Yoga and Dance

Everybody knows that when you want to become a very good or professional ballroom dancer, you must practice quite a lot. Probably your days and hours are jammed tight with trying to do that. But if ever it occurred to you that maybe you would like to elongate and strengthen muscles while gaining more endurance, in a serene environment, I’ve got the thing for you! I’m talking about yoga. A sport, so to speak, that has been practiced for thousands of years. Yoga simply means breathing while applying simple concentration technique and adding specific bodily postures.

It is essential for a dancer to become strong but did you ever think that increasing your body awareness can do that too? In yoga practice just like in dance, position and alignment are important but in yoga practice, you have time to check your position. There is no rush to get the timing  perfect.  That is why it is called yoga “practice,” we are always striving to become one with our physical, mental and spiritual body.  You are always considered a work in progress. The strength comes from building a strong foundation and to learn how to stack joints for greater mobility. That’s a big secret that dancers could definitely use!

It is a known fact that all athletes, especially dancers, are flexible. However, we all have areas that are tighter and less giving in our bodies. In yoga practice, you can work on those areas and through time, one can unlock greater range of motion. In yoga practice, stretching is done slowly and held longer to create space to open up the structure of the internal body and in doing so; we may find we are less prone to injury.

Breathing is so essential for our survival, yet we take it for granted. In yoga practice, we learn to breathe to aid in helping us get into our desired positions better. When we learn to use breathing “in and out” technique with movement, it creates a flow of energy that can give dancers more power in picking up our partners, jumps, backbends and many other large gestures and movement. If timing is everything, then learning to breathe properly while dancing, can be the perfect focus to better self-awareness, less injury and the first prize on the dance floor!

Over time it has been said that yoga practice helps the brain relax and makes us feel calmer. For dancers, it can improve coordination, reaction time and of course, give us greater movement while doing our dances. It can even help with sadness, depression, anger and taking ourselves too seriously.

So if you are looking for an addition to your dance routine, and want a change of pace, or you need to unwind, get on that yoga mat, do some downward dog stretching, and tell me if that doesn’t feel good.  And hey, maybe your dance partner will go with you!

Happy dancing,

Thought Of The Week:

No man is free who is not master of himself – Epictetus



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website