Yoga 4 Dancers
Flexibility . Balance . Confidence
Yoga 4 Dancers is a program designed specifically with young dancers in mind. Dancers of all kinds, whether it's modern to hip hop, ballet to ballroom, rely on flexibility, balance and confidence. They all need to emote self expression, possess incredible stamina, and keep nerves at bay. Yoga, the practice of building a healthy body and calming the mind, is the perfect compliment to your dance classes.
Classes focus on maximizing flexibility, increasing strength and stability, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises and injury rehabilitation. Kids yoga classes should be fun and engaging. Although the program's main focus is specific to a dancer's needs, it remains faithful to OM Kids original program that allows kids to engage in thoughtful discussions, community and team building skills, focus games, kid friendly meditations and partner work.
Why dancers should practice YOGA
Dancer's need flexibility! Yoga can open tight areas while maximizing the length in muscles that are already flexible. Whether you have tight hips and hamstrings, an inflexible back, or a weak core, yoga will give you an outlet to safely and effectively increase your flexibility. Yoga poses deliberately focus on a few muscles at a time, allowing them to open as much as possible, stretching and lengthening slowly without sudden and jolting movements that can cause tears and pulled muscles.
Increased Strength & Stability
Dancers lacking upper body power can turn to yoga for a safe way to gradually build strength in both the larger and smaller muscles. Yoga is amazing for strengthening the core and upper body, areas that tend to be weak in children. For the dancer, strengthening these areas is essential for arm movements and lifting. Balancing asanas are wonderful for increasing the stability of the standing leg. This in turn leads to stronger, more sustained, and better controlled turns and jumps. Also, over time and a consistent practice, stamina is created; this is beneficial to the dancer's body for overall performance endurance.
Healthy Joints & Alignment
Healthy joints are a dancer's number one priority, and yoga is a wonderful way to cross train, without running or aerobics, which both tend to put a lot of pressure on the joints. Yoga. at it's moderated pace is the perfect balance of cardio and strength training, and most importantly minimizes joint damage. Yoga also promotes consistent, proper alignment through the spine and the entire body, which can be of critical importance to dancers. Those who find themselves uneven or “one sided” can safely and slowly correct their alignment in their practice, working towards a posture that is both correct and natural.
Proper breathing is seldom taught to dancers. Yoga teaches the student to breathe correctly, by utilizing the diaphragm to breathe in and out without disturbing the alignment of the spine and ribs. This technique, performed properly, increases core stability and strengthens the abdominal muscles—which may be all you need to fix those splayed ribs and crooked pirouettes. In addition the benefits of breathing deeply on the nervous system are tremendous. Deep breathing calms the mind, helps kids focus and can help to relieve stress, anxiety and nerves.
Yoga is a wonderful way to transition from an injury. The poses can be easily modified to protect and strengthen weakened areas, as well as stabilize the muscles so as to protect them from future injury and vulnerability. Also, strengthening the smaller “stabilizing” muscles such as the abdominals and hip flexors can prevent dancers from long term joint damage that often doesn’t show itself until later years.
Decompressing, Stress Relief & Peace of Mind
Between classes, rehearsals, and performances, it’s all too easy to become overworked and overwhelmed. Perfect technique is standard in the dance world, making yoga the perfect balance, as it promotes non competitiveness, peace of mind and a stress free environment for the dancer. Working through challenging poses at your own pace allows students the time to unwind from the pressures and stress of trying to be perfect, while still providing incredible physical benefits. Yoga can also be a "pick me up" between long rehearsals or help to provide mental calm before important performances. Yoga also help students find their own place of tranquility and inner peace - a place that can accessed during the most challenging poses or dance steps.
Focus & Concentration
Dancers have to be on their game all of the time, whether just rehearsing or performing in front of an audience. Yoga, quite simply, teaches us how to train our minds from wandering, thinking negative thoughts, and losing focus. By coordinating movement with breath, the student's ability to control their own thoughts and attention will develop organically. There are many yoga poses, especially the balance poses, that are great for helping kids focus and be in the moment.
Only when a dancer possesses self-confidence do extraordinary things happen. Yoga helps release stress by clearing out all the clutter in your mind, which can lead to negative thoughts and depression. When students can learn to let go, deal with their stress, and accept themselves for all their possibilities as well as their limitations, their self-confidence and self-esteem will increase.