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Chakra Mandala Posture In Indian Classical Dance

Chakra mandala, or the wheeled body, is one of the postures in the Indian dance movement diction. The word chakra means a wheel or circularity, and mandala in this case, is the shape or position of the body. This position could be held in a freeze or used as a transition to punctuate a string of movement phrases.

Chakra mandala posture in Indian classical dance is one of the karanas (combined movement of hands, feet and body to form posture. They are 108 in number and have been found depicted in the form of stone carvings on the outer walls of the Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram.

In the Chakra mandala posture, the upper body is bend downwards and held between the two arms hanging straight down to the ground. The legs are spread wide apart, with knees bent into a near squat position and palms and hand resting under the feet. The back can either be rounded or positioned flat with the head held up and eyes focus straight ahead.

Though this posture is rarely used in the classical solo dance repertoire, one would be able to witness it in dance dramas used to depict the crouched position of monkeys or frogs, a character in a distressed mood or an acrobat positioning himself to perform a somersault. It is used in abhinaya (expressive dance) and nritta (pure dance). Martial artists of Kerala (Kalaripayattu) also use this position during body exercises.