Yoga and dance are one in the same. Technically they are completely different things. One is an art form, the other is an ancient discipline derived from India. However, at their very core, they are more similar than they are different.
Being a former dancer, dance BA/MFA and yoga teacher myself, I have always wondered why there are so many dancers that are yoga teachers as well. Was it just because of the physicality that both share, or because the yoga asanas comes easily to dancers due to their physical strength, flexibility, and agility? I assumed those were the main reasons that draw so many dancers towards a life of teaching yoga. Then it dawned on me that there’s more to it than that.
Perhaps the physicality of the yoga asanas are what initially draws dancers towards it, but what makes them stay? I then came to the conclusion that there are more connections between the two that are unspoken. There had to be more to say of their connectedness than simply physicality and convenience.
Here is what I came to discover:
Yoga and dance both…
In both yoga and dance, you need to have discipline. As dancers, discipline is ingrained into us at a young age. Then when we come to take our first yoga class, we already have the discipline needed to stick with the poses. We have the mental and physical ability to discover the true benefit of the postures, whereas others who aren’t coming from a dance background have to “work harder” to achieve that discipline within themselves. We already have it. It’s familiar to us and we already know how to do it, which takes away an extra step that discourages many others from maintaining a yoga practice of their own.
Connect mind, body, and spirit
In yoga, we work to develop a stronger connection between mind, body, and spirit. In dance, that connection is often an oversight because a lot of dancers focus mainly on achieving certain levels of physical strength and flexibility in order to perform the required movements (especially in ballet). However, the artistic nature of dance, the original intent and the form that it has taken with the rise of modern and contemporary dance, have a very strong connection to the spirit as well. There is no way a dancer would be able to perform with the necessary emotions required by a choreographer’s piece if she or he weren’t connected to their spirit. When a dancer performs a choreographic work, she or he has to activate their mind to remember the choreography, their bodies to execute the movement, and their spirit to express the appropriate emotions that the piece requires. Just as in yoga, there is a definitive connection between the mind, body, and spirit that is far more important than just physical strength and flexibility.
Give you more insight into yourself
Along with the natural connection between mind, body, and spirit in both yoga and dance, there also comes a natural discovery of oneself. More often than not, yoga and dance bring out emotions within ourselves that we didn’t even know were there. They both allow you to feel more connected with your true self, and ultimately gain more insight into who you really are.
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I am honored to have the opportunity to work through “The Yoga For Dancers System” by Christina D'Arrigo! I’ve been following the ChriskaYoga YouTube channel and various blogs by Christina, so I thought I knew what to expect; but I was thoroughly blown away by how well-structured the system is!
The system included lectures, guided practice videos, and bonus materials broken down into sections to support the dancer in various ways. Like all of Christina’s videos and blogs, the language she used is easily accessible even to those not that familiar with the “yoga lingo”. This is not to say the system is in lack of yoga facts and terms, on the contrary, quite a few were introduced. As Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” I am 100% convinced that Christina understands the material well by how effortless she seemed both through her writing and through her voice.
I especially appreciated the clarity in Christina’s videos. The sound quality was amazing that if I weren’t looking at the videos visually, I can almost forget that it’s a video but instructions given to me right at the moment (for someone that used to record audio books, I know firsthand how difficult this is). Christina used efficient instructions to cue the necessary alignments without over instructing. I felt perfectly safe and supported with enough space to explore my own body. As a yoga teacher myself, I did not feel the need to watch Christina’s gorgeous demonstrations; but it’s nice to know that the demos are there should I ever need a visual.
Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised that meditation was included in the system. It is a misconception that all dancers came to yoga for the physical practice. By including meditation, especially the one on confidence building in the bonus material, I knew Christina is one that understands the struggles of a dancer (not that I ever had any doubt)!
Although this system was originally created for dancers, I feel it can be beneficial for anyone looking to start or deepen their yoga practice. One can relate to the “dance” part with any other sport or even a hard day without losing the benefits of yoga! Of course, you dancers out there, this is a perfect system directly designed to enrich your career! Enjoy your “The Yoga For Dancer System”!
Joan Liu completed 500hr yoga teacher training through YogaWorks and is grateful to have the opportunity to share her yoga journey through teaching, writing, and connecting with people. Joan is also a professional dancer based in New York City currently dancing with Aries in Flight, Gwen Rakotovao Company, Pink Pig Ballet among other projects. Her love for teaching led her to complete her master degree in Dance Education through the collaborated program between New York University and American Ballet Theatre. Joan is especially interested in exploring the mind-body relationship to encourage the growth of the whole being.
Girl On Yoga is a blog about yoga, lifestyle, and healthy / mindful living. If you have any questions that you'd like answered on the blog, submit them here.
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