Yoga research paper

  • 568 views
Uploaded on

 

More in: Spiritual
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
568
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1

Actions

Shares
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
1

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Bourne   1  Katie  Bourne  Cathy  Black  Dance  History  20  March  2012    Adding  Yoga  Postures  to  Dance  Technique  in  the  Schools    In  recent  years,  dance  has  seen  an  increase  in  popularity  due  to  television  shows  like  Dancing  with  the  Stars,  So  You  Think  You  Can  Dance  and  America’s  Best  Dance  Crew.  Because  of  the  caliber  of  dance  on  these  shows,  young  dancers  are  pressured  to  push  their  physical  limits,  oftentimes  resulting  in  physical  and  mental  damage.  The  physical  damage  comes  from  pushing  their  bodies  further  than  they  have  the  energy,  strength,  or  flexibility  for.  The  mental  damage  comes  from  the  pressures  of  the  media  to  be  thin,  and  ultimately,  the  best  dancer.  Dance  teachers  can  also  push  students  to  unsafe  limits  in  technique  class  before  the  student  is  physically  and  mentally  ready.  Because  dancers  often  wear  their  bodies  down  by  doing  repetitive,  one-­‐sided,  and  high  stress  techniques,  they  can  be  at  risk  for  long-­‐term  damage.  Dancers  need  something  to  help  build  strength,  flexibility,  and  emotional  stability  in  their  technique  classes.  Secondary  education  dance  teachers  should  incorporate  concepts  of  Bikram  yoga  into  their  dance  technique  classes  to  produce  healthier,  more  technical,  focused,  and  protected  dancers.    The  history  of  yoga  has  led  to  the  development  of  specific  poses  that,  if  used  correctly,  can  benefit  dancers  both  physically  and  mentally.  4,  700  years  ago,  Patanjali,  the  father  of  yoga,  
  • 2. Bourne   2  researched  yogis  who  came  before  him  and  created  84  original  poses,  also  known  as  asanas.  These  asanas  were  created  to  prepare  the  body  to  sit  in  meditation  for  a  significant  amount  of  time.  Through  meditation,  one  is  able  to  journey  toward  self-­‐actualization  because  of  the  deep  concentration  required  for  the  process.  One  of  the  first  asanas,  the  lotus  pose,  was  created  to  stop  blood  from  reaching  below  the  waistline  acting  as  an  anesthetic  by  dulling  the  pain  receptors  and  creating  a  calm  body,  allowing  for  the  one  meditating  to  have  a  clear  and  focused  mind.  When  you  have  a  “calm  body,  you  have  a  calm  mind”  (Choudhury,  33).  The  other  83  postures  were  developed  to  better  prepare  the  rest  of  the  body  to  be  still  and  calm  during  meditation.  This  physical  yoga  is  also  known  as  Hatha  yoga.  The  purpose  of  Hatha  yoga  is  to  heal  the  body.  A  man  by  the  name  of  Bikram  Choudhury,  who  studied  Hatha  yoga  at  a  young  age,  helped  many  people  heal  mentally  and  physically  through  yoga.  After  shattering  his  knee,  he  experienced  the  healing  of  yoga  and  soon  developed  a  sequence  of  26  asanas  and  two  breathing  exercises,  which  he  pulled  from  the  84  asanas  he  had  studied  with  his  Guru.  These  26  postures  “systematically  work  every  part  of  the  body  giving  all  the  internal  organs,  veins,  ligaments,  and  muscles  all  they  need  to  maintain  optimum  health  and  maximum  function”    (72).    Most  of  Bikram’s  poses  are  compression  poses.  Compression  poses  extend  or  stretch  one  half  of  the  body  while  the  other  half  is  compressed.  Bikram  yoga  takes  place  in  a  room  of  105  degrees  to  warm  up  the  body,  lasts  90  minutes,  and  practices  each  pose  twice.  This  type  of  Hatha,  or  physical  yoga,  is  meant  to  revitalize,  reenergize,  and  strengthen  the  body,  which  are  all  things  that  will  benefit  the  young  dancers  who  constantly  push  themselves  past  their  physical  and  mental  limits.  I  do  not  think  that  teachers  should  require  students  to  become  yogis  
