If you haven’t already, it’s time to infuse a little yoga into your stretching routine. It takes very little time to incorporate (10 minutes max), and the benefits are outstanding when it comes to balance, breathing, focus, muscle strength and flexibility.
Yoga helps connect your mind and body, giving guard members a better sense of where they are in space and how body parts work together. Considering that our activity is all about manipulating our bodies and equipment through space while performing, this seems to be a win-win benefit.
Most of the time our conversation centers around whether or not guard performers are breathing. Yet the more important topic should be how they are breathing. Yoga teaches the correct way to breath by utilizing the diaphragm to breathe in and out—deep and beneficial, not shallow and quick. If guard members learn how to breathe effectively, it will increase core stability and abdominal muscles incredibly.
The motion of yoga helps create peace of mind and a stress-free environment. The advantage of starting a rehearsal with this mindset pays dividends in the quality of retention when it comes to choreography.
Muscle Strength and Flexibility
Yoga works both the small and large muscle groups, allowing for greater strength and ability to dance and spin. In addition, every pose in yoga is intended to focus on a few areas at a time and allows individuals to stretch as much as possible without sudden movements that can cause injury.
If your guard is trying yoga for the first time, make sure to work in the beginning level. Simply search on the Internet for “beginning yoga poses or techniques,” and a plethora of options will be presented. Another option would be to purchase a DVD, so your team can watch while doing it. The benefit of this option is that the video would have an instructor who is continually demonstrating the correct way to create poses and reminding your guard to breathe.
About the Author
Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity for the past 20 years. She is currently an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC); she travels to many other circuits throughout the United States as a guest adjudicator. For the past four years, she has held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC. She has a master’s degree in education and currently teaches middle school language arts.