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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