Dance Conditioning Tips — Not Just For Dance
Posted by terrepruitt on October 13, 2011
Almost a year ago one of my Nia students let me borrow a book, Conditioning for Dance. Even though I had it for a week I didn’t take time to look at it in-depth. But I like what I saw enough to buy the book. A year later and I still have not looked at it in-depth, but again, when I pick it up and thumb through it, pausing to read here and there I love what I see. Eric Franklin’s idea coincide a lot with Nia and many mind body practices. I touched upon this in my original post Dance Conditioning.
The ideas he has shared in this book are somewhat like the Nia White Belt Principles in that they can be applied to more than just the workout or the technique, they can be applied to life. In th beginning portion of the book Franklin talks about how sometimes when dancers are unable to perform a step, often the first thought is it is because the dancer is not strong enough. So the dancer then works to build strength in the muscles required to do the particular step. But it is not always because they are not strong enough, sometimes it is because they have other issues. So getting stronger to power through the move will not necessarily allow them to do the move correctly, but it allows the issues to be reinforced. If you are doing something incorrectly because of other issues continuing to do it without resolving those issues just enforces the issues.
His tips in regards to the above can be applied to life.
-When doing a task sense your body. Learn to recognize when it is out of alignment or what behavior causes it to be out of alignment then practice doing that same task in a different way that allows your body to stay in alignment.
I know so many people who are in physical pain, it is my belief that many of them are because we do things without thinking and we do things that actually cause our bodies to be out of alignment. When sitting at your desk at work do a body check. Are you sitting up or are you slouched over? Are your legs crossed? Is your mouse so far away from your hand that you have to lean forward and/or really extend your arm? These types of things that we do over and over and actually work our bodies into a state of misalignment. I remember walking into a friend’s cube while she was working and after watching for a second I asked her what she was doing? She responded that she didn’t know what I was talking about. I said she was having to practically get out of her chair as she leaned forward to use her mouse. She looked confused and then shrugged. I suggested she move her mouse pad closer to her and she shrugged and did. No, my friend is not stupid, she was just focused on working and never stopped to really think about her body and its alignment. She just “did” because that was the way it was. There are probably a lot of things — little things, just like that — we can do to help our body’s alignment. Just sense your body as you go through your daily tasks.
-Imagine yourself doing the task. Imagine all that it will require to complete the job then go through it mentally. While imagining, sense the muscles that are used.
This is an easy one to apply to everyday. Whatever it is that you want to do imagine doing it beforehand and it will help you be aware of your body before you even begin the task. And this could also allow you to think of things that might slow you down if you had not thought of it before had. It will allow you to be better prepared.
-Seek the help of experts.
People that have done what you want to do before are always a great resource in life.
-Think positive. If there are problems or issues think about them work to find solutions, but don’t dwell on them and allow them to affect your performance.
Thinking positive is a great tool and becoming so much more widely accepted as actually having benefit. Everyone has problems. Thinking positive doesn’t mean you don’t have problems it just means you don’t dwell on them.
-Work on flexibility making sure it the body is balanced.
In life it is good to be flexible, but you also need to have balance. Can’t be so flexible you become wishy-washy.
-Participate in strength training and do exercise that will help you reach your goal.
Strength training has so many benefits in everyday life, it is good for anyone at any age.
-Find ways to increase alignment without causing tension.
Everyone has different ideas on how to be aligned and in balance. But it should become a source of great stress in your life, so try to find ways to be balanced that will add to the ease and relaxation.
In his book Franklin goes into more detail and relates it specifically to dance. Here I was using my own words and trying to “vague it” up a bit so that it would be obvious how dance training tips could be applied directly to anyone’s life.
So amazing. I am always amazed how our Nia White Belt Principles that we use in our dance practice can be applied to life. But then, to me, that is what makes it a practice. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised . . . and I really wasn’t, I was excited, that these tips for dance could be applied to more than just dance conditioning.