  • 3. Bourne   3  who  master  in  Bikram  yoga.  However,  I  do  think  that  teachers  should  recognize  the  positive  benefits  of  Bikram  yoga  and  implement  the  concepts  in  their  classes.    By  incorporating  developed  concepts  of  Bikram  yoga,  such  as  full-­‐lung  breathing  and  compression  asanas,  dancers  will  have  more  energy  and  increase  their  strength  and  flexibility.  Improving  the  function  of  the  lungs  is  usually  the  first  repair  on  the  body  since  most  people  rarely  use  more  than  50  percent  of  their  total  lung  capacity.  Bikram  compares  lungs  to  balloons,  saying  that  we  need  to  properly  inflate  and  stretch  our  lungs  to  become  “more  flexible  and  capable  of  holding  and  processing  more  oxygen  with  greater  efficiency”  (80).  Bikram  believes  that  through  breath  you  control  prana,  or  vital  life  energy  (34).  By  controlling  and  taking  in  more  prana  you  will,  in  a  sense,  have  more  energy.  Yoga  breathing  (also  known  as  pranayama)  is  designed  to  bring  more  oxygen  to  the  blood  and  to  the  brain.  Dancers  need  as  much  oxygen  as  they  can  get  because  they  work  their  bodies  hard  for  hours  holding  their  legs  in  the  air,  jumping  high,  spinning,  and  balancing  for  long  periods  of  time.    All  of  these  movements  exert  a  lot  of  energy  from  muscles.  The  more  the  muscles  are  active,  the  harder  it  is  for  oxygen  to  be  supplied  to  the  muscle  fibers  causing  lactic  acid  build  up.  When  enough  oxygen  is  provided,  the  lactic  acid  is  broken  down.  By  learning  to  control  intake  of  oxygen  and  use  it  to  support  muscles,  dancers  will  be  able  to  move  more  effectively  and  have  more  energy.  Even  though  breathing  is  an  automatic  function  of  the  body  that  everyone  does,  dancers  especially  need  to  practice  full  lung  breathing  to  expand  their  lungs  and  take  in  more  oxygen  so  they  can  increase  their  energy  and  muscle  activity  without  increasing  their  lactic  acid  production  (Brianmac).    
  • 4. Bourne   4  Unlike  Bikram,  who  had  whole  exercises  fully  dedicated  to  breathing,  dance  teachers  should  practice  and  push  their  dancers  to  breathe  as  deep  and  controlled  as  they  can  through  their  whole  dance  class,  emphasizing  full  lung  breathing  in  their  warm  up.  A  good  way  to  begin  dance  class  would  be  to  practice  deep  breathing,  which  wakes  up  the  muscles  as  well  as  the  entire  body  (Choudhury,  102).  By  practicing  full-­‐lung  breathing,  dancers  will  increase  their  supply  of  oxygen  to  the  body  and  learn  how  to  be  in  control  of  their  breathing.  Now,  instead  of  gasping  for  air  in  class  or  in  a  performance,  dancers  can  calmly  take  in  long  energizing  breaths  that  support  their  movement.  Dancers  need  the  benefits  that  come  from  Bikram  poses  to  rejuvenate  their  muscles,  circulatory  system,  strength,  and  flexibility.  Blood  transports  the  oxygen,  along  with  nutrients,  in  the  form  of  glucose  to  all  of  the  body.  The  difference  in  the  circulatory  system  when  running  and  doing  a  compression  pose  is  that  even  though  running  elevates  the  heart  rate,  there  is  still  a  small  steady  flow  of  blood  to  all  parts  of  the  body  instead  of  having  a  rush  of  oxygenated  blood  to  one  specific  area  providing  nutrients.    Bikram’s  poses  use  compression  and  extension  to  increase  the  flow  of  oxygenated  blood  to  every  part  of  the  body,  which  Bikram  calls  the  Hoover  Dam  effect  (84).  The  Hoover  Dam  effect  is  when  blood  is  squeezed  out  of  a  certain  area  by  compressing  one  part  of  the  body  with  another,  blocking  blood  flow  like  the  Hoover  Dam.  After  20  seconds  of  tight  compression,  the  body  releases  the  posture  and  allows  all  the  fresh  oxygenated  blood  that  has  built  up  to  flow  into  that  area.  The  blood  brings  in  oxygen  and  glucose  to  prevent  lactic  acid  from  building  up  and  to  deplete  any  existing  lactic  acid,  leaving  the  muscles  energized  and  ready  to  dance  rather  than  fatigued  like  after  traditional  exercises.  “The  purpose  of  what  Americans  think  of  as  
