Looking after your mind as well as your body

Looking after your mind as well as your body

It is very easy to forget to look after your mind as well as your body. Dancers are no exception to this!

You may already feel that coming to the studio and taking part in dance classes takes you away from everyday stresses and gives you the chance to be yourself. The studio is your getaway or maybe even your happy place!

It is ours too so you are not alone there!

However, have you thought about how you are looking after your mind outside of the studio and away from classes? It may have occurred to you before, but it may not. But it is just as important, on so many levels.

Every dancer knows that to become successful and improve their dancing skills, they must practice, practice, practice. Not just at the studio but at home too. Making the time to add dance practice and/or exercises into your daily or weekly routine will not only help you become a better dancer but also puts you in a more positive mood for the rest of the day.

It makes sense. Do more of what you love to become a happier person!

It’s not just practising that improves your dancing. Stretching at home is a fantastic way to improve your mood and your body.

Have you heard the expression “healthy body, healthy mind” before? Well, it’s true! 

Stretching gives your body a great foundation for being able to improve your dance skills and movements. The best time of the day to do this (apart from before and after class) is first thing in the morning. Waking up 5 minutes earlier and implementing a stretch routine will set you up for the day. You can do a vast range of movements to improve your movement range. Here are some videos from YouTube to get you started.

Think positively about your daily stretch routine.

Don’t think of it negatively, it is not a part of dancing you must suffer through. Quite the opposite! Stretching out your muscles builds great foundations for your body to build strength and stamina. Think of it as though you are laying the foundations to build your dream house. Think about the professional and talented dancer you will become if you put this into your daily routine now. It's also very important for recovery. Professional and famous dancers like Oti Mabuse from Strictly, all have a stretch routine included in their daily lives. It not only improves your dancing and helps your body, but it also relaxes the mind. She explains a lot about her routine and training here: "Recovery is critical in any sport. If you want to compete, you need to keep your body happy. I like to stretch my back because I have a big chest and after a long day my back and shoulder start to hurt,” Oti says. Our advice would be to know your focus points. What areas are tighter and need loosening? These are your focus points. Stretch your focus points more than your looser areas that don’t need as much work. Your teacher should be able to advise you on this. Remember to always hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds, aim for 1 minute or more if you can, and relax into that stretch; tensed-up muscles do not stretch! Lastly, clear your mind and breathe deeply, this helps you to relax your mind and body so you can get the most out of your stretch session. Leave comments below about your stretch sessions! Do you have one? When do you do yours? What do you find works for you?