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Dance and Yoga: How The Two Benefit Each Other

Happy Friday, dancers and welcome back to From The Top! Today we are going to be discussing one of my favorite subjects and that is yoga! As you all may or may not know, I am a huge yogi and have been practicing yoga for years now. And though yoga has benefited me in many areas of my day to day life, I have also found that has benefited me immensely as a dancer on top of everything else. This is really not hard to believe, as yoga has been linked to the dance world on many different occasions. Yoga has even become a source of cross-training for ballet. But why is that exactly? What makes yoga so beneficial that it has earned a spot in the hearts of dancers across the globe? Well, that is exactly the question that we will be answering today! In this post, we’ll be listing off just some of the amazing benefits that yoga has to offer in your dance journey, as well as our favorite yoga moves and their benefits. So, grab your mat, my friends! Let’s get started!

Yoga Benefit #1

You Gain Flexibility On Another Level

It may go without saying that yoga will take your flexibility game to the next level, almost immediately. But tapping into yoga flexibility is very different from the norm of what we are used to as dancers. In my personal experience, though I have been dancing for years, when I started yoga I felt like a complete beginner when it came to flexibility. You see, yoga opens up the world of flexibility in a new way by targeting muscles that you probably don’t even know you have! Which makes for greater flexibility not only to excel in your yoga practice, but also in your skillset as a dancer. Just when I thought my kicks couldn’t get any higher, boy did they! And don’t even get me started on middle splits. By adding yoga to your dance training, you really give your body the extra push that you may be looking for to up your game! 

Yoga Benefit #2

Builds Strength

Another great benefit of yoga is the amount of strength it builds over time. Yoga challenges you across the board and targets key areas of the body. It teaches you how to use your body as an instrument to your practice, which is very reminiscent of dance in and of itself. From your core to your quads, every yoga position puts your body in motion and the holding of these positions is what builds up your body’s durability. If you’re looking for a fitness routine that will support gaining lean muscle instead of  bulk muscle, yoga is the way to go. It also increases your ability to balance in positions that will challenge you for a long amount of time, which is a skillset that dancers need on the mat and off. With genre parallels like these, no wonder yoga is a must have class in some ballet companies!

Yoga Benefit #3

Teaches You Resilience With Patience

Now we are about to get into one of my favorite aspects of yoga and that is the personal growth in mindset that it teaches. Yoga is a practice that goes way beyond fitness. Yoga is both a challenge and a teacher. It throws things your way that seems like it is out of your reach and teaches you how to have the self belief to conquer it. Though yoga positions can be challenging, one of the main mental practices put in place is the ability to find comfort in the discomfort and patience in where you are. I think this is a beautiful mindset to take on as dancers because we are constantly working on a goal. Striving to master a move, or do something better. But sometimes we can focus so much on meeting a certain goal that it can be discouraging when we don’t accomplish what we want in the amount of time that we want. However, a little patience with ourselves goes a long way. And just like in yoga, with time and practice, you will accomplish what you set out to do and have ease when doing it. All you have to do is put your mind in the right place, and the body will surely follow.

Now let’s get to the fun part! Let’s talk about a few of our favorite positions and stretches that we think you should try as you start or continue your yoga journey.

  1. Happy Baby Pose – Beneficial for hip flexibility.
  2. Downward Facing Dog – Benefits upper and lower back flexibility, as well as upper back, bicep and tricep strength.
  3. Malasan (Garland Pose) – Deep hip stretch. Great for middle split training.
  4. Side plank – Benefits transverse abdominals. Great for building core strength for turns.
  5. Tree Posture – Beneficial for attaining better balance.
  6. Upwards Facing Dog – Benefits lower back flexibility.
  7. Eagle Pose – Great for improving balance and building quadricep strength.
  8. Warrior III – Improves balance. Great for arabesque improvement.
  9. One Legged Downward Facing Dog – Increases lower back flexibility. Perfect for penches.
  10. Dancer’s Pose – Balance and focus. This pose has a great name too. 😉

We appreciate you stopping by and hanging out with us on this lovely Friday! We hope this post inspired you to take up your yoga practice if you’ve been on the fence about starting. What’s your favorite yoga pose? Let us know in the comments below! As always, we wish you a wonderful weekend, filled with love and light, and remember…

Keep dancing!

Lexi

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