YES Yoga is a dance and YES you can dance your Yoga! 10 Ways to dance your Yoga.
September is National Yoga month. Celebrate and shake up your yoga with dance. YES, Yoga is a dance and YES you can dance your Yoga! Simply by focusing on your breath and letting your breath initiate your asana, you will start to discover the dance within your Yoga. Allowing your breath to be the connective tissue between your asanas, will bring a dance-like quality to your practice. Whether you are Yoga teacher or student, I invite you to incorporate any of these tips into your Yoga practice and sense the dance.
Dance your Uttanasana (Forward Fold): As you fold and unfold to earth bring a gentle sway to your spine. Sound "AHHH" as you fold to earth 3 or 4 times. Once in the asana, breathe and keep the gentle sway of your spine.
Dance your Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1): This is our Dancing Warrior. From Tadasana, step your right leg back, toes out, with your arms reaching to the sky! As you come back to Mountain with soft knees, exhale with the sound YES and then take the Warrior to the left. Continue right and left, keeping the asana alive by breathing, dancing and sounding.
Dance your Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2): Once in this sacred pose, sway your spine. As your front arm stays steady, circle your other arm from the back to the front and around, following with your eyes (as if painting a rainbow from back to front). Play with palm directions. Sense how this brings relaxation to your shoulder blades and your neck. Added bonus! This is great activation for your lymphatic system!
Dance your Vriksasana (Tree pose): I call this Dancing Tree! As you balance on your right foot, let your left leg move from your hip socket and explore the space around you. Bring the essence of Tai Chi to this exploration, moving a bit like Karate Kid! Sink to earth and rise. Point and flex your toes; use your middle finger to maintain your balance. Breathe and smile!!! Then, move into your still tree and sense your grounding. Take your Dancing Tree to the other leg.
Dance your Marjaryasana & Bitilasana (Cat/Cow pose): I call this dancing union of 2 asanas CASPOW!! As you come into tabletop, start to sway and undulate your spine. Alternate in a dance of the contraction and expansion of your ribcage, sensing all sides of your ribcage. Sound "OOOOO" and "SSSS". Wag your tail, soften your shoulders, and look around!! This will make you feel YUMMY and helps to bring blood to your disks.
Dance your Navasana (Boat pose): Once you are in this pose, while staying on your sits bones, soften your knees, shoulders, elbows and wrist. Act as if you are a boat cruising down a beautiful river, and sense the current of the river in your spine, moving your fingers, wrists, shoulders, ankles, knees and hip joints with the flow of the river. Now sense your belly and SMILE!!
Dance your Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): I love to call this pose Dancing Dog! Once you are in Down Dog, start to undulate your spine, roll your shoulders, soften your elbows, and circle your pelvis. In fact, see how many different parts of your body you can flow and dance. Allow the Dancing Dog to surrender to a flowing plank pose and back to your Dancing Dog. After your dance, kindly ask your Dancing Dog to STAY in silence in the traditional pose. Sense how your shoulders are more relaxed, allowing your shoulder blades to easily glide down your back.
Dance your Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend): OK, for this dance, open your legs to a comfortable angle where you can easily isolate the movement of your chest. Ground your heels and soften your knees so you can get the full range of motion of your ribcage. Breathe and soften your jaw as you sway your ribcage side-to-side and front and back. Next, slide your legs open a bit more, staying on your sits bone. Rotate your thighs outward, and extend softly through your heels. As you inhale, raise both arms to the sky and gently rotate your torso towards your left leg. Allow the left hand to touch anywhere on your left leg as the right arm stays ups. Now act as if your right arm is a wing and as you exhale, flow it down towards your left leg, adding the twist and surrendering your torso towards your left leg. As you inhale, unfold your wing lifting first from your shoulder, then elbow, wrist and hand. Fly back down. Let it become a dance of breath and watch with your eyes as you fold and unfold your arm. After several flights, take it to the other side. Through this dance, I have released tension in my shoulder blades and I feel like an eagle!
Dance your Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby’s Pose): I love this asana! Once you are in this pose, allow you hands to release from your feet and then act as if you are swimming in the ocean or a cool pool. Swim from your ankles, knees, hip sockets, wrists, elbows and shoulders. This is our Happy Baby Dance and the only rule is you have to smile, giggle and laugh because you are a happy baby!!!
Dance your Anjali Hand Mudra (Prayer Hands): Standing in Tadasana (Mountain) with Anjali hand mudra, slowly start to create spirals/figure 8s with the mudra and take it up and down. Allow the rest of your body to become the spiral dance your prayer hands have created. Then, take your spiral dance of Anjali Hands off your mat and out into the room. Play with up and down; ride the waves and act as if you are a beautiful fish in the big ocean of life. Once your dance is complete, pause, bring your Anjali Hand Mudra to your heart, sense your Dance of Life, and say Namaste!
Joanie is a Somatic Movement Educator with over 25 years experience in the healing arts. Joanie is a certified Yoga teacher, nationally certified Nia 1st Degree Black-Belt teacher, Nia White Belt and Nia FreeDanceTrainer, and is a Laughter Yoga Leader.