Many dancers supplement their training with alternative practices, such as yoga. Alternative training methods help dancers on their way to becoming better and stronger dancers, and yoga provides many benefits for dancers. No matter where you,are in your dance journey, it’s never too late to start yoga!
Yoga provides increased peace of mind and body awareness, a greater extent of that usually achieved in terms of posture and alignment in normal dance classes. Yoga moves at a slower pace generally, so there is time for being mindful of the body and the positions it is moving into. The correct alignment that is consequently achieved creates a strong foundation for the body, giving way to greater stability and power when moving.
Many dancers naturally have a flexibility and strength gained through their usual dance classes. However, yoga works to increase that strength and flexibility in different ways. Many of the standing yoga poses develop the same muscles that are used in ballet classes, and often upper body strength is increased too. Although many dancers can look even abnormally flexible, yoga helps tights areas that all dancers have, through poses that focus on unlocking those areas for a greater range of movement.
Yoga has many other health benefits; stretches are held for longer periods so dancers find they have better flexibility results and are then less prone to injury. It lowers the heart rate and decreases blood pressure, as well as linking breathing to movement to help achieve more. Handstands and headstands improve circulation by redistributing blood throughout the body: as a result this helps the mind feel clearer and calmer.
All yoga’s benefits can be applied to dance, whether you are looking to build strength, improve flexibility and balance, or just gain a more relaxed state of mind to take back to dance class!