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Ardhamandala in Bharatanatyam

Ardhamandala is the fundamental posture of Bharatanatyam. It is also known as Ayatam, Araimandi, Ukkaramandala, or the Half sitting posture. Pure Dance called Nritta involves frequent use of this posture.

In this posture, the performer assumes a half sitting position with the knees turned sideways, and the spine erect. The arms are either extended out or placed firmly on the waist. The dancer is here trying to achieve a series of triangles. The line joining the two shoulders may be conceived as the base of one triangle and the waist as the imaginary apex of an inverted triangle. From this apex a second triangle is conceived with the thighs, as the two sides and the line joining the two knees, as the base of this triangle. The third triangle is formed by the space covered by the two calves and the line joining the two knees. The arms reinforce this by forming other triangles on either side-the extended arm forming one side of the triangle and the line joining the hand to the knee suggesting the second side.

The Natyashastra says that in Ardhamandala, the distance between the head and the navel becomes equal to that between the earth and the navel.


  1. Meghna G

    Fabulous presentation. You deserve a huge round of applause. I wish you could hear that. Fantastic job. Waiting eagerly for Natta Adavu video. Thanks.

  2. Indynna

    hi, i am very happy to find this web site. I try by my self to dance. It make me increase my level. I am impatient to see naat adavus and the oters in video.

    When are you going to post them also in the site.
    thank you again.

    Indynna from France.

  3. Anjali

    Hi Indyana, Good to know this site is helping you and thanks a lot for your kind words. Yes I will be posting Natta Adavu video soon… stay tuned

  4. Vidya



    My daughter just now started the classes for Bharthanatyam and she is not getting this ardhamandala right.Her body moves forward
    and her teacher is making demoralising comments in front of all the children and my daughter comes home and cries.She wants to learn the dance but maybe she is scared of making a mistake and very very conscious and is doing it right.Any ideas and suggestions for my problem.


  5. Sangeetha.S

    Probably dancing in front of the mirror could help. When she looks at herself from the side in aramandi, she can identify her mistake and correct it on her own. The sooner it is corrected, the better .

    Before you point this mistake to her, tell her something good about her dancing too. For eg. her rhythm, her hastas, her smile etc.

    It might also helpif you tell her that no dancer started without being pulled up by the Guru for better araimandi. In fact if the Guru did not, others might point it out at a later stage and that can be too late.

  6. Mrudula

    Please accept Anjali from your virtual student.
    My sincere appreciation and awaiting more of your videos.

  7. rekha

    Hi Anjali,

    I am 30 years old and a very dedicated bharathanayam student. I have been learning for 4 years and presently learning a varnam. I notice that anytime I learn a new piece, I start getting knee pain. I think this is partly because I use my body in different ways and also I practise more rigorously in order to perfect the item. I practise for about 1 hour per day (5 days a week) and my class is usually 2 hours, 1 day a week. Is there any way to avoid knee pain in bharathanatyam…or do we just have to learn to live with it. I really want to practise hard and do very well but this knee pain is very discouraging. Do experienced dancers like yourself also get knee pain frequently? Thanks much in advance.

  8. Anjali

    Hi Rekha, I can understand how passionate you are. Knee pain is often seen among dancers, especially women. Me too. What I do is
    1. I donot practice at a stretch. I take regular breaks. Only once will be a full stretch practice.
    2. I do a mind practice of the song twice or thrice. Here I imagine myself doing the best. I strongly believe that its all up to the mind.
    3. Drink water during practice to avoid dehydration.
    4. Exerting on a step to make it perfect will only worsen the situation. Move on. RELAX. The more you work, the more straining it is. Just enjoy what ever you do. This approach has helped me overcome pain and improve stamina.
    5. Finally, you are free to modify any step as far as it in accordance with the Tala.
    Please consult a doctor if you feel there is something really wrong.

  9. Kavitha

    Can you please clarify something? I have learnt dance when I was small..I remember my teacher (Kalakshetra style) telling me that in Aramandalam, the distance between the two heels should be 3 fingers. Is this right? Can you please clarify?

  10. Anjali

    Yes, Kavitha a small gap is recommended in the Shastra. “Vitasy aantarito pado” is what it is called. Which means that the feet is separated by one vita space. So a 3 fingers gap is fine. Thanks for bring up this point.

  11. Ashima

    Hi Anjali,
    Thanks for offering this great opportunity to learn Bharatanatyam online. It really helps me! I have a question on Aradhmandala: I’ ve been dancing for quite a long time, but I still dont manage to stay in Aradhmandala posture for a long time. My former teacher said that I think too much about my Aradhmandala, thats why I feel the pain even more, but I still have problems. What do you recommend me to do?

