People today turn to yoga, dance, and other physical activities in order to improve their physical wellbeing. Dance, as yoga, helps individuals control their body weight, improve their psychological condition, and reduce anxiety levels.
However, from my personal experience as a ballet dancer with 20 years of training, dance can sometimes be painful for the body and actually increase the levels of anxiety. When I turned to yoga, I realized that every dancer, especially those at a professional level should try it.
1. Yoga Makes You Love Your Body
Dancers can sometimes be convinced that if they do not have the ideally thin body, they can never be successful. So as a result, they refuse to accept their natural body weight and put their health at the risk.
However, yoga teaches practitioners that they do not need to have a particular body shape (thin, short, tall, flexible etc.) in order to do yoga, because yoga is for everyone! Thus, dancers can learn to love their bodies every single minute of the day through yoga.
2. Yoga Connects You with Your Body
Dancing and competitive sports can negatively affect individuals’ body image and body satisfaction and lead them to unhealthy habits and behaviors, such as eating disorders.
Since yoga is not competitive, there is no wrong way to do it. It teaches individuals to listen their body (heart-rate, breathing, sensations, feelings).
In other words, yoga connects the mind, body, and spirit and can definitely teach dancers how to listen to and respect their bodies and physical needs.
3. Yoga Helps You Cope with Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling that every human being experiences when facing stressful and pressing situations, and can either be a state or a trait.
Dancers at a professional level have high levels of anxiety during a performance because of their determination to achieve their personal goals.
Yoga, through asanas and Pranayama (breathing techniques in yoga), develops concentration and focus, and fights stress levels at the same time. It also relaxes the mind and brings peacefulness. Thus, doing yoga before a performance could benefit dancers and reduce their anxiety levels.
I'm not saying that dance is not good for individuals. Undoubtedly, dance has a lot of benefits for individuals’ general well-being and mental health. Research has indicated that dance increases physical health, stamina, and mood, and increases confidence as well as creativity and critical thinking.
However, dance is a very competitive form of art, especially at a professional level, and could have a negative impact on some individuals.
All in all, yoga can definitely benefit dancers and help them increase their performance skills, while keeping up their levels of wellbeing.