Yoga for Dancers and Performing Arts

More and more performers (Dancers, Actors, Singers, and Musicians, etc) are looking to Yoga to help them balance the demands on their bodies and minds, and to improve their performance in the arts.  

  1. Body. Problems include:
  • Dancers: Excessive external rotation can cause long term damage
  • Actors/Singers: limited projection and or endurance
  • Musicians: Sitting and chronic static positions create imbalance

Yoga can balance the body to allow for full expression in the arts. Internal rotation, breath work to maximize oxygen intake and distribution, and oppositional movement can free the body from the constraints of various art forms.

  1. Mind. Often dance, especially ballet, and music is about perfection. This goal, which is not truly achievable, can damage self-esteem and too often can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like eating disorders and substance abuse. (stat)

Shifting the mindset toward excellence is far healthier than the in-achievable and constant disappointment of failing to reach perfection. Yoga builds self-care into the system so young minds can manage the demands of the art form and maintain a growth mindset.

  1. Heart. So much of performing successfully is being fully connected to the feeling of expression. It’s what creates flow, and flow builds confidence. That balance of effort and ease that creates so much joy as a performer and equally for spectators.

Yoga helps tap into that goodness so it can translate into everything a young performer does. It helps them overcome anxiety so they shine through and through.

Yoga for Bullies - Be an Upstander

Yoga teaches kids who are not targets of bullying to help victims by being confident bystanders. See Can Yoga Prevent Bullying?  Part 1. Here are three things by-standers can do to become up-standers and help a victim: 

  1. Move your body toward the victim – just that physical presence sends a message the victim is not alone. 
  2. Say something to change the subject, like “Wow, I have so much homework in <class>, how about you?” or “Have you played <game> lately?” 
  3. Stand up to the bully saying, “Hey, that’s not okay. Let’s go.” and walk away with the victim.

We wonder if all kids did yoga, perhaps one day there would be no bullies?!  No one would have a reason to bully. 

Kids would feel empowered in their own lives.

Imagine that.

We explored how Yoga can help prevent victims from bullying in from Can Yoga Prevent Bullying?  Part 1 and Part 2. Now, can yoga help the bully too?    

Compassion. Bullies bully because it’s a learned behavior. They may feel powerless often because another is overpowering them, so they use others to feel powerful.  Kids with this awareness can empathize with a bully to divert them to another way of dealing with their pain.  Holding your body and having an attitude of confidence can protect you from being a target; the next step is to actually empathize with the bully if you still become a target.  

Yoga teaches kids to be comfortable with who they are; it’s a powerful mindset. When you feel good about you, you can help others.  Exercise boundaries with useful phrases to say in the moment, like:

  • “Ouch, you must be really hurting to say or do <that> to me.  
  • “I get that you are in pain, but hurting me is not going to help you feel better. What can I do to help you?” 
  • “Listen. I’m sorry for whatever is making you want to say or do <this>, but you picked the wrong person. It’s not too late for you to change your mind.”

We know from Can Yoga Prevent Bullying?  Part 1 that Yoga teaches kids how to hold their bodies.  Let’s explore another practical possibility of how yoga can help prevent becoming a victim.

Bullies tend to avoid people with strong energy. It’s easier to pick on an emotionally weaker target. Here’s why some kids with large frames who may not feel large inside become targets, and some kids with small frames never become targets.

This requires concentration. Concentration with practice creates strength, balance and coordination, and these results build confidence. Confidence can emit an attitude of self-reliance. When a bully says or does something to hurt you, you can simply reject it. Holding your body and confidently responding with, “Nice try.” and walking away will not give the bully their desired outcome of power over you. 

Even if what the bully said, or did, did hurt you, you can deal with that later, either on your own or with the help of a trusted adult.

Body Awareness and Bullies - Yoga for Kids

What if Yoga could prevent bullying? Let’s explore 3 practical possibilities of how yoga can help victims, and even the bully!

Body Awareness. The number one reason bullies choose their victims is based on perceived strength or weakness in physical appearance. Sure, it’s less likely to be bullied if you are a kid with a large frame, but it’s not size that matters, how you hold your body. No matter what size you are, if you look like “The Wimpy Kid”, your chances of being a target are much higher. 

Yoga teaches kids how to stand tall and strong (Mountain Pose) no matter how big or small you are physically, or how scared you may feel inside. Have you ever met a powerful two year old you wouldn’t want to mess with?!  Your posture alone can ward off potential threats. 

Can Yoga Prevent Bullying?  Part 2 explores another way to avoid being a victim of bullying, and Can Yoga Prevent Bullying?  Part 3, we’ll explore how to help the bully.

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Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!

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