Dance yoga poses for you

Dance yoga poses for you

The yoga vinyasa series are a series of flows in yoga where poses move from one to another in a sequence. Several of these poses also have features common to poses from Indian classical dances. While dance movements may include flourishes and elaborate hand gestures or mudras, yogic vinyasa poses are more straightforward with simpler hand gestures that are essentially therapeutic.

Most dance yoga poses are based on existing sequences like the Natrajasana (dancing Shiva series), Virabhadrasana (warrior sequence) and utkatasana series (squats). Not surprisingly, most are also standing poses, incorporating balancers. Several poses from Chandra Namaskar (moon salutation series) are also borrowed in such poses. This way the stimulating aspect of the standing poses is balanced by the cooling aspect of the moon salute series. In yogic parlance, this would be termed the perfect harmony between the surya (sun) and the chandra (moon) nadis (or energy channels).

There are powerful benefits in practicing such yoga flows: they hike metabolism powerfully; they build concentration; they up physical stamina. Holding the poses longer or practicing to the tune of classical music further enhances these benefits because you need to learn to coordinate movement to music, upping the ante further as far physical and mental challenges are concerned. The other advantage is that you can cram several poses within a short time, and do it with complete focus: so yoga dance flows are tailormade for a person who may be short on time.

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, shows you five poses that can borrowed from such dance yoga series. She also gives you suggestions for sequences in which you may place each pose.

Ardha chandrasana (Crescent pose)

Inhale and stand up straight, with your knees slightly bent. Exhale, bending to place your palms flat on ground. Inhale, extending your right leg behind as much as possible. Simultaneously, drop your left knee to the ground. Exhale. Inhale and lift your head to look up. Hold for a while, breathing normally. Return to the starting position. Repeat for left leg.

Sequence: If you wish to make it part of a sequence, you can incorporate the cat stretch or majariasana and the plank pose (setuasana) as part of a flow.

Benefits: The pose gives the entire body a powerful stretch. Thyroid and immune glands both enjoy a massaging effect that boosts metabolism and robust health respectively. Boosts physical stamina.

atrajasana (Dancing Shiva pose)

Stand up straight. Inhale. Bend your right leg behind you. Exhale. Inhale, reaching your right hand behind to hold your right ankle. Exhale and lean forward. Hold the pose, breathing normally. Release. Repeat for other side.

Avoid: This is a slightly advanced pose, so try other simpler balancers before graduating to this one.

Sequence: To place this pose in a sequence, you may start with the palm pose (tadasana), move into the natrajsana and finish with standing one legged prayer pose (pranamasana).

Benefits: Stamina builder, it also boosts mental focus.

Padahastasana (Leg-hand pose)

Stand up straight with your legs slightly apart. Inhale. Flare out your right foot, raise your toes off the floor, resting your foot on your heel. Exhale, bend down towards your right foot, reaching your hand to your toes. Hold, breathing normally. Release, repeat for other side.

Avoid: If having lower back pain.

Sequence: To create a sequence, start with kaliasana (goddess pose), do padahastasana, and finish with one-legged squat (ekapada utkatasana).

Benefits: Tones legs, powers hips, helps with weight loss.

Virabhadrasana (Warrior pose)

Stand up straight with your feet a meter apart. Flare out your right foot with an inhalation, raising your hands together overhead. Exhale, bend forward, moving your hands in front, while lifting your left leg from the floor so the body forms a T-shape. Hold for as long as is possible, breathing normally. Return. Repeat for other leg.

Avoid: If trying yoga for first time. This is an advanced balancer, and needs to attempted after practicing simpler one-legged stands.

Sequence: You can place it with the entire series of warrior poses to create a perfect flow.

Benefits: Stamina-builder, it also boosts concentration.

Skandha Chakra (Shoulder roll)

Stand up straight with your feet together. Inhale, raise your hands to shoulder level, bending them at the elbows. Exhale, bend forward, keeping your hands still at shoulder level. This is one round. Do this several times.

Sequence: It is ideal as a start-up pose that gets you prepared for other difficult squats and forward bends. So place it at the beginning of a flow, before a kaliasana squat or ardhachandrasana.

Benefits: Great upper body work-out. Tones the spine.



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