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  Dance and yoga have many things in common. Both arts are preserved in the form of living traditions and teachers play a very important role in the preservation of the arts and their transmission from generation to generation.

As stated by Bharata’s Natya Shastra (circa 200 c.e.), the great Indian sacred treatise on dance and drama that contains the complete revelation, these arts were defined as: “The disciplines of contemplation to acquire higher knowledge and attain peace” and “the dance actor was an accomplished yogi expressing his mastery of the performance as in a yogic trance-like state.”

This is evidence that these two arts and disciplines were intimately united in the ancient past. Today, this direct link of yoga and the arts of dance and drama appear to be lost. Nevertheless, dance and drama continue to be potentially highly spiritual arts, even if in the actual existing practice there is almost no evidence of that yogic link.

Dance is par excellence; it is a devotional activity that purifies, as does yoga. You can experience discipline, perseverance through constant practice, repetitive effort and discrimination between the objective phenomenal and the subjective non-manifested spiritual “subtle energy”. We work constantly with the invisible forces, transforming the contrast of duality into unity. As in hatha yoga, one begins with the basics of body mechanics and gradually moves towards the subtler aspects of the art.

Another important similarity between dance and yoga is that it helps with the experience of “stopping the automatisms of the mind – yoga chitta vrittris nirodha.” Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. PYS 1: 2). This is achieved through regular practise to draw the mind away from worldly attractions and back into the focus – “your own nature”. Yogadance is a sublimity of action, penetrating the sacred space of extra-quotidian experience, which means, entering your body and space with spiritual comprehensive awareness and protecting it from the influences of disintegrating forces.

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