Yoga and dance have a lot in common. If you’re a dancer, there’s a good chance you would love yoga, if you haven’t already tried it.
I first started dance in middle and high school when I joined dance (or as we called it “poms”). From the start I loved and connected with dance. It was competitive, fun and I was on the squad with some of my best friends.
During college I discovered yoga. It came naturally since I was used to stretching and moving my body in dance. A college roommate of mine had a Rodney Yee DVD that I would practice in the basement of our townhouse sophomore year. Coincidentally three of my roommates that year were on the UW-Madison dance team, yew!
Practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home is a great way to start. It can be intimidating to go to an organized class if you don’t feel comfortable with the foundation of an exercise. I felt more comfortable branching out to studios once I had the fundamentals down at home.
Now I practice yoga at least once a week in a grassy park overlooking the ocean in San Diego, California. I prefer to be outside while exercising so it’s absolutely perfect! I am no longer part of an organized dance team, but I’ve found a lot of similarities between the two activities – both of which I love!
5 Reasons to Love Both Yoga and Dance
- Increasing Flexibility
In dance, stretches are held for long periods of time to increase flexibility over time. Dancers are expected to kick high, do the splits, dip, turn and spin their way through routines. In much of the same way, yoga increases flexibility by holding and repeating poses during flows.
- Captivating Routines
Dance routines are short and action-packed and usually paired with music. Every second of the song is choreographed, layering various movements of the dancers to complement one another. Yoga is a little different in that the routines are much slower and may or may not be accompanied by music. You will often be led by an instructor when you’re first beginning. Over time you will be able to connect your own flows.
- Group Movement
In group dance routines every dancer is imperative to the overall performance. Each movement is choreographed so dancers move in eloquent synchronicity. If one move is off or body part out-of-place, the group will not look uniform.
In yoga you move much of the same way. Everyone is following the instructor’s directions, moving in unison. The biggest difference in yoga is that you can alter postures to meet your skill level. And at any time you need a break you can go into child’s pose and join the group later in the practice. There’s just something about group movement that motivates and inspires me.
- Building Muscle Strength
There’s no question both yoga and dance help define and tone muscles. Using your own body weight combined with constant movement and flexibility your strength will increase over time.
- Moving Your Body
Finally, both sports are based on the movement of your own body. It’s one of the things I love most about the two activities. You can practice yoga or dance practically anywhere since all you need is you!
If you are in yoga or dance, I would love to know what you’re currently working on. Please leave a comment below to let me know!
My current yoga goal: Inversions – headstands, handstands.
(photo via Flickr)