  • 5. Bourne   5  exercise  is  to  reach  a  sports  or  fitness  goal,  regardless  of  cost  to  the  body”(45-­‐49).  When  exercising  one  may  gain  a  small  benefit  (i.e.  legs  will  get  stronger),  but  the  majority  of  what  you  do  is  harm  to  the  body,  especially  for  young  people  whose  bodies  are  changing  at  different  rates.    “For  young  adults,  a  yoga  program  can  improve  balance  substantially,  produce  improvements  in  leg  strength,  and  improve  leg  muscle  control  for  less-­‐steady  subjects”  (Hart  and  Tracy).  The  authors  experience  in  secondary  education  dance  classes  caused  a  lot  of  injuries  that  limited  her  physical  capability  today  because  her  teachers  did  not  help  her  build  the  strength  or  flexibility  needed  for  the  movement  being  done.  After  running  a  few  miles  class  members  would  run  through  drills  where  they  had  to  drop  into  the  splits  in  one  count  from  a  standing  position  countless  times,  perform  extremely  one-­‐sided  repetitive  routines,  and  never  warm  up  or  cool  down  properly.  “The  proof  can  be  seen  in  the  people  who  pursue  these  things  the  most  intensely:  look  at  professional  athletes  and  dancers;  after  just  a  few  years,  they  end  up  crippled  with  broken  bodies  that  can’t  play  or  perform  anymore”  (Choudhury,  45-­‐49).    Incorporating  compression  poses  from  Bikram’s  asanas  into  a  secondary  education  dance  class  will  help  build  muscular  strength  and  flexibility  better  than  traditional  exercise.  While  building  strength  and  flexibility,  yoga  creates  a  muscular  connection  through  the  entire  body.  Unlike  site-­‐specific  muscle  building  exercises  like  situps,  pushups,  and  squats,  Bikram’s  poses  require  the  muscles  from  head  to  toe  to  hold  and  control  the  asanas.  “The  balancing  poses  especially  helped  me  stabilize  and  find  a  nice  center  string  to  work  from  in  my  body  alignment.  I  dont  just  jump  and  kick  and  turn  anymore.  My  movement  has  more  fluidity  (Samuels).    
  • 6. Bourne   6  No  human  is  born  with  strength  and  flexibility  balanced  correctly.  “The  best  ballerina  in  the  world  cannot  hold  a  Hatha  yoga  balancing  posture  longer  than  three  seconds,  because  like  most  flexible  peoples’  muscles,  hers  don’t  have  enough  strength”(79).  “When  I  was  younger  I  danced,  but  I  didnt  know  where  the  movement  was  coming  from  or  what  muscles  I  was  using.  With  yoga  you  feel  every  little  thing  in  your  body.  ‘Its  very  personal,  very  internal’”  (Samuels).  Through  asanas  you  are  able  to  see  and  feel  which  parts  of  your  body  are  weak  or  not  functioning  correctly.  You  are  able  to  check  up  on  yourself  and  see  where  you  can  improve  and  where  you  need  more  flexibility  or  strength.  “Real  exercise  means  stretching,  the  simultaneous  contraction  and  elongation  of  the  muscles,  which  builds  strength  and  flexibility.  There  is  no  jarring,  repetitive  impact,  or  unnatural  motions”  (Choudhury,  48).  This  author  does  not  believe  that  people  should  stop  playing  sports  or  dancing  all  together,  but  should  give  their  bodies  and  student’s  bodies  what  they  need;  creating  balanced  strength  and  flexibility  by  incorporating  elements  of  Bikram’s  asanas  into  dance  technique  classes.  