Yoga for DANCERS

  • Tips for dancers on how Yog practices can help them enjoy and excel.

Regular yoga practice including pranayama, meditation and asanas can improve our experience as dancers. I enjoy practicing Indian Classical dances Kathak and Bharatanatyam for fun at the tender age of 55 (42? Ha ha).

 

This article focuses on a few simple yoga practices to enhance the following benefits: a straight spine, balance, stamina, flexibility, footwork and calves ease and conditioning, mental clarity and excellent memory for dance routines.

 

As joyous dancers, high ideals with deliberate and creative thinking results in better feelings, “divine timing” and excellent memory. Regular yoga including pranayama, relaxation, asana and meditation produces this state. Savasana is recommended between poses and other practices as needed. A yoga mat is helpful, but a clean floor, towel, carpet, beach or open grass is also good.

 

For a straight spine, good balance and strengthening footwork, Tadasana is recommended. Stand up straight with your arms relaxed by your side. As you inhale, lift up on the balls of your feet (not toes) and raise your hands in Namaste position on top of your head. Come down, exhaling, to initial position. Repeat three times.

 

Leg raises. Lie on your back. As you inhale, lift one leg up maximum 90 degrees. Keep both legs straight. Exhale as you lower the leg. Repeat on other side. Then do double leg raises up to six times. This strengths your core muscles.

 

For stamina, Surya Namaskara - Sun Salutation is a graceful sequence of twelve positions performed as one continuous exercise. Each position counteracts the one before, stretching the body in a different way and alternately expanding and contracting the chest to regulate the breathing. Practised daily, it brings great flexibility to spine and joints and keeps the waist trim. It limbers up the whole body in preparation for the asanas and dance.

 

Half spinal twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana and twisting downward side bend is suggested for additional range of motion of spine for dancers.

 

Additional balance poses of Tree pose. Nataraja pose is fun also.

 

Pranayama – Kapalabhati 40 rounds

 

Pranayama – Anuloma Viloma – Alternate Nostril Breathing 4-16-8. Five rounds

 

Relaxation- Savasana

 

Yoga is great fun in general and especially for dancers who want to perform regularly and retain their youthful sparkle and charm at all ages.

 

For mental clarity and improved memory, daily morning meditation is good. So - HUM meditation is described below. Or use your mantra if you have been initiated into one, or use Om.

 

The meditation steps are – 

 

Sit comfortably, where you will not be disturbed, and close your eyes.

 

Take a slow deep breath through your nose while thinking the word So Exhale slowly through your nose while thinking the word Hum.

 

Continue breathing easily, silently repeating, “So . . . Hum . . .” with each inflow and outflow of your breath. Fix your attention on the point between the eyebrows (third eye) or heart chakra. 

 

Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in your environment, or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath and your focal point, silently repeating “So . . . Hum.” 

 

Continue this process for twenty minutes with an attitude of effortlessness and simplicity.

 

When the time is up, continue to sit with your eyes closed for a few more minutes before resuming your daily activity.

 

Yoga is great fun in general and especially for dancers who like performing with joy, ease and lightness.

 

Author was born in India and lives in Ontario, Canada. She is an Artist, Writer, Classical Hatha Yoga Teacher, Classical Indian Musician & Dancer, Sanskrit Scholar, Reiki Master, Nature Lover, and retired Engineer who enjoys Kathak and Bharatanatyam to express joy and retain  sparkle.

 

To read all articles by author

 

Also read

1 Photos of Yoga Asanas with instructions and benefits

2 Essence of Pranayama by Dr Shrikrishna

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