|Posted by [email protected] on November 27, 2020 at 1:35 PM|
DANCE WITHOUT STRESS
The missing ingredient in most dancer's optimal performance is the lack of rest. As many dancers know, repetitive strain on muscles can lead to minor tears in the muscle tissue. If the body does not get a chance to heal, an overuse injury can occur. Rest gives muscles a chance to repair themselves. Most dancers but most dancers do not allow for this in their schedules.
Active relaxation is the tool all dancers need to recover both physically and mentally. Find a way to soften and move with ease is actually calming for our nervous system. Using a set of physical and mental techniques through progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, visualization, and a combination of all of these can help. These can be done as you ready for bed or just grabbing 10 minutes anytime. This prevents soreness, enhances flexibility, reduces stress and boosts immune system.
1. You Have to Breathe: You cannot dance and just be a chest breather. Breathe into the belly and allow the pelvic floor muscles to relax. Shallow breathing can make you feel out of breath. It can make you anxious and tired.Deep breathing into the diaphragm , gives the lungs a chance expand. Doing this releases he shoulders and enhances freedom of movement. It increases oxygen intake and expels carbon dioxide. This increases energy and reduces fatigue. This helps not only in dance but in everyday life.
Work on a several part breath -
A. Sitting or lying down, breathe into the lower part of your lungs, allow the belly to expand.
B.Continue to inhale into the middle part of the chest. Allow your rib cage to expand sideways.
C. Still inhaling let the air come to the top of the lungs and into the space behind the collar bones. Do not let shoulders lift but avoid forcing them down.
D. Exhale completely by emptying the lower, middle and upper part of lungs. Repeat several times. Then feel the sense of calm.
2. Muscle Relaxation: This is progressive too. Focus on one muscle group at a time. This is a great cool down after class or performance.
A. Find a quiet spot to lay down. Slowly inhale, flexing the feet, straighten the knees while flexing the calves, quads and glutes. Hold for 5 seconds. Exhale slowly and release the muscles, while thinking go of any tension. Notice he feeling of relaxation.
B. Move to the hands, arms and shoulders. Clench the fists, straighten the arms, tensing biceps and forearms. Count to 5, then release. Notice the tensing up of the muscles and then the relaxing.
C. Repeat the muscles with the abdominal muscles, chest and back. Then facial muscles, squinting eyes, wrinkle forehead, clench the jaw, and finally the scalp and neck.
D. Repeat the entire exercise then lie still for several moments sensing the weight of the body.
3. In Your Mind's Eye: Now try visualization. It will help you relax more fully. After doing this exercise a few times, try going to your happy, peaceful place in your mind any time you feel anxious. It can be a grounding, calming experience when you need it most.
A. Close your eyes and picture in your mind a place where you feel relaxed. eg. the beach, or t he woods etc. See yourself walking toward the area and sitting down. Breathe deeply!
B. Engage all of your senses. eg the sun on your face, the fresh air etc.
C. As you inhale imagine a calming energy is entering your body.
As you exhale, let go of any that is bothering you. All is well.
D. If your thoughts wander, return to the scene in your mind, focus on your breath. Do this for s several minutes. On ending this exercise visualize yourself walking away calmly. Open your eyes.
Morwenna Assaf = Author, Choreographer & Educator
Walid Assaf = Percussionist, & Educator https://ArtDanceAcademy.Webs.com
Art/Dance Academy, USA 760-715-2276 [email protected]