By  incorporating  meditation  and  concentration  in  secondary  education  dance  classes,  the  dancers  will  learn  how  to  discipline  their  bodies  and  minds  and  have  less  stress  and  anxiety.  Although  dance  teachers  do  not  have  time  to  have  long  meditating  sessions  with  their  students  to  help  their  minds,  Bikram  believes  that  meditation  can  involve  movement.  While  some  do  not  believe  that  something  physically  demanding  can  be  called  meditation,  Bikram  knows  that  it  can  because  that  is  the  purpose  of  Hatha  yoga.  Many  westerners,  including  dance  teachers,  believe  that  meditation  must  be  done  in  complete  stillness.  However,  meditation  is  the  practice  of  focusing  and  calming  the  mind  in  order  to  communicate  with  oneself.  It  involves  
  • 7. Bourne   7  concentrating  the  mind  on  one  thing  for  a  long  time  while  keeping  it  free  from  all  the  countless  distractions  of  the  world  (76)    When  practicing  Bikram  yoga  there  is  an  incredible  amount  of  pressure  exerted  on  the  body  from  heat  and  challenging  positions.  This  forces  one  to  break  their  attachment  to  external  things  and  go  within.  “The  focus  needed  to  hold  postures  develops  internal  strength  and  willpower”  (Thompson).  There  is  no  escape  from  reality;  meditation  demands  ones  abilities  and  attention.  One  learns  to  discipline  their  body  and  mind  under  intolerable  conditions,  one  will  truly  be  able  to  concentrate,  and  nothing  external  will  be  able  to  break  that.  This  is  one  of  the  many  reasons  why  meditation  should  be  practiced  in  dance  technique  classes.  “Yoga  helps  kids  get  their  young  bodies  and  minds  more  under  control  so  that  they  can  learn”    (247).  Through  meditation  the  students  will  become  intrinsically  motivated  to  improve.  With  this  new  focus  and  understanding  of  themselves,  they  will  put  in  more  time  and  effort  to  do  challenging  things.    Incorporating  mental  yoga  techniques  into  dance  classes  will  lower  levels  of  stress  and  teach  dancers  to  gain  control  over  their  thoughts  through  meditation  and  concentration.  Adolescence  is  a  wonderful  time  of  life,  but  it  is  also  full  of  stressors.  A  young  dancer’s  body,  as  well  as  his  or  her  mind,  is  developing  and  changing  rapidly,  which  can  put  a  lot  of  pressure  on  secondary  education  students.  When  that  kind  of  stress  is  put  on  the  body,  it  is  thrown  into  emergency  overdrive  known  as  “fight-­‐or-­‐flight”,  and  the  chemicals,  adrenaline,  and  cortisol,  are  released  to  help  us  cope.  Over  time  those  stressful  conditions  can  lead  to  the  body  becoming  overwhelmed.  Through  Bikram’s  full-­‐lung  breathing  and  meditation,  the  body  taps  into  its  self-­‐
  • 8. Bourne   8  healing  system  that  calms  the  mind,  body,  and  emotions.  We  gain  control  and  can  turn  off  the  fight-­‐or-­‐flight  response.    When  people  feel  out  of  control  because  of  stress  they  do  what  they  can  to  try  to  create  order,  and  the  quickest  way  dancers  find  control  over  themselves  is  through  their  mouths.  A  huge  stressor  on  dancers  is  the  expectations  for  what  their  bodies  should  look  like.  Many  dancers  fall  into  the  trap  of  eating  disorders.  They  can  have  complete  control  over  what  they  put  into  their  bodies  and  have  control  over  what  they  physically  look  like.  Bikram  believes  that  when  one’s  mind  is  weak  it  will  “constantly  feed  on  your  fears  and  negative  habits”  (216).  When  dancers  practice  meditation  and  strengthen  their  minds  they  will  begin  to  control  their  thoughts  and  they  will  have  control  over  themselves.  When  you  have  control  over  yourself  your  confidence,  determination,  and  self-­‐control  are  strengthened.  