Each having its unique elements of expression, they are both means to explore freedom, a free flowing series of movements that serve as a mode of self-discovery.
Before we move forward, I must confess something to you, my beloved readers. I will share ways to morph yoga and dance in hopes of stepping outside of the norm and I’ll encourage you to move in ways that feel right in your body. My confession to you is that I am in fact a terrible dancer. I have a serious lack of rhythm and I’ve accepted that my “dance moves” are indeed spastic and just down right silly. I find humor in writing these words about yoga and dance due to these facts, but that’s why it’s so glorious. Dance and yoga are both meant to be explored wildly and openly. Move like you’ve never moved before. Make up moves and get weird with it.
Short Meditation :: Dhyana
Sukhasana :: Easy Pose Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and let your eyes close. Breathe slowly through the nose for 1–2 minutes. Set an alarm so you don’t have to worry about the time.
This is a crucial few minutes of settling into your practice and preparing for your yoga/dance session. Enjoy the quiet as you honor your breath.
Pranayama :: Breath Work
Affirmation :: “My breath fuels my practice. I am energetic, radiant, and unique.”
Kapalbhati or Bhalabhai Pranayama :: Breath of Fire Breath of Fire is an exhilarating and uplifting breath technique. It creates an internal heat and pumps fresh oxygen to the brain.
As your awareness remains on the breath in and out of the nose, begin to contract the stomach muscles on your exhale, bringing the belly button towards the spine as all the air is released from the body. This is the same kind of contraction you do when you cough. Practice a few contractions and begin to notice that the inhale becomes involuntary.
Start to speed up the breath cycles. Find a balanced rhythm of breath that you can manage for a few rounds, eventually working up to a few minutes of breath of fire breathing. Work towards an even length of inhales and exhales.
Sankalpa :: Set an Intention Setting an intention adds a deeper meaning behind your practice. It serves as a reminder to hold the awareness in the mind, body, and breath when the mind begins to chatter. This intention is a word, prayer, mantra, idea, or message.
Intention Example :: “I will move in ways that make me feel free. I will move without judgement and expectation. I will have fun.”
Yoga Dance Sequence
Affirmation :: “I am wild. I am open. I am awesome.”
Marjaiasana/Bitilasana :: Cat/Cow Pose Come to table top on hands and knees. Ensure your wrists are under shoulders and knees are under hips. Spread the fingers wide and root down strongly through both palms and all ten fingers. As you inhale allow the belly to fall towards the sand and pull the chest through the arms while bringing the gaze up. Exhale to round the back, tucking the tailbone and chin. Move with your breath for 5–10 rounds.
Adho Mukha Svanasana :: Downward Facing Dog Keeping the palms rooted, tuck the toes and lift the pelvis up and back to find Downward Facing Dog. Think of this shape as an upside letter V, keeping equal weight distributed between upper and lower halves of the body. Simultaneously rotate forearms inward and biceps outward. Ground down through both palms as the heels energetically press down towards the Earth. Take 5 cleansing breaths and let the head hang heavy. Try pedaling out the legs and shaking the head side to side.
Seated Side Bend + Child’s Pose Bow Cross knees and sit or come onto knees and lengthen the spine while slightly tucking tailbone. Move with breath reaching arms up and over from side to side extending both sides of the torso. Inhales lengthen up and exhales reaching to the side. Begin to find that flow of movement as if you were moving through water. Even, gently, smooth movements.
Come up to knees and inhale arms out in front of you and up. Exhale as you bow forward flowing the arms down and back. Flow with breath.
Uttanasana :: Forward Fold Tuck toes and find a standing forward fold. Inhale to rise up to standing with a flat back, arms swan-dive out and up. Big stretch up and exhale to refold. Keep a soft bend in the knees and even weight in both feet. Move between Uttanasana and Urdhva Hastasana (standing with arms reaching up) for 10 rounds of breath.
Trikonasana Variation :: Star Pose Separate your feet a few feet apart and reach the arms out to the sides. Take a few breaths here to stretch the entire body. Open your mind and heart and begin to rock right and left to the beat of whatever music makes you want to move. Wiggle the fingers, roll the arms up and down, bend the knees, bob the head. Find your own movements here. Take 5–10 rounds of breath.
Prasarita Padottanasana :: Wide Legged Forward Fold Straighten both legs as you inhale arms up and exhale to fold forward. Find a slight bend in both knees and let the upper body hang heavy. Finger tips touch to Earth or blocks. Begin to wave right to left again. Take deep bends from left to right for 5 rounds of breath. Inhale to half way lift, exhale fold. Do this for 5 rounds of breath.
Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana :: Wide Legged Forward Fold with Twist Come back to your wide legged forward fold. Bring left hand under your gaze down and inhale right arm out to the right and up. Exhale back to center, right hand replaces left, and left arm reaches out to the side and up. Move with breath for 5 rounds.
Tadasana :: Mountain Pose Heel toe your feet in together and rise up to standing. Bring hands to heart as you root your feet into Mother Earth and stand tall. Allow the spine to lengthen and the crown of the head reach up towards to shining sun above. Take a few deep breaths.
Danceasana :: Move, Dance, Shake, Jump, Play Turn up your tunes and move in your own way. Find freedom in your body. Let the weird out as you jump around the room and shake yourself loose. As they say, “dance like nobody’s watching.” Really have fun with this. The body is warm, the breath is deep, it’s time to MOVE! Dance for as long as feels good.
Balasana :: Child’s Pose Lower both knees to the Earth and sink the hips back onto the heels. Arms should be stretched out in front, palms and fingers rooting down with forehead resting on your mat. Slow the breath here.
Apanasana :: Knees-to-Chest Pose Roll onto the back and keeping the entire spine against the mat, hug the knees in towards to chest, wrapping the arms around the shins. Gently rock right and left massaging the lower back. Savasana :: Corpse Pose Make your way completely onto the back. Legs spread wide, arms out to the side, full body relaxation. Close the eyes and just be. Simply exist. Feel the benefits of your practice. Let go of all sense of control as you absorb all that surrounds you and open all thats within.
Affirmation :: “I am proud of my body. I chose freedom. I am a dancing warrior of love and light.”