Yoga poses for dancers: Improve your strength and flexibility

    “You are only as young as your spine is flexible”- Joseph Pilates.

    However, the manifestation of the quote is possible if you understand the art of it. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you choose to lose weight, do stretches for back pain, or are keen to have a youthful glow, Yoga puts forth stunning outcome. The world of dancing is no exception. Few performers fail to understand that dance is not just about expressions but also about attaining suppleness, over a period of time. What is more fascinating, is that both of these arts share a tremendous sense of camaraderie, which dates back to the times of the ‘16th century lace’.

    Traditional forms of dance moves like that of Bharatnatyam or Ballerinas involve intense bend poses. Even the urban dance styles like Rumba and Salsa, calls for free muscle movements and a subtle flow of vigor. The moves and stretches can surprisingly add graceful valor to your moves and repel the chances of obvious cramps experienced after intense grind. You will experience less bone-cracking, hurting hip bones and excruciating pain, once you add certain stretches to the regime. Moreover, the benefits of Yoga for Dancers encompass a nurtured spine and a mind that refuses to stay in the state of oblivion.

    If you are an Amateur dancer, an enthusiast or a trained individual, you must foresee to add these Yogic moves to your regime, for an optimized experience.


    Correct breathing releases stalled negative energies within and frees your mind from the clouds of ambiguity. Pranayama, which splits into prana that means life force, and ayama or the negative form ayāma, which means extending or drawing out. An important research on the US National Library of Medicines indicated that both slow and fast modes of Pranayama encouraged divergent physiological effects. A dancer can obtain a boundless gush of therapeutic and excelling powers, which boosts their practice sessions and difficult moves. With correct breathing patterns, you are also assured of a composed mind, which is imperative to an intense practice. The different Pranayama techniques, you can learn as a Dancer:

    • Kapalbhati: For radiant skin, flat stomach, and a stronger back
    • Anulom-Vilom: Clears the nasal passage, instant mental gratification
    • Bhastrika Pranayama: Prepares you for rest of the intense breathing exercises by cleansing the respiratory systems
    • Digra Pranayama: Exterminates negative energies, reduce stress, and sabotages anxiety

    The techniques are easier to perform and prepare you to take on the trainings or practice sessions with ease.

    Yogic Moves

    Breathing sessions shall put you through an alchemical change and awakens you to newer energies. Here are best Yoga asanas for flexibility to keep that graceful mermaid moves. Keep in mind that these chosen ones don’t outweigh the importance of other moves.

    1. Bridge Pose or Wheel (Setu Bandhasana)

    Bridge Pose

    Technically, every single socket of your vertebrae can move on its own but some individuals have locks or fused bone sockets, which is a result of inactivity and sedentary lifestyle.

    What it does?

    The pose is a chance to perfect the back-bends for styles like SALSA and get that chiseled torso. A butt strengthening exercise, Bridge Pose opens up your spine and helps you achieve that perfect ‘C’ bend.

    How to do it?

    • Lie on your back, knees bend, something like a sitting position.
    • Take a deep breath in, suck in your glutes, and lift your back up
    • Make sure you don’t stress your neck. While you lift the upper body, look up in the sky and hold the breath for 5-10 seconds
    • As you exhale, come back to the original position, slowly.

    Who shouldn’t do it?

    Pregnant females, someone who has gone back surgery, hernia patient

    2. Mountain Pose (Tadasana Yoga)

    Mountain Pose

    We tend to ruin our natural stance with Smartphone addictions and sitting for hours with a neck hunch.

    What it does?

    1. A Yogic pose that lays the foundation for all standing postures, it helps with neck to body alignment and helps you attain mental steadiness.
    2. This pose will help you get rid of the wrong habit and enable improved spine health.

    How to do it?

    • Relax your muscles and stand straight with your feet wide apart, measuring the width of shoulders
    • Inhale and lift and spread your toes, finally releasing them on the mat or floor. You must feel the weight balanced between the fronts, back, and sides of the feet, evenly.
    • Lift the inner arches of your feet and while you lift the kneecaps, contracting the thighs in the up direction.
    • The chest is lifted towards the sky/ceiling, while you draw the shoulder heads.
    • The final posture must see the ears aligned over your shoulders and head balanced over the pelvis.
    • Chin is parallel to the mat.

    Who shouldn’t do it?

    1. Hernia Patients
    2. Individuals undergone, knee, back surgery or fracture of any sort

    3. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

    Camel Pose

    One of the most effective Hatha Yoga poses, which helps dancers with their back bend moves.

    What it does?

    The Pose calms the mind and enables a steady flow of blood throughout the body. While it opens the chest and stimulates the endocrine system, you get an enviable body and a beautiful facial glaze.

    How to do it?

    • On your knees, placing them hip width apart, now place the palms of the hands on the sacrum with the fingers pointing down.
    • Inhale and while pressing the knees down, reach out for the crown of the head up, thereby lengthening the spine.
    • Exhale and squeeze the buttocks and thighs for a complete body weight support. Arms support the body while you bend backwards.
    • Reach one hand down to the heel at a time, and if it feels safe drop the head back to let your center of gravity help.
    • As you hold heels with each hand, press the hips forward, and lift the chest towards the ceiling
    • End with the child pose to counter balance the back bend

    Who shouldn’t do it?

    • Women who are pregnant, menstruating
    • Someone who underwent; back, knee, surgery and has neck concerns like spondylitis.

    [su_note note_color=”#efefef”]Also read: The age-old science of Yoga and its effectiveness in increasing rate of pregnancy[/su_note]

    4. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

    Seated Twist

    The twisted poses awakens the dominant feminine energy, also known as kundalini shakti, as per Hindu Mythology. This energy is said to be coiled at the center of the spine in the form of a serpent.

    What It Does:

    The Yogic pose transforms the health of the spine, by increasing its rotation abilities, and powers up the erector spinae muscles. As a dancer, you shall receive greater benefits in order to get on with difficult dance postures, wherein a stable back helps the purpose. Seated Twist pose nourishes the internal organs and stretches the neck and shoulders.

    How to do it?

    • If you are a beginner and body feels stiff, then sit on a chair and perform the pose. Start with a warm up.
    • Both feet flat on the floor and knees facing forward
    • For right twist, hold the back of the chair with the right hand and place your left hand on the right knee
    • Slowly release back to center, exhaling and repeat the opposite side

    Who shouldn’t do it?

    • Someone who has underwent spinal, back pain or injury
    • Pregnant females

    Every single HATHA YOGA pose has something special to offer but the focal point remains the same, which is spine health. A dancer can reap a lot of benefits from incorporating yogic moves in to their daily sessions. These Yoga Poses for dancers shall add color to their regime and a means to attain a higher version of their self.

    Om Singh
    Om Singh
    Om Singh is blogging at Retreat Kula, a website that offers yoga retreats and yoga teacher training for yogis around the world.  He is always on the lookout for interesting places to visit.

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