Yoga for Dancers

written by Lisa Luck

Yoga is important for dancers because it can help increase their flexibility, strength and balance. As a dancer, I know the importance of getting the full extension on both sides of the body. How embarrassing would it be if when you got on stage everyone else’s legs were higher than yours because you didn’t stretch out your hamstrings? Flexibility is the number one reason dancers take yoga. If their muscles are too tense and rigid, it’s going to show on stage. Ballet.isport.com expresses, “The methods used in yoga can open your tight areas while maximizing the length in muscles that are already flexible. Pretty much every style of yoga has a stretching pose for every part of the body, so whether you have tight hips, an inflexible back, or hamstrings that refuse to give you higher extension, yoga will give you an outlet to safely and effectively increase your flexibility.” Yoga can help a dancer’s movements become more fluid.

Even though dancers might look very petite and delicate on stage, don’t underestimate them. They have trained their bodies to be very strong. Every leg lift and motion with the arms needs to be controlled enough to stop on a dime. Just like dancing, yoga is very technical as well. Yoga is not only meant for stretching but also to improve your core and back strength. This helps dancers a lot because it will protect them from lower back pain or injury when they bend from the waist.

Whether a dancer is in Ballet flats or Pointe shoes, balancing is the hardest part of dancing. As a dancer trains, their body is used to only working in one specific way for the movement they are trying to accomplish; this doesn’t bode well for the rest of the body. If in their performance the dancer has to do eight left leg fan kicks, the right leg isn’t getting the exercise it needs as well. Muscles that are only used in one position can become tight and limit movement. Yoga can help because in every class, the body is stretched out on both sides and this can help to even the dancer out.

Dancing is a much practiced art and is hard to master. A dancers’ body is very muscular due to all the training it undergoes. With all of this muscle built on top of it, stretching out enough to get the full extension in a move can become hard. Yoga helps dancers improve their flexibility, strength, and balance for when they perform on stage. A dancer can benefit greatly from attending a few yoga sessions.

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HAC offers yoga of all types, and has special classes that focus on the abilities of youth. Contact Angie Craft at acraft@hachealthclub.com for more information.

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