The Yin Yang of Yoga and Dance-and why it’s one of the best combos!

 

It’s funny when students who take my yoga classes, see me for the first time teaching Zumba. They are genuinely surprised, if not a bit shocked…LOL. I get all kinds of remarks from “it’s like watching another person” or “one would never think from your yoga class…”  It’s true, dance and yoga are my Yin Yang.  They balance each other perfectly.  They not only provide all of the necessary benefits to help keep your body healthy and fit.  They also provide emotional and spiritual health and well-being.  They are two-sides of the same coin.

Dance (the Yang), ignites your high energy, enthusiastic side.  It is the “language of the soul”.  While Yoga (the Yin) inspires beautiful focused movement which flows with breath.  It is the “poetry of the body”.  There is a lot of synergy between both practices. Both require focus and controlled breathing for stamina.  Both develop strength in our bodies.  Both help develop rhythm and coordination.  Both help us to be present, and most incredibly dance and yoga unites us, as we move as one to the beat and in the flow.

Dance, as a cardio based exercise, helps our body burn calories, however more important than that, it makes our heart pump faster, which helps to strengthens it.  The heart is one of the hardest working muscles in our body and perhaps the most important.  Cardio from dance also creates “the dancer’s high”, it’s a process in which the body releases endorphins, known as the body’s natural anti-depressant.  The natural euphoria helps heal your mind, body and spirit.

Yoga, is typically associated with flexibility, however there are greater benefits.  One important benefit which is often overlooked is “breathing”.  The focus on breathing throughout the practice is very important. In yoga, attention to breathing is used to helps focus the mind, relax muscles groups and build stamina in order to hold difficult poses. Yoga also builds muscular strength, creates balance and develops coordination.  It is a gift to your “self”.

Spiritually both practices inspire me to no end.  Both dance and yoga allow me to be a “better version” of myself.  They help me connect to a wider world, and they help me heal when I am broken.  Both require hard work and discipline, and while I am teaching others, they remind me that I am first and foremost a student. Emotionally, both practices help keep my keel even.  It’s a blessing to navigate through life and its storms, feeling centered.

If you’re not doing one or both…..whatcha waitin’ for?