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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014
Now, dance your way to good health
Shikha Sharma, Hindustan Times
May 02, 2014
First Published: 18:11 IST(2/5/2014)
Last Updated: 11:51 IST(4/5/2014)
Dr Shikha Sharma

Yoga has innumerable health benefits. An illness mostly occurs when there is an imbalance in our conscious mind, which leads to stress and its impact on the body. Lack of exercise and outdoor activity harm the body as well. But what also makes us ill is emotional imbalance.  

Interestingly, most people don’t know that many dance forms can heal some ailments. Natya Shastra is the fifth Veda, especially created as a synthesis of the other four.

Here’s how Bharatanatyam keeps you healthy:

* The dance requires an intricate connection between handwork, footwork and a sense of balance. That obviously helps develop concentration.

                         Dance often to stay fit
* The dance is often performed to devotional music and chants, which directly affects some healing chakras in the body. We all know the impact of the nada or synchronous music on the body cells and nerves.

* The dance form uses many postures which make the body flexible and increase blood circulation. This strengthens the spinal cord, muscles and improves body balance. Most bending postures ensure a healthy lymphatic drainage.

* The repeated floor-tapping footwork works like natural acupressure for the soles and also unblocks energy pools in the body.

* It also strengthens the muscles of the legs and the joints, keeping muscle injuries at bay.

* It is rare for a learner to get bored or lose interest in the dance, and hence compliance or regularity is very simple to accomplish.

* Most Indian dance forms exercise the facial and eye muscles. As a result, the dancer does not suffer from neck pain, joint pains or sagging facial skin. That is why it is not uncommon to see women aged 60 or more, dance for two hours without any problem. 

* It improves balance, grace and posture.

* The hand gestures or the hasta mudras also correlate to the yogic mudras. The hasta mudras are an energy balancing act. According to the shastras, the fingers carry the energy of the body, which has the four core elements: fire, water, air and earth and one element of space (shunya or neutralising power). The mudras or the hand gestures have a dual role. They balance the energies of the dancer and communicate the bhava.
Overall the classical dance form is a wonderful amalgamation of exercise, dynamic meditation, and chakra healing.

From HT Brunch, May 4
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