For all those who have given up on exercise, here’s some news.
A Bengaluru-based choreographer has developed an interesting dance technique that not only helps you achieve your goal of staying fit but also makes your body feel happy. Sumaiya Azeez’s dance therapy “stretch dancing” is not just a regular workout regime.
It is also an answer to those suffering from severe back problems. Introduced at a leading wellness centre in the city and at a dance studio, stretch dancing is a fun and easy way to get rid of back ailments.
The 24-year-old dancer, who suffered from severe back problems, is an example of how a stress-free technique can help keep your body healthy. Since she started last March, stretch dancing has been catching on. The form, she says is a combination of yoga, dancing and martial arts.
“I do not have 1,000 steps that I teach during the training. It is a 100 per cent stretch therapy based on basic yoga techniques. The idea is to make the body feel relaxed and happy and not stressed after the session,” says the trainer. Usually she conducts a one-hour class that is divided into four sessions.
The first session has slow movements that are specifically choreographed based on yoga, basic martial arts movements, steps of Tai Chi and Kalaripayattu. “Starting the class with such movements, helps build strength for the faster movements later,” says Sumaiya. The next is the cardio session which is a combination of disco, free-style, hip-hop and Bollywood jazz.
“A lot of hand movements and extensions with fast steps helps in burning calories and stretches the entire body,” adds the choreographer. The third session involves modern contemporary dance sequences with natural movements that relax the muscles. Finally she winds up the session with meditation.
“We all stress our body and put it under pressure and that’s the reason why most of us give up exercising. The body needs to be pampered and the subconscious mind needs to be understood. But we all end up increasing the stress instead of relieving it,” says Sumaiya who adds that her technique is beneficial to those with back problems.
“Backache is not necessarily because of spinal problems. It could be related to other nerve problems in the body. My yoga teacher told me about meridian points that need to be worked on to relieve the body of the aches. I concentrate on stretching that relieves the pressure that is built up at these points,” says the choreographer.
So does she use a lot of Bollywood and popular international tracks? She says, “I don’t randomly select songs. Every track that I choreograph needs to be in sync with the movements. Just because Chikni Chameli is the popular number, I don’t select it for my sessions,” says Sumaiya. An idea that came to her at the peak of her back problems, Sumaiya has lived through the pain to develop stretch dancing. “Balms and sprays were my best friends,” confesses the dancer.
It was after she met international dancers at the Contact Improvisation — Goa Dance Festival in 2010 and after training under Seshadri, her yoga guru, that Sumaiya was able to develop this technique.
“When I look back, I know where I went wrong. I don’t want people to suffer like me and repeat those mistakes. But my biggest achievement is to see my family be proud of me. They are happy that I am using my talent to help people stay healthy,” concludes the young trainer.
Published in Deccan Chronicle - Apr 9, 2012