Dance and Yoga are two strong passions that recharge me with love and joy. Every time I practice either of them I curiously find important differences and similarities between them that help me go deeper into my inner essence.
The physical body’s movements, strength, balance, anatomical flexibility and breathing, are reasons to imagine bridges of similarities between them. To open our conversation one could argue that a big difference is that yoga is a science while dance an art; yoga is stillness and silence while dance is movement and sound.
Experts argue that dance can not exist without music. Gurus and sadhus have always been seeking for inner silence in their life long yoga practice. Hence enlightment might only be achievable by quieting the body and and the mind, while cutting off all senses.
This piece serves as an open conversation that can evolve as we continue practicing yoga and live in this era where its global wave rapidly increases. Today we can come across all sorts of styles that combine yoga and dance, but I would argue that the ultimate goal will never be the same.
It is worth noting that I consider easy to compare the practice of (Asanas) the third
member of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, specifically Ashtanga Vinyasa or any derivative as these are dynamic styles of Hatha yoga. Vinyasa is a synchrony of body movements with breath, which could be an attempt to meditative dancing.
Every time I dance I lose track of my mind, I allow my physical body to sense the
music and move freely with it. When I dance I’ve never felt practicing yoga or vice verse. When practicing yoga I never use music and seek the deepest inner silence. On the contrary, when I dance I need music and all its derivatives, I need to hear it, feel it, express it, and shake it.
Have you ever heard a song while your body naturally begins to dance? If it is a song that brings wonderful memories, your mind begins to create the imaginary past and even moves as it use to at that time. How about music in the shower? Music sparks the movement of our body, splashes the ecstasy of our endorphine, and injects happiness throughout our body and mind. Most of the times we even become singers; it is just wonderful.
In yoga this is not the case, we would argue that your only music is Ujjayi breath,
listening to your inner breathe and activating your prana, your life energy. Chanting mantras is another story to the Asanas, maybe we chant to start or end the practice, to echo our Sankalpa or intention, while creating vibrations that open a clear space in our minds, while educating and quieting our thougth processing.
Movement versus stillness are two very different states of body and mind. Something similar between the two is that in most dances there is a physical demand as in the Ashtanga Vinyasa style. The difference would be in its objective of expression, feelings and aesthetics. Some other differences could be the full presence of mirrors in dance, while its absence in the yoga as we aim at cutting off all our senses in yoga, especially sight.
When I dance I feel the strength that is beating off my body; I feel magical sparks of joy in my mind. Dance is an exciting art of movement and expression, one that deeply connects us to our physical body movements.
Contrary to dance, Yoga aims at healing and balancing our lives. The more I am able to connect to my physical body the more I understand myself, and learn how to control my challenges, while finding inner stillness, silence and pure happinness.
Thanks to life, thanks to dance, thanks to yoga and all those out there practicing them. Lets keep striking the pose!