Straddle Stretch Forever

In an effort to keep my digital content focused on what my audience wants to see and to encourage myself to keep to routines that make me feel great physically, I’ll be focusing on stretching for a while!

When it comes to stretching, you should know that I like to keep it simple. There are a few stretches that I’ve been doing since childhood that still serve me well. One of these is the straddle stretch. This is my go-to stretch when I’m at home and feeling a bit antsy in the evening or after I’ve just entered a dance class and want to stake my claim to some space in the studio (typically a place at the barre where I can see myself dancing from more than 1 angle, or where I’m at the end so I can follow someone if needed, then challenge myself and use my good ol’ memory skills the rest of the time.)

To perform a straddle stretch, sit down on the floor in an open space, with your legs spread apart so that you can feel a stretch in your inner thigh. Be sure that your knees are facing up toward the ceiling and not rolling inward.

While sitting in the straddle stretch position, I like to point and flex my feet, focusing especially on holding the flexed position so that I get a good stretch behind my knees.

I also like to reach my arms forward, to deepen the stretch of my inner thighs. I then relax my head and neck and hold that position for several seconds.

To focus on one leg at a time, I like to tilt my torso all the way to one side, either touching the side of my torso to my leg or by lifting my arms (into a ballet high fifth position) and twisting my torso so that my chest goes toward my knee.

Should we do a straddle stretch every day for the next week?

Let’s do it.

Saumirah

The Importance of Flexibility

I recently posted a few polls on the Dance Daze Dance Boards™ Instagram account asking which kind of dance education content my audience there would be most interested in seeing. One of the top-voted content choices, receiving 88% of votes, was information about improving flexibility.

As a dance educator and as a former pre-professional dancer, I know that many benefits come with improving flexibility. I’ve listed some below!

  1. Makes Dancing Easier

When our flexibility improves, so does our range of motion. Simply put, having a greater range of motion allows dancers to do more movements with greater ease (as long as our strength and muscular development progresses along with our flexibility). For dance and other forms of movement (such as gymnastics) that require a variety of movements with different body parts, having more flexibility and the ability to move more easily in a variety of ways makes it simpler for us to perform different movements.

2. Reduces Risk of Injury

If we are working on improving our flexibility, it is likely that we will begin stretching more regularly, thus keeping our joints fluid. When our joints are fluid, not only does this slow joint degeneration and improve our posture, it also makes it less likely that we will be injured when we are dancing. Flexible joints and muscles are looser and require less energy to perform moves. This means, we are less likely to strain when performing movements repeatedly or when attempting a new movement for the first time. We do not have to fight our body in order to achieve the desired look of a certain movement, and our bodies are able to withstand greater physical stress when our flexibility improves.

3. Improves Overall Health

One reason that yoga is so popular is that stretching gives us a more positive and relaxed state of mind. We tend to feel really good after stretching. Also, even when we are not dancing, greater flexibility in general allows us to better perform all physical movements.

In addition to all of the aforementioned benefits of increasing flexibility, I personally know that I tend to feel 100% better in my body every single time I stretch.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be aiming to focus my video content on simple stretching exercises that I personally believe help to increase flexibility and also help keep me going throughout the day!

You can catch my video content on the following channels:

Talk soon!

Saumirah

Toddler Yoga – A Success!

We are delighted to report that the re-launch of our Toddler Yoga Child & Caregiver class was a complete success! We had a small group of 4 students and parents, and the class instructor provided a wonderful blend of yoga poses, stretching, and fun sing-a-long movement time for the children. What I loved best about the class was the well-planned variety! Toddlers were able to try most of the movements on their own, but some required parent participation. Also, there were times when the children were able to be independent, while still maintaining a feeling of attachment to their parents. (e.g., the children crawling from one side of the room toward their parents on the other side of the room). And in case you’re wondering: If all the movements are done full-out, parents will get a nice workout in from this class too!

We hope to see you next Saturday at 10:00 am! We purchased brand new yoga mats for our next class, and we can’t wait for you to use them!

Call us at: (510) 523-2568 x2 or email info@dancedaze.org to enroll in this class!

Yoga Classes at Dance Daze

Hatha Yoga Video Lunge Pose - Hanurasana

Yoga has many benefits for dancers, such as increased strength, balance, flexibility, turnout, and stamina. Purifying the body from toxins, relieving stress, and improved circulation are additional benefits.

We at Dance Daze always want to offer a variety of beneficial classes to our students, and we think yoga will be a great new addition! As of January 2011, we will be adding yoga to our class schedule.

Our yoga classes will include:

Baby Yoga for toddlers and preschoolers and Beginning Yoga for children, teens, and adults.  In their Baby Yoga class, our youngest ones will learn toddler-friendly yoga poses. Each class will be enhanced with songs, stories, and games. Children’s Beginning Yoga will allow kids to learn yoga poses through acting out a fun, imaginative story. Teen/Adult Yoga will include yoga poses and balances, cardio aerobics, and core-strengthening exercises.

In addition to our new yoga classes, we will also be starting a monthly Nutrition and Weight Training series in the New Year! These classes will be taught by a healthcare professional and a professional trainer. Keep following us for more details!