Insight from a pro dancer and yogini - 3 key things dance and yoga have in common

I started dancing in my early childhood and dance has been a part of my life ever since, eventually leading to profession. Yoga came into my life much later, when I was 20 years old, but equally led me to a point, where it was a natural step to make it a profession.

Rather than opposing each other, they have always been complementary – what I have experienced when dancing I apply to my yoga practice and teaching, the principles of yoga I can integrate into dancing and in many ways they have similar approaches. Having said all that, I want to clearly state, that it’s hard to make a commonly valid comparison, because dance can mean a lot of things and be practiced in a lot of different ways as well as yoga. Personally I’m locating myself in the field of contemporary dance and mostly teach vinyasa yoga, again both of these terms can mean a lot of things. However, I would like to share what exactly they have in common for me.

  1. Physicality - The basic principles of alignment are quite the same in dance and yoga today, which for me is a clear answer to the question ‘how can I move in a healthy, sustainable way?’What I appreciate in both practices is the use of the entire body in movements of different dynamics, which makes the body adaptable and offers variety in moving. For me vinyasa yoga is like contemporary dance on the mat.

  2. Energy - Both yoga and dance have the incredible potential to support the flow of energy within the body through movement. Physical and especially emotional blockages can be released and generally I have experienced an energy-kick from practicing either of them most of the times. Furthermore I really do believe, that dancing or practicing yoga has also the power to lift the vibration in a room to a higher state. Energy work is a main focus in yoga, where it is discussed and taught, while in most common dance practices it’s still not as theorised, but nevertheless happening.

  3. Connection - There are two types of connections happening: the one with oneself and the one with the other people in the group. I find both of them equally important. While yoga and dance are sometimes nice to practice alone, both of them also do have a group aspect.

Just as it is nice to practice yoga collectively and share energy together, it has always been in the human nature to move in a group to a certain rhythm, aka dance.  Today this happens mostly in night clubs and disco's, but essentially the same happens in dance studios, on theatre stages or wherever else people dance and connect together through movement. 

Yoga has been a part of the dance world for years and many dancers are using and integrating the two disciplines. I’m curious and excited to see how this integration will develop further. As dance and yoga are my two passions and I no longer use yoga just to help my dancing but continually seek to integrate more dance into the yoga world. This is my WHY and what motivated me to do the 200 hours yoga teacher training at Yoga Beach House. I now put this intention when creating my workshops and retreats. You do not need to be a professional dancer - just allow yourself to let go and free from judgement - isn't that what yoga is all about? 

Guest Blog by Julia Kannewischer - Julia is performing dance + yoga retreats and workshops all over Europe and will be leading a retreat at Yoga Beach House in July. Contact us for more info.