You  begin  to  have  higher  self-­‐esteem  and  you  feel  happiness  and  strength  not  to  cower  at  the  negative  thoughts  coming  your  way.  “Once  the  body  and  mind  are  trained  and  joined  in  harmony,  they  form  a  perfect  union  and  a  complete  human  being”  (7).  By  gaining  the  mental  strength  and  willpower  through  yoga,  dancers  will  have  higher  self-­‐esteem  that  will  limit  their  need  to  compare  themselves  to  other  dancers,  reducing  the  number  of  dancers  falling  victim  to  eating  disorders.  The  stress  and  pressure  from  the  outside  world  will  melt  away  and  they  will  begin  to  accept  their  powerful  bodies.     Dancers  bodies  are  being  pushed  to  new  limits,  which  can  have  a  negative  impact  on  their  bodies  as  well  as  their  minds.  There  are  certain  concepts  taught  by  Bikram  in  his  style  of  Hatha  yoga  that  can  easily  be  incorporated  into  dance  technique  classes  such  as  full-­‐lung  breathing,  compression  asanas,  and  meditation.  By  doing  so  secondary  education  dance  teachers  will  help  
  • 9. Bourne   9  improve  the  dancers  muscular  strength  and  flexibility,  which  in  turn  will  connect  the  body  preventing  further  injuries  from  occurring.    “It  makes  me  very  conscious  of  my  body  and  that  can  translate  into  preventing  injuries”(Samuels).  Through  meditation  and  concentration,  dancers  will  be  able  to  have  control  over  their  minds  and  have  a  strong  mind  body  connection,  increasing  their  self-­‐esteem  and  self-­‐control.  With  higher  self-­‐esteem,  dancers  will  not  fall  as  easily  into  the  trap  of  eating  disorders  that  plague  so  many  dancers  today  because  of  the  stresses  put  on  them  to  look  a  certain  way.  Overall  yoga  concepts  will  benefit  secondary  education  dancers  both  physically  and  mentally  and  will  help  to  create  healthier,  stronger,  more  technical,  and  well-­‐minded  dancers.                            
  • 10. Bourne   10  Works  Cited    Brungard,  Lori.  “Dancers  Discover  Yoga  Benefits.”  Dance  Magazine.  (2000):  n.  pag.  Web.  Choudhury,  Bikram.  Bikram  Yoga:  The  Guru  behind  Hot  Yoga  Shows  the  Way  to  Radiant  Health  and  Personal  Fultillment.  New  York:  Collins,  2007.  Print.          Choudhury,  Bikram  and  Bonnie  Jones  Reynolds.  Bikrams  Beginning  Yoga  Class.  Los  Angeles:  J.  P.  Tarcher,  1978.  Print.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cowen,  Virginia  S.,  and  Troy  B.  Adams.  “Physical  and  perceptual  benefits  of  yoga  asana  practice:  results  of  a  pilot  study.”  Journal  of  Bodywork  &  Movement  Therapies  9.3  (2005):  211-­‐19.  Web.  24  Jan  2012.                                                DiStasio,  Susan  A.  “Integrating  Yoga  Into  Cancer  Care.”  Clinical  Journal  of  Oncology  Nursing  12.1  (2008):  125-­‐30.  Web.  24  Jan  2012.                                                                                              Gura,   Shira   Taylor.   “Yoga   for   stress   reduction   and   injury   prevention   at   work.”   Work   (Reading  Mass)  19.1  (2002):  3-­‐7.  Web.  24  Jan  2012.                                                                                          “Hatha  Yoga.”  Encyclopaedia  Britannica.  n.  pag.  Web.  16  Jan,  2012.                    Hart,  Cady  E.F.,  and  Brian  L.  Tracy.  “Yoga  as  Steadiness  Training:  Effects  on  Motor  Variability  in  Young  Adults.”  Journal  of  Strength  and  Conditioning  Research  22.5  (2008):  1659-­‐69.  Web.  23  Jan  2012.              “Oxygen  Debt.”  Brian  Mac  Sports  Coach.  30  May  2011.  <http://www.brianmac.co.uk/oxdebit.htm  >  Samuels,  Shayna.  “Why  they  love  yoga.”  Dace  Magazine.  (2008):  n.  pag.  Web.  Thompson,  Jen.  “Training  right.”  Dance  Magazine.  (2008):  n.  pag.  Web.  “Yoga.”  Mosby’s  Dictionary  of  complementary  and  Alternative  Medicine.  (2005):  n.  pag.  Web.  16  Jan,  2012.