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Dance Stretches that improve your balance & wellbeing

Hello, I am Mariana Parma, when it comes to dancing, stretching exercises are vital in improving your flexibility, strength, balance, & stability. Not only is stretching great to warm up your muscles for physical activity, but certain stretches help to prevent injuries and promote an overall wellbeing.

Here are my top 6 go to Stretches that are easy & fun to do

After many years of dancing, I have my favorite stretches that I have benefitted from tremendously. My favorite time to stretch is first thing in the morning or before any physical activity. It helps quiet my mind, get me centered and prepares my body to get ready to move. Here are my top 6 stretches and their benefits:

Lets begin from the base, Feet Stetches:

1.Flexing and pointing your feet:

A great active stretch, can be done sitting in a chair, lying on a mat on the floor. On a chair extend your legs straight out and flex your toes up keeping heals on the floor, and point bringing your toes to the floor, your heals will slightly come off the floor. On a mat sitting up straight extend both legs straight out in front of you, and point your toes toward the ground and flex one foot, bringing toes upward and alternate from one foot to the other. Recommendation do at least 10 counts of flex and point. Rest and repeat, 2-3 reps.

  • Increases your flexibility

  • Strengthens your ankle

  • Increases your range of motion.

  • Increases blood flow to your muscles & reduces swelling of the ankles.

2. Relevés:

Is a classical ballet term meaning “raised.” Standing up with your weight evenly on both feet, slowly and controlled raise your heels of the floor, onto the balls of your feet. Make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned on top of each other, engaging your core. Hold for at least 8 to 10 counts, and slowly lower the heals back to the ground. Repeat this at least 3 to 5 times, and gradually increase the repetition when you feel you are able to do it with ease. You can also do this holding on to a chair or edge of a table for more support. This is a great strengthening stretch.

  • Increases blood flow to your muscles.

  • Improves your posture.

  • Helps to heal and prevent back pain.

  • Strengthens your core.

  • Activates your calf and thigh muscles building up the muscles.

3. Wrist Stretches:

I love these, its a great way to wake up our hand receptors and engage the arm muscles. Great for dance partnering connection.

Simple exercise, place one arm straight out in front of you making a stop sign with the opposite arm straight out in front with finger tips downward as if you are showing off some amazing ring, and place above the stop sign hand, and gentling pull the finger tips facing upward towards you. Try each side holding for about 5 seconds each side, and then above your head. After you do the stretch on each side, gently circle your wrist.

  • Increases your range of motion in the wrist.

  • Improves blood circulation in the arms.

  • Activates your nerve endings for better reception when partner dancing, improves your hand holds and mobility.

  • Releases tension in the hands and wrist.

4. Cat & Cow stretches:

As they are called in Yoga, Have great physical and medical* benefits. You can do this on a chair or on a mat, placing with both hands, and knees onto the mat.

On a chair, sitting up nice and straight placing your hands on your knees, curve your back inward creating the letter C dropping the chin towards the chest and breathing out. Then curving the back the opposite way by arching the back, sticking your tale bone out and chin going up towards the ceiling.

On the mat, on all fours, starting with a straight back, eyes facing the ground, curve your back inward creating the letter C dropping the chin towards the chest and breathing out. Then curving the back the opposite way by arching the back, sticking your tale bone out and chin going up towards the ceiling. Repeat this slowly curving in like a scared cat , curving out like a Mooing cow. You can turn this into circular movements by creating circles with the head and hips at the same time.

  • Increases your flexibility.

  • Increases your range of motion in your back.

  • Increases coordination.

  • *Massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands.

  • Creates emotional balance.

  • Relieves stress and calms the mind.

  • Improves your posture.

  • *Helps to heal and prevent back pain.

  • Is great for stress relief.

5. Plank:

A more advanced stretch and strength building exercise. Get down on your mat and place your hands on the floor with straight arms, directly underneath your shoulders. Your hands should be extended and your body lengthened. Tuck your tailbone and ensure you engage your arms, legs, and abs to prevent your spine from arching toward the mat. Tuck your toes under and lift your knees, so that your body forms a straight line keeping your eye gaze looking toward your mat. You can modify this by bending your knees and placing your elbows down on the Mat, keeping your core engaged and back straight avoiding arching your back. Holding your plank for 20 to 30 seconds, building up to 1 minute or as longer as you can. This tones all of the core muscles of the body, including the abdomen, chest, and lower back.

  • Strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine.

  • Improves your performance in physical activities by strengthening your core.

  • Improves your posture.

  • Tones all your ab muscles including your arms and legs.

  • Is great for stress relief.

6. Child's Pose:

Kneel on the floor and touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Lay your torso down between your thighs. Relax your forhead on the mat and lengthen your tail bone back, and lengthen your arms forward. This is a great resting position that you can go to whenever you need release tension or stress.

It lengthens and stretches the spine. *You can start and end your stretches with Child's Pose.

  • Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest.

  • A great hip opener.

  • Massages the body's internal organs and keeps them supple.

  • Helps alleviate stress and anxiety.

There are many benefits that you can achieve from stretching, these are just some of the ones that I try to do at least once a day. If you already stretch great, if you don't try at least one from my top 6 stretches. And make sure you breath into the exercises, don't hold your breath. Let me know how it goes. Stayed tuned for my next post. Until then, Stretch on!

*Work out clothes by #Nancy Rose Performance, designed in New York City, by local bred and born New York female designer and manufactured in Peru. Nancy Rose only partners with eco-friendly factories that use fair labor practices. *Supporting local designers.


Disclaimer: All views expressed on this site are my own opinion and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affilated.

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