Meditation for Dancers: Move Like An Angel

meditation for dancers

In one of my online meditation lessons today, a student asked me about the benefits of meditation for dancers. She’s training to be a dancer and does a combination of ballet and modern styles. And she had heard that meditation can make you a better dancer.

I told my student that yes, indeed, meditation can make you a better dancer. Actually, there are numerous ways in which meditation helps dancers. It helps with everything from actually performing on stage to recovering. And it can ease your pre-audition stress.

Indeed, there are tremendous benefits of meditation for performers. 

I taught my student one of my special meditation techniques that I keep secret specially for my online students. And she has been doing it every day since. She tells me it has improved her dancing and—this bit I loved—she even said she enjoys dancing more now.

Best Meditation for Dancers

  1. Stand still with good posture. Note that it is traditional to stand in many forms of meditation, especially Taoist meditation. No, you do not need to sit. And it is better for dancers to meditate standing up.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Focus on the sensation of your breath moving through your body. Simply observe the breath moving through you.
  4. If thoughts, feeling, or external distractions come up, simply let them come and go. Continue to focus on your breahting.
  5. We are now going to scan your body. Focus on the sensations in your toes. Simply be mindful of all the sensations there. If you experience any discomfort, imagine breathing fresh air into the space and relaxing.
  6. Continue up through your feet. Notice the sensations there.
  7. Continue all the way through your body right to the crown of your head, simply observing the sensations.
  8. Now focus on your entire body.
  9. Take ten deep breaths and let go.

Other types of meditation for dancers include:

Open Monitoring: In Open Monitoring, we open the mind to the entirety of the environment. This is done, somewhat ironically, by focusing the mind on one spot, as we do in most meditations. However, once the mind is focused, we then deliberately allow all sensory information to flow through the mind unimpeded. This is the best meditation for dancers because it improves both creativity and spatial awareness.

Integrated Body-Mind Training: Any technique that involved consciously focusing on the body, especially if it also includes moving the body (such as in Tai Chi and Qigong). Many dancers enjoy Jon Kabat Zinn’s Body Scan meditation because it heightens mind-body awareness. However, because they also involve movement, it is likely that Tai chi and Qigong would be more beneficial for dancers.

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There are so many benefits of meditation for dancers

There are various skills a dancer needs to be successful:

  • Creativity
  • Physical fitness and recovery
  • Ability to communicate emotions through movement
  • Focus
  • Spatial awareness

These are all essential skills for dancers, and meditation helps with all of them.


Creativity

Research shows a direct link between meditation and creativity. However, to become more creative through meditation you need to use one particular technique: Open Monitoring.

Most traditional meditations do not help with creativity because they involve focusing the mind on one thing. To be creative, the mind needs to take different ideas or objects and combine them together into something new. That is the very nature of creativity. And that’s why most meditations don’t make you more creative. However, Open Monitoring does.

“Open Monitoring” is when we do not focus on one thing. Instead, we open the mind to the entirety of our environment. We let the whole environment enter our mind via our senses.

Research by Cognitive psychologist Loenza Colzato shows that Open Monitoring enhances our creativity.


Physical fitness and recovery

Whether you’re a Hip Hop dancer or a ballerina, you need physical fitness and the ability to recover quickly. Meditation helps dancers with both these things.

Essentially, meditation helps the body to enter a state that is ideal for both fitness and recovery. It reduces heart rate, reduces oxygen consumption, and heightens the immune system. In turn, it helps us to stay fit and to recover.


Ability to communicate emotions through movement

As a dancer, you need to be able to communicate emotions through movement. Logically, this involves two parts of yourself: Your brain, which processes emotions, and your body. You need your brain and body to communicate with one another effectively. Therefore, you need a strong mind-body connection.

You can improve your mind-body connection through any form of meditation that involves focusing on the body. The best methods for this are Integrated Body Mind Training Techniques.


Focus

If you want to be a dancer, you need high degrees of focus. Being able to move your body in the perfect way at the perfect time demands concentration. If you daydream for one moment, you’re liable to miss a beat that ruins your dance. Plus, choreographers want to know you’re focusing on them. Hence why another benefit of meditation for dancers is concentration.

We all already know how powerful meditation is for concentration. After all, arguably no one in the world has higher levels of concentration than a Zen monk. And they spend all day meditating.

If you’d like to increase your focus, use any “Focused Attention Meditation”. That is, any meditation in which you focus on one object (such as the breath or a sound).


Spatial awareness

Is there any profession in the world that requires better spatial awareness than dancing? I doubt it. After all, dancing is essentially the skill of moving the body through space. And so, logically, we need very high degrees of spatial awareness. And thankfully, meditation can help. Indeed, this is also why so many athletes meditate.

A recent study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science shows that meditation improves spatial awareness.

In particular, the research shows that Deity Yoga and Open Monitoring improve spatial awareness. Deity Yoga involves creating a very detailed 3D mental image of a deity. And Open Monitoring involves opening the mind to the entirety of the environment. Both these methods produce a temporary boost in spatial awareness, ideal before an important dance routine.


Summary

In this article, we have looked at the benefits of meditation for dancers, and the best types of meditation for dancers.

Here’s a recap:

Benefits of meditation for dancers:

  • Creativity
  • Physical fitness and recovery
  • Ability to communicate emotions through movement
  • Focus
  • Spatial awareness

Best meditation for dancers:

Are you a dancer? Would you like to get the very best out of meditation? Book an online meditation lesson with me today.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. "My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation" - Paul Harrison

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