How Yoga Helps Dancers

In article for Dance Advance, Grier Cooper discusses why yoga is a popular choice for dancers wanting to improve themselves. She states:

Whether you are looking to build strength, improve flexibility and balance, or just recalibrate your brainwaves to a more relaxed state, yoga has a lot to offer dancers. By learning to align your body, mind and spirit on the mat you will bring your best self to your dance.

Increased body awareness

The slower pace of a yoga class allows for greater precision. Taking time to fine tune the details of proper alignment leads to a strong foundation. Moving slowly and deliberately allows greater opportunity to notice and correct movements.

Increased strength and flexibility

Many of the standing poses in yoga develop the same muscles that are used for dance movements. Other poses build strength in areas that are often overlooked. Most dancers have certain tight areas and can choose poses and stretches to help.

Linking breath to movement

Many dancers don’t control their breath to help power movements, whereas yoga focuses on breath control – lengthening the inhale and exhale and maintaining a slow, steady  breath. Learning to link breath to movement helps you harness the energy of breath and use it to your advantage.

Health benefits

Yoga works on a subtle level, such as:

  • spinal twists put gentle pressure on the internal organs, which has a detoxifying effect on the body.
  • handstands and headstands reverse the blood flow which redistribute blood throughout the body, and improve circulation. This clears and calms the mind and may help with a healthier heart and lungs.
  • regular yoga improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and IQ scores.

Peace of mind

Yoga encourages relaxation, slowing breath, and focusing on the present.  This shifts the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight part of the brain) to the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming and restorative part of the brain), therefore lowering the heart rate and decreasing blood pressure.


Full article – How Yoga Can Help You Become a Better Dancer for Dance Advantage.

Other Cross Training ideas for Dancers


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