When you go to dance class, are you embarrassed because you are not as flexible as the other dancers? Don’t worry. With some time and effort, you can be more flexible… but don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Also note, that just because people are flexible, it doesn’t mean they are good dancers. Numerous times, I’ve been warming up in class and notice how flexible some of the dancers are. I think to myself how they must have been dancing for a long time and can’t wait to see their moves on the floor.
However, I’m usually disappointed when these people start to dance. They may be flexible, but they still need some extensive, dance training!
With this in mind, how do you become more flexible?
As a tall person who didn’t start taking professional jazz classes until I was in my twenties, I had a lot of catching up to do. I was not very flexible at all. But the good news is, you can become more flexible. I worked at it, and today, I can still do the splits, put my head to my knees and more… much more than dancers who are a lot younger than me. Want to know what I did? Here are my tips:
When you first start to dance, you want to be as flexible as possible. But this is not a process you can speed up. Plus, if you stretch too hard and too fast, you can pull muscles. Then, it will take you even longer to become flexible!
To start your stretching process, learn how to stretch the right way from your dance instructor or an experienced professional.
For example, when you stretch your legs while sitting on the floor, don’t start with your legs in a full second position. Instead, bring your legs in so they are slightly apart (maybe even with your shoulders). Point your toes and pretend like you are pulling the underside of the legs back towards your body. Your knees should be facing the ceiling.
Now, slowly bring your body forward with your arms to the side of your body. Try to keep your shoulders from going forward and bring your entire body down in a straight line. As soon as you feel a tug on your legs and can’t go any farther, stop and hold the position. Then come up slowly. Repeat this process with your legs out a little farther in second each time.
Just be sure you are stretching correctly. While it may be tempting to bend your knees so that you can bring your body down farther, don’t do it! You are only hurting your ability to increase your stretch.
Rest and repeat.
Once you know the proper way to stretch, try to work on your flexibility every day with resting periods between your stretching activities. Concentrate on doing the stretches correctly, and make sure you are pointing your toes, your legs are not bent and you have the appropriate, body placement. This way, you will increase your flexibility and avoid injuries.
The key to becoming more flexible is stretching the right way and often. It takes a lot of dedication and effort. But over time, you’ll notice that you can get closer to the ground and your flexibility will improve. The good news is that all of your hard work will pay off in the long run. Once you get the flexibility you want, you just need to work at maintaining it the rest of your life!
All the best with your stretching activities and increasing your flexibility!