    Hello Ashima,
    With practice you will soon overcome pain. I think your teacher is right. She knows you better. And thank you for the encouragement. Wish you all the best

  12. Rameenth

    Hi, I found this website through Google. I started learning Bhartanatyam from my 7th just to accompany my sister, but by the time I was in my diploma dance had became a part of me, close to my soul. Due to family situation, job and other reasons I had to stop dancing. It is 7 years I stopped dancing physically. But now, after going through your website I feel that I got my guru again. No words to spell out my gratitude, thanks

  13. nigamaa

    Re: half sitting posture frequent in nritta. An amazing similarity is found in the primer research book “Dancing at the dawn of Acriculture”, that covers some 10.000 yrs back in the mideast, shows this position on p. 33, Fig 2-4 Frequency of the basic body positions in dancing scenes = 27%= the most frequent position. see link for google books

    since this is an artificial position, perhaps one day scholars see this as a direct link to origins of a time, when as some think, dancing was the main source of education. There are indications that this goes back in cave culture some more 20.000 years to europe, where flutes were produced.

    Btw there is fantastic 30 min documentary online called “Apsaras” (and Gandharvas) about dance instruction from a guru in the zdf mediathek

  14. reena g

    Hi Anjali
    Wonderful website!
    I’ve just started to again relearn bharatanatyam, I used to do it when I was little, but I still cannot get my araimandi correct. In order to sit deeper I’m going forward and it looks that I’m staying on the half of my foot and not on the entire one. Could you please, give me some advises on how to perfect it? I know it will come with practice, but to help to achieve it would be great! thank you

  15. Anjali

    hey Reena, try making a wider “V” with your feet. Also you can keep two finger distance between the feet, this will help you go low. Thanks

  16. swathi

    hi Anjali, I am very happy to see your website. I am 22 yr girl I wish to learn the course but it couldn’t happen so long. After seeing your site my desire is being converted into action. Thank You so much for giving us this kind of opportunity. I never thought that I will be learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 22 . Can you suggest /send me some CD’s which will help me in my practices.
    Thank you once again Anjali for your good work.
    Keep going and motivate us:)

  17. devi

    Hi Anjali,
    I am 40 and starting to learn bharatnatyam, do you think it’s too late to learn?will my body cope with the steps and be graceful?
    I always wanted to learn this dance form, it’s like a dream coming true…but now i’m a bit anxious…i can’t even do my namaskar properly..any advice from you will really help.

  18. Anjali

    hey.. i realy want to learn classical dance..i learnt the basics wen i was really small n i hardly remember.. can u help me out..?? i want from the basics with videos

  19. Anupallavi

    Hi Anjali

    I started learning Bharatnatyam only a few months ago. My teacher insists on ardhamandala. I am suffering my leg pain everytime I do this. Any suggestions

  20. Anjali

    @Anupallavi, you might want to ensure that you pain is not knee pain. Muscle pains are common and will get better with more practice. Ardhamandala is a challenging posture and the most fundamental step in Bharatanatyam. All teachers will insist 🙂

  21. Jyoti

    Hello mam…
    i m jst lvin ur site..its really vry useful..i m vry passionate towards bhartanatyam but sumhow i cudnt mange doing regular practice.My frens and my teachers alwas motivates me to choose this as my profession but dnt knw wat to do but m really crazy fr bharatnatyam…pls do reply me..i really need ur help mam..
    thank u so vry mch…

  22. Ajeetha

    Hi Anjali,

    Thanks for your selfless effort to spread this artform. I have learnt this art for 8 years and after a gap of 20 years , started practicing again. Noticed that my knee was not supportive to do Mandi adavu’s. When I did my MRI, I was told that the cartilage lining my front knee bone (patella) has worn out 50% and they said that dance may be one of the reasons.

    I have also known of couple of dance teachers and performers who had to do Knee replacement or treatment for Knee injury.

    So much so that I consider this artform sacred, i wonder whether it may lead to chronic knee conditions. Is it true?

    Are there any particular stretches, or other tips that you can provide to avoid damages to knee while learning /practicing/performing this artform. Like whether wooden floor is better than concrete mosaic floor etc.


