbows feeel strong. Squeeze them at the front and back.
In position 3-3 the elbows are slightly bent. Roll the top of your shoulders fowards and roll your forearms inwards at the elbow joint. Flatten your palms and straighten your fingers as much as possible.
Position 4-4 can also feel like you are elbowing someone to the side of you. Hands at forehead height, you may find it feels more comfortably to lift your shoulders slightly. Make your neck feel long and your fingers long also.
In the next four dance of shiva positions both palms face vertical outwards. Finger point either forwards or backwards.
In position a-a thrust your arms straight ahead. Hands are at shoulder height and can be shoulder width or closer. For ease of viewing my hands are shoulder width in the picture. You may want o vary this depending on feel.
Although you can't see it, the elbows point out in this position. (Compare with position c-c below.)
In position b-b the elbows point forwards as much as possible. The fingers point back towards the sternum. It can help if you move your shoulders forwards in this position.
In dance of shiva position c-c the hands again are forwards but the elbows point downwards, and even slightly inwards. To make this position easier to differentiate from position a-a I've positioned my arms slightly lower. Note that it can be quite challenging to get the palms to face outwards in this position. Do the best that you can.
In position d-d, the arms are back.
Try lifting your shoulders a little and then focus on moving them back. Move your shoulder blades towards each other.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
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These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Sensational yoga poses, lessons to help you enjoy the experience of your body.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
These seated yoga poses have been organized into a rough routine and include lotus, virasana, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
Sensational Yoga ebooks and videos are designed to help you experience your body while focusing on specific poses, actions or parts of the body.
Extreme stability teaches you how to work from the ground up when creating stability, whether you are doing poses on your hands or your feet (or some combination of both).
The working towards wheel pose ebook teaches you basic body first so that you can feel and control your spine, hips and shoulders, so that working towards difficult poses (in this case wheel pose) is easier.
The Muscle control for better flexibility ebook teaches you simple muscle activation techniques that can make it easier to improve your flexibility. Techniques focus on forward and back bending the hips but can be applied to other movements also.
Building up on the material for part 1, Yoga for Beginners 2 teaches you how to make your body stable for a slightly different experience of your hips and shoulders.
Video: This set of simple hip control exercises help you to stabilize the hip joint and control it. You may find these exercises help you improve hamstring and hip flexor strength and flexibility.
One approach to learning yoga is to simply practice yoga poses. The approach in Yoga For Beginners 1 is to help you to learn to feel your body while doing yoga poses.
Some of the exercises in Balance Basics includes learning to balance on the fronts of your feet as well as on one foot using weight shifting exercises. It also includes exercises for crow pose. I've included videos based on the balanace exercises in the book on this page.