Dance is an incredibly important part of my life, as is yoga, so I always enjoy reading about other people who relate dance and yoga. The following excerpt is from a Dance Advantage by professional dancers and choreographers Erin Cella and Ashleigh Penrod, who are also yoga teachers. Dancer or not, yoga will take you deeper into the joy of movement.
Read the full article here
Yoga and the Dancer’s Body
Ashleigh suggests that yoga, as it has been integrated into Western culture, is a wonderful cross-training method for dancers because we often have imbalances in our bodies due to performance-specific training.
“People tend to fall somewhere between a spectrum of stability and mobility. The incredibly stable people tend to have strong, tight muscles, so while their joints may be protected from injury, they can experience quite a bit of pain – their tight muscles restrict range of motion and put pressure on the skeleton. On the other end of the spectrum are the “Gumby” people – they have the flexibility to bend, twist and contort their bodies, but they’re extra injury-prone, because they don’t have the muscle tone to support their motion. Yoga postures can bring everyone towards the center of this spectrum – encouraging the strong people to become more mobile and the flexible people to support themselves.”
Erin and Ashleigh have both found that yoga has helped them “untrain” some bad dance habits. Although not a substitute for regular dance classes to prepare for rehearsals and performance, having a regular yoga practice is a method dancers can use for cross-training.
“Yoga provides me with a movement practice without strings attached, which has proven to be essential as a professional performer,” says Erin. “I can practice movement linked with breath and presence, but without the added layer of a choreographer, peer, and/or audience watching.”
Training the body and the mind
Dance is a holistic experience – engaging the body, the mind, and the spirit. Erin observes that yoga is a complement to dance in this way as a cross-training method for not only the body, but for the dancer’s mental and emotional sides. “Because of yoga’s effect on my mind and overall feeling-state (it’s given me confidence and contentment with my dancing body), it’s transformed into a method of finding presence while moving, as opposed to just a training routine.”
Try one of my warm vinyasa flow classes for a combination of movement and music