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Natyashastra the originating source of all classical dances in India, details out body postures, neck movements, eye movements, hand movements or mudras etc. Today I want to talk about the various kinds of standing postures a Bharatnatyam dancer has to learn. I like my students to learn these and be conversant in it as soon they have learnt the basic Addavus and mudras. My senior disciples are supposed know the shlokas by heart.

Standing with the feet together is samapaadam, and placing the hands on the hip is called Sthanaka Mandala. This is further divided into 6 sthanaka Bhedas – sama padam, eka padam, nagabandham, aindram, garuda and bramha.

Their usages are as follows:

  • Samapadam: the shloka says “ Sthitih samaabhyaam paadaabhyaam samapaadamiti smritam, Pushpanjalou deva rope sama padam niyujyate”
    It means when the feet are placed together, standing straight, it is called sama paadam. It is used to depict the offering of pushpanjali and to show deva roopa or the role and stance of different gods.
  • Ekapada: The shloka says “ Jaanwaasritya paadaikena sthitih syaadekapaadam, Ekapaadam twidam sthaanam nishchale tapasi sthitam”
    It means standing on one leg and placing the other foot across the knee of the first leg obliquely. It is used to show motionless or static position and tapasya or practice of penance.
  • Nagabandham: The shloka says “ Paadam paadena samveshtya tatha paanim cha paninaa, sthitih syaat nagabandhakhya naagabandhe prayujyate “
    It means standing with one leg twisted over the other leg, and one hand twisted over the other hand. It is used to denote nagabandha or snakes.
  • Aindram: The shloka says “ Paadamekam samaakuncya sthitwaa- anya paada jaanuni, Uttaanite karam nyasya sthitih aindra mitiritam, Vaasave raajabhaave cha sthaanamaindram niyujyate”
    It means standing on one bent leg, raise the other leg so as to bring the foot to the knee, with both hands dropped to dola hasta on both sides. It is used to show Lord Indra and a king.
  • Garuda: The shloka says “AAlidhamandale paschaadatha jaanutalam bhuvi, sansthaapya paaniyugmena vahan viralamandalam, sthitistu garuda sthanam garude viniyujyate”.
    It means standing in alidha mandalam, then placing one knee on the ground while the two hands are held forming a circle. It is used to denote Garuda vaahan of lord Vishnu.
  • Bramha: The shloka says “Jaanupari padam nyasya padasyopari jaanu cha, Sthitam yadi bhavet brahmam japaadishu niyujyate”.
    It means to sit in padmasana, with both feet placed on opposite knees. It is used to denote japam (repeated muttering of mantras).

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