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.