STAMINA & FLEXIBILITY
Strong people can do almost anything they want to do
but even the strongest cannot choose what they want to do
Check with your doctor
before starting any exercise program.
If you experience pain - STOP!
Do not eat a meal within two hours prior to dancing.
Instead of seeing the rug pulled from under us
we can learn to dance on a shifting carpet
BREATHING is the most important aspect of dancing. Correct breathing improves stamina, health, vitality, and the sheer joy of being alive. See this website
Breathe only through your nose - breathe from the abdomen - small breaths - you need to balance your carbon dioxide with the oxygen you breathe in. Too much carbon dioxide (from holding your breath) and you will faint - this is nature's way of forcing you to breathe in - you cannot commit suicide by holding your breath. Too little carbon dioxide and you will get asthmatic type symptoms or be prone to colds and flu. People who suffer breathing problems tend to breath too much and this just aggravates the problem by reducing the carbon dioxide balance.
Conversely, you need to breathe deeply if you experience muscle spasms - this includes angina or arrhythmia - any muscle spasm indicates a lack of oxygen in your blood.
You will need to experiment until you find the optimum level of breathing for your particular needs.
Compress your abdomen as you breathe OUT - and expand your abdomen as you breathe IN. Imagine a balloon - as you put in air, it expands - as you expel the air, it contracts; just so with your abdomen as you breathe. Remember, small breaths. You only need big breaths when you are doing strong exercise, breathing through your mouth (this is automatic) and your muscles are building up the carbon dioxide in your blood. Big breaths will dilute the carbon dioxide level. You NEED carbon dioxide to enable your body to use the oxygen.
Your diaphragm muscle is like a spreadeagled horseshoe and sits just under your ribs. You need to pull that muscle down into your abdomen in order to expand your lungs - then squash that muscle up towards your ribs to expel the air. The harder you compress that muscle to expel the air, the more air you will automatically breathe in - on the rebound.
Practice breathing from the abdomen until it becomes automatic. A few seconds at a time, whenever you think about it; the seconds will mount to minutes, then hours; then become automatic.
Pelvic tilt improves posture and reduces lower-back stress. Learn this position lying down, then maintain this position when upright. Practice will make it automatic. Lie on your back with knees bent. Press the hollow in the small of your back onto the floor. Tighten abdominal and buttock muscles, then raise buttocks slightly off the floor; maintaining the pressure of the lower back against the floor. Hold for 14 seconds. Repeat three times.
By adopting this posture, when standing upright, you will find, that after a while, you will be uncomfortable relapsing into the old slouch, and you will not experience back-ache even after standing for some considerable time, as in a queue.
To improve your posture even further, when standing, check where your weight is on your feet – is it on the balls of your feet – is it on the heels – your weight should be evenly spread throughout the soles of your feet, slightly bend the knees and allow your MUSCLES to take your weight, not your skeleton.
Muscles are INTENDED to carry weight; your skeleton is just a framework for your muscles.... you've seen photographs of skeletons.... without muscles they are just a jumble of bones.
The muscles keep all the bones in place. If your shoulder muscles are weak, your shoulder will 'pop' out of the socket, same with the hip joint or any other joint. Keep your muscles toned up and your skeleton will retain the correct shape and not wear unevenly. Just as you get the wheels on your car balanced, so you strengthen your muscles to keep your skeleton in balance.
The centre-line of your ear should be in line with your shoulder - ask someone to check your posture... as you pull your head back to align your ear with your shoulder, tuck your chin in just slightly. With age your head tends to jut forward and this places enormous stress on the nerves in your cervical spine....you may get migraines, headaches, sinusitis, tinnitus, even loss of hearing. Correct posture will improve your health.
An excellent warm-up exercise, before dancing, incorporates correct breathing. I stand with my feet the same distance apart as my hip bones, knees slightly flexed and relaxed. Pelvis is tilted backward to straighten the small of the back and tone the abdominal muscles.
On a slow
in-breath through the nostrils, I slowly raise my hands sideways away from my
body in an upward arc, until they are above my head. My fingers remain gently relaxed and pointing
to the ground, until my hands reach the apex.
This bent, relaxed position activates the energy point at the back of
the wrist (chakra). At the apex my
fingers point directly upward with the thumbs horizontal to the ground. Both hands face forward, the back of one hand
in the palm of the other (hands of
On a slow out-breath I bring my hands down the centre of my body, turning on the energy point in the heart region, and back to the start position.
The exercise is reversed after about four breaths, with the hands coming up the centre of the body on the in-breath, opening outwards and lowering on the out-breath with the fingers pointing upwards, allowing the base of the palm to lead the hand (another chakra).
This exercise will improve your breathing, your health and help to stretch the torso to increase flexibility.
As you become more energetic you will want to add extra exercises to your daily routine. You will find exercises in most magazines or health publications. Choose the ones you find the most comfortable and pleasing to your own physique.
Swimming Majestically in an