Three Reasons Why Every Dancer Should Practice Yoga
As dancers we are always looking for ways to improve our practice, strength, and flexibility. What if there was a way to improve all of these, while becoming a better person and finding balance in your life? This is the magic of yoga and why every dancer should take at least one class a week. Don’t believe me? Check out these three reasons why yoga is great for dancers!
Increased Flexibility and Strength
Yoga allows dancers to tap into new or different muscle groups to unlock a greater range of motion and strength. Many of the inversion poses challenge dancers to focus on their core muscles, which translate into higher battements and holding your turns for longer. Likewise, many of the twists wring out the back muscles, that might not get as much attention in class as they should. Additionally, the use of props such as yoga blocks and straps allow dancers to healthly stretch their muscles while focusing on their form, so as to not jam or force flexibility.
Creating Intention & Awareness
The slow and reflective nature of yoga allows dancers to draw more attention to their movement and understand how the body and breath move together. Many times in class we are focused on the finish line and forget to breathe or the purpose behind our movement. In yoga, every movement builds on itself and is very deliberate. This allows dancers to better understand which muscles they should be using, correct any habits, and find purpose in their movement.
When you step on the mat, you are in a no judgement zone. Yoga challenges you to look inwardly to find your inner peace by encouraging you to relax, breath, and focus on the now. During your practice, your yogi will encourage you to explore how your body is feeling and find your personal edge. Your personal edge can vary depending on how your body is feeling or your mindset (whether you’re feeling stressed, happy, or lethargic).
As dancers, sometimes we have a hard time listening to our body cues and instead push ourselves past our personal edges. This in turn can hurt our bodies and our minds. Yoga teaches you listen to your body and identify when you need to sit in child’s pose a little longer or go a little deeper in chair pose. This practice can be translated into dance class. Instead of jamming your flexibility, maybe your body tells you it needs a gentle stretch, or maybe today you go for an extra turn since your core feels really strong.
Aside from these three benefits for taking yoga, yoga has many other benefits including health benefits, increased mindfulness, and reduced stress. So what do you think, will you be working yoga into your dance training?