Intermediate Yoga Sequences

Yoga for Dancers: Poses that Build Strength + Focus

Get started with this short sequence that honors a dancer’s impulse for expression and creativity while requiring thoughtful form.

Get started with this short sequence that honors a dancer’s impulse for expression and creativity while requiring thoughtful form.

A yoga mat can sometimes feel small and restrictive to dancers, accustomed as they are to moving across the expanse of a room or a stage, but rolling out a mat regularly can lead to better dance performances. Dancers—no matter their style—who practice yoga stand to gain muscle strength, joint stability, and inner focus for their work. While a dancer’s range of motion is much greater than average, flexibility does not ensure proper alignment in poses and could result in injury, so take it slow and listen to instructions. Get started with this short sequence that honors a dancer’s impulse for expression and creativity while requiring thoughtful form.

See also Asana for Snowboarders: 4 Poses to Shred the Slopes

Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana, variation

GOOD FOR stretching the hands, wrists, shoulders, and hamstrings; calming the mind.

From Downward-Facing Dog, energize your quadriceps by lifting your kneecaps. Firm your arms, gaze toward your belly-button, and lengthen your spine by reaching your tailbone toward the ceiling. On an inhale, lift a leg up, toes facing down, and spiral your upper thighs toward one another. Square your hips and press the bottom foot into the floor. Hold for 1 minute, keeping your breath fluid. Lower your leg; switch sides.

See also Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog: The Ultimate Hip Opener

Plank Pose, variation

GOOD FOR toning the back, core, and arm muscles; improving stamina.

From Three-Legged Down Dog, exhale and round your spine as you draw your lifted knee toward your chest, positioning your shoulders over your wrists. Inhale to round your upper spine toward the ceiling, drawing your bellybutton upward. Bring your lifted thigh close to your chest. Inhale back to Three-Legged Down Dog. Do 3 reps. Lower leg; switch sides.

See also Plug Into Your Core Power

Side Plank Pose

Vasisthasana

GOOD FOR strengthening arm, core, inner-thigh, and back muscles; improving balance.

From Down Dog, shift onto the outside edge of your right foot and stack your left foot on top of the right. Swing your left hand onto your left hip, turn your torso to the left, and support the weight of your body on the outer right foot and right hand. Firm your shoulders against your back; make sure right wrist is under shoulders. Extend your left arm to the sky and gaze up. Hold for 15–30 seconds. Lower back to Down Dog; switch sides.

See also Modify Side Plank Pose: Align Your Shoulders + Core

Side Plank Pose, variation

Vasisthasana, variation

GOOD FOR toning oblique and inner-thigh muscles; increasing coordination.

From Side Plank on the right side, shift your weight onto your left foot and bring your right leg forward so your right foot is almost in line with your hips at a 90-degree angle. Gaze up at your left hand. Hold for 15–30 seconds. Exit the pose by coming back to Down Dog. Switch sides.

See also Plank + Side Plank Core-Building Sequence

Meet Our Pros

Teacher Sarita Lou is a New York City–based dance and yoga teacher and creator of the web series For the Love of Dance.

Model Lucy Wallace is the owner of Alchemy of Movement studio in Boulder, Colorado, which offers dance classes that incorporate yoga.