  23. Anjali

    @Ajeetha, Appreciate your for Kind words.There was a time in my life when I was getting back to dancing after a gap of 5yrs. Knee was a major issue then. With a regular walking regime I can say the discomfort almost disappeared. It been 7 yrs now and God bless things are much better. Knee problems are common as we age. And if you are getting back to dancing after years, then this could be an initial barrier. Make sure you do enough stretches and warm up before you start dancing. Start walking regularly for 30 to 45 min every day. You might want to take some Physio therapy and massage with some known Ayurveda centers.
    Flooring also matters. Try dancing on some sports mats,like you find in children play area and parks.
    I wish you good luck and keep dancing !!!!

  24. vasavi

    Thanks madam, its a wonderful site which can create an awareness and help people who are showing interest in bharatanatyam dance.

  25. Athi Parameswari.A

    Thanking u to the online classical deeance bharatham. I expected from ur website more classes about adavu. now i’m studying about classical dance in district music school so that class is vary from ur website class so pls declare which are the types of steps to adavu performence thank u have a good day i expect reply from ur side.

  26. bhuvana

    mam am 21 years old and i love bharathanatyam. but due to family resons am unable to learn it. now am very happy to learn it from your website. how long will it take to get my ardhamandala position right?? for a day how long should i practise?? how can i know whether am doing it right. please reply mam

  27. Durga

    Thank u for yr nice instructions and also post any songs u have performed with instructions once again thank u mam

  28. Veena

    Hi mam, is there a knee cap we can use while practicing bharathanatyam to avoid knee injuries. Please let me know. I am eagerly waiting for your reply.

  29. Ranjani Vedanthan

    I am reading a lot about knee pains. I have found that if I align my knees over my middle toes (opening wide enough), my thigh muscles develop correctly and knee pains are avoided.

    Anjali, you have given us a phenomenal resource. Thank you so much for your dedication and efforts!

  30. Ruchi

    Hi Anjali,

    Thank you for a very insiteful article. I have been dancing for 12 years. I had to stop in-between for almost five years due to University. When I go back now, I find that I get very tired and can’t sit in Aramandi for as long and properly as I used to. Do you have any tips on how I can build up my stamina again so that it is possible to do a proper Aramandi and keep doing the longer duration dances without going out of breathe in the first 5 minutes?

    Advice from anyone about this would be highly appreciated! I miss dancing so much!

  31. Shailaja Raghuprasad

    Am 59 and danced. Bharat natyam from age 8 to 25…i trained with prof CV CHANDRASHEKHARJI.I. Love it anx have begun practice again since last 5 years .
    I wanted to know if mosaic is ok? Because i do jot want to damage anything.
    I can dance the jatiswaram and my fitness levels are good as i have kept up exercise over the years.
    Please advise.

  32. Anjali

    Dear Ruchi, this happens to best of dancers too, if they are out of practice. Getting back to practice is the only way.

  33. BALRAM

    Good afternoon mam,
    This is Balram from Karimnagar Telangana state. My daughter Akshara age 8 years very intrested Bharatanatyam. So please suggest her. She dont know upto now. But she intrested in learning. So please suggest her and also suggest her Online cds.
    Thanking You mam

  34. Dhanya

    My daughter is 5 year old ,joined Bharatanaram classes 3 months back . Class is only once in a week , still she finds difficulty to maintain in aramandslam posture she has fat body , teacher says she has good sense of thalam but unable to maintain aramandalam posture , teacher says that better she stops for now and join next year, as she is too young to concentrate in practice , kindly advice whether we have to wait one more year to start to attain correct posture ..

  35. Ritcha

    I am 30+ and am yearning to learn Bharatnatyam since the age of 7. But no support from parents. Whenever I watch Bharatnatyam performance I am so enthralled and totally lost in the dance. I wish to learn dance online as I feel embarassed to join class at this age.

  36. Rekha


    Thank you so much for this platform. My daughter is 13 and very very passionate about dance. She does bharatnatyam. She is in varnam stage.

    Recently for an event she practiced hard and ended up hurting her knees. We are currently taking a break from dance and she is doing her physical therapy.

    Question for you is, ‘ is it common for bharatnatyam dancers to have knee pain’.

    I don’t want her to give up on this art form. What are the things she can do, so that when she gets back to bharatnatyam she does not I jure herself again.

  37. Anjali

    @Rekha, couple things to do before you start your dance practice is
    1. Warm-up
    2. stretches
    Spend 10 min before your class or practice to do your warmup. If you can identify certain weak areas that are easily hurt then you must also plan on strengthening those weak areas. Eg I have to work on my ankles or do some ankles exercises before I start. Do not compromise on warmups.

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