The Natya Body Method journeys to find strength, stability, balance with every step and meaning in each movement.
- “Just the Basics”
- “Krithika Basics”
- Beginner Pilates 1.0
- Advanced Pilates 1.5
- Advanced Pilates 2.0
- Stretch and Restore
- 10 Week Natya Body Program
Body Conditioning and Injury prevention in Bharata Natyam using the Pilates method
After a long day of practice, choreography and classes, you find yourself sore, exhausted and completely drained. Unable to press thru the next day of rehearsals, you use painkillers to push thru the pain. What if the pain never goes away? What if you are unable to dance thru the lower back pain you are experiencing. What if the ongoing inability to sit in an aramandi position is making the rest of your body hurt. How do you continue to do the art you love without injury while exhibiting strength, balance and stability in your body.
Today about 75% Bharatanatyam dancers experience some sort of lower back pain, knee pain and foot pain. The pain isn’t caused by the ground we stamp on, our bones or for that matter, what you ate that morning. A recent student at Duke University cited that lower back pain was the primary pain that Bharata Natyam dancers experienced caused by the improper delivery of the Aramandi position (gran plie). The pain isn’t caused necessarily by the position. It is caused by how we prepare to get into the position and what muscles we use to support ourselves to deliver it.
Lordosis of the Spine is one of the most common injuries Bharatanatyam.
Lordosis is the inward curve of the lumbar spine (just above the buttocks). A small degree of lordosis is normal. Too much curving is called swayback. Lordosis can affect your lower back and neck. This can lead to excess pressure on the spine, causing pain and discomfort all the way down and up your body. It can affect your ability to move and can eventually affect your hips, knees, and feet while challenging your balance, flexibility and stability.
Lordosis is the most common injury in Bharatanatyam dancers. We as practioners are constantly asking for them to “Sit More” in the Aramandi position. The goal is to sustain the aramandi with a neutral spine. For that you need your core to be strong and hold the work of the aramandi in your legs, not in your knees. Lordosis is often due to an imbalance between the muscles surrounding the pelvic bones. Weak muscles used to lift the leg forward (hip flexors) combined with tight muscles used to arch the back (back extensors), can cause an increased pelvic tilt, limiting movement of the lower back.
Why do dancers dance with their posterior end pushed back then?
It’s easier of course! They have not developed an awareness and strength in their core (abdominal strength), leg musculature to support themsleves. The dancer is working thru their movement with force, not control. Getting the job done isn’t the goal, The goal is to improve your posture, stance, movement every day a little bit at a time to move with Strength, Balance and Stability in your body. This prevents injury, creates longevity in the development of dancer, and develops the body to have the capacity to move with flexibility and progress to more demanding and challenging choreography.
The Natya Body Method
The foundational movements of the form can only be done if we are also conditioning our body simultaneously. Stretching, body awareness, strength training, core employment, restorative movement and proper nutrition will always have a major role in the ongoing development of the art. Our program has been cultivated from an understanding of the art, yoga, pilates and Gyrotonic teaching and training systems. Together a wholistic approach to respond to the dancers needs and create ongoing success in their goals and development. In art and practice there is no destination. It is a camera that is constantly calibrated to create the most perfect moment in that time.
This 10 week program is curated to take the adolescent/senior dancer to develop and maintain proper conditioning habits before, during and after every practice or performance.
Sthira: 10 Week Program
Sthira is a 10 week Program for body awareness, conditioning, flexibility and restoration: while preparing for higher level of dancer training. Sthira means to be strong, stable and steady. The program is curated to take the adolescent/senior dancer to develop and maintain proper conditioning habits before, during and after every practice or performance. Coming to the work with consistency and accountability to the practice will lead to growth both physically and mentally.
- Week 1 –Total Body Screen
- Full body assessment: Flexibility, strength, balance and mechanics of key movements will be assessed.
- 20 min of exercises to begin prior to your next session on a daily basis
- Week 2 – Pilates Leveled training exercises
- Initiation of one-on-one session.
- Potential video analysis of existing dance movement sample to access potential injuries that can occur from repeated movement and impact.
- Week 3 –Progression through Balance, Stability, Flexibility exercises and creating an exercise protocol tailored for your body
- Week 4 –Body awareness and agility in the mind-body connection
- Working away from mirrors, feeling the movement in the body and challenging balance and awareness in the spine and core
- moving thru the arms and legs with more complex movement conditioning, utilizing more weight bearing exercises
- Week 5 – Continue to tailor programming for injury prevention and becoming more aware of structural shifts in the body line
- Week 6 – 8 – Continue learning and progressing the work to develop a routine that supports and sustains your practice
- Working with consistency, you will continue the work at home with the protocol to ensure your success
- Week 9 – Follow up and Re-evaluation with a full body screen
- Week 10 – Discussion of results, video analysis review, and pilates plan for further success
- Progression plan with monthly checkins for 3 months
- Consistent check in with involvement in Natya Body Works pilates classes
Problems dancers face with Lordosis
- The interaction of the spine and pelvis is crucial in aesthetic sports. For instance, improper attempts to increase hip turnout in the dancer may lead to hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine with subsequent stress injury.
- Core and lower extremity strength and flexibility are crucial for the aesthetic athlete to avoid spinal stress injuries.
- Achilles Tendonitis. The long tendon on the back of the legs often takes repeated abuse when stretching and engaging in physical activities.
- Patella Femoral damage can occur with Lordosis as the pressure on the knees is highly impacted due to improper weight distribution, causing all the weight to press into the knees.
- Uneven posture and misalignment developes
- Collapsed arches may occur causing the ankle joint to fall inward also caused knee pain and meniscus damage
- Lordosis can lead to kyphosis which negatively affects the overall delivery of the performance. This can further damage the shoulder complex and cervical spine.
Benefits of the Natya Body Method using pilates
- Strengthening the core and it’s connections to the psoas muscles
- Creating Strength Stability Flexibility
- Strong elongated posture that reduces impact to the joints
- Easier movement that is graceful for transitions especially for ground to standing positions
- Muscular strength that supports lifted leg poses that create a stronger alignment in the pose for technical precision
- Ability to move easier through the choreography
- Prevents injury and pain
- Long sustaining careers in dance with conditioning support prevent injury and pain later in the life of a dancer