Today, April 29th is celebrated worldwide as International Dance Day! The goal of the “International Dance Day Message” is to celebrate Dance, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and bring people together through the common language of Dance. UNESCO leads the celebration in Paris and throughout the world.
Dancing is well and truly one of the finest expressions of the human body and spirit! There is of course a great connection between yoga and dancing in India.
Shiva who is venerated by yogis as Adiguru (the first teacher of yoga), is also adored by dancers as Nataraja (the Lord of dance). In fact it is said in lore that Shiva spent his time alternating between spells of mad dancing and still sitting!
For the modern dancer; whether it is Indian classical or Western classical dance or contemporary dances like Salsa, Tango, etc yoga has a lot to offer. Every dancer (including those who go out dancing every Saturday night!) appreciates having Flexibility in the body; as well as Strength, Balance and Stamina.
For professional dancers and dance enthusiasts; cross-training is very important to enhance fitness. And yoga offers the perfect cross-training options since it is easy on our body’s Joints. Body-alignment improves with Yoga and as the body is centered; Confidence is high through the movements. The other important benefit is that dancers can learn how to breathe during demanding pirouettes, adagio work and lifts. Also, injury is very much a part of a dancer’s life; and when this happens – yoga can help re-habilitate you. Finally, with so many dance competitions going around – dancers too feel the stress; so it’s important that they relax through yoga!
FLEXIBILITY of HIPS > BADAKONASANA (Bound Angle pose)
– Sit down with your knees bent and feet touching each other. Gradually relax and drop your knees towards the floor so that the groin muscles stretch. Breathe deeply and hold for 1 min.
FLEXIBILITY of HAMSTRINGS > PADOTTANASANA
– Stand straight with your legs apart and then drop your hands on the floor. Breathe deeply and let your hamstrings stretch out and hold for 1 min.
BALANCE > VRIKSHASANA (Tree Pose)
– Stand straight and raise one leg and place that foot on the inner side of the other thigh. Raise your hands and make a namaste while raising your rib-cage upwards and breathing deeply. Hold for 1 min and then repeat on the other leg.
STRENGTH of LOWER BODY > NATRAJASANA (Dancer pose)
– Stand with your legs spread apart and feet pointing outwards. Lower your hips so that your hands can touch the floor. Now raise your upper body and raise your hands to make a namaste; while breathing deeply. Hold for 1 min.
– 11 DEEP BREATH AWARENESS
Sit straight-backed and watch your breathing. After a minute start counting down 11 deep breaths. Relax deeply with each and every breath so that you can relax totally. (In case you lose your counting; start again from 11 breaths)
Enjoy Dancing! Enjoy Yoga!!