Do you yoga? So how could a Sun salutation flow or a downward dog belong to a world of twirling and leaping?
Nowadays, there many ways of helping dancers build more strength for dancing---cross-training. Going to the gym, pilates may be a few but yoga is also on the list but may sometimes be left out of the cross-training conversation because one of the commonly emphasized benefits of yoga is flexibility—something ballet dancers have.
But did you know that yoga has a lot of benefits for dancers?
Here are some!
Increasing body awareness
In ballet, focusing on position and alignment is one of the most important things but thanks to yoga, this takes it one step further.
Practising yoga teaches you to build each pose from the ground creating a strong foundation, and at the same time, it stacks the joints for greater stability and power.
By moving slowly and deliberately this allows more opportunity to notice and correct habits that might create issues over time.
Not only does it increase flexibility, but also strength.
Standing poses in yoga develop the same muscles that are used for developpés, battements, and jumps, while other poses build strength in areas that are often overlooked.
For example, balancing poses have direct application in centre floor and backbends and back strengthening poses that help develop that killer arabesque and help you do a calmer adagio.
Bonding breathing and moving together
Dancing can be very strenuous that sometimes there is too much tension in our bodies we forget to breathe.
Learning to link breathing and movements together make dancers look more “organic” as they dance.
This helps harness the energy of breath and use it to your advantage, which is especially helpful during challenging combinations like big jumps or long adagio sequences where you need extra power and stability.
Whether it is to build strength, improve flexibility and balance, or just recalibrate your brainwaves to a more relaxed state, yoga has a lot to offer dancers. By learning to align your body, mind and spirit on the mat you will bring your best self as you go on stage.
As ballet being driven by the pursuit of perfection, learn to find your peace of mind and focus on your breath through yoga. This does not only make you a stronger dancer but a more confident one as well.
So why are you waiting for? Roll out that yoga mat, and start focusing on your breath.