$15

8th Limb: Yoga/Dance Fusion

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Town Fitness

130 E. 12th Street

Oakland, CA 94606

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8th Limb Movement combines Modern and Contemporary dance styles with the principles of yoga. The class format itself mirrors the traditional formats of both yoga and dance classes. For example, class includes things like Sun Salutations and a meditation at the end, but there is also an across-the-floor section.

We start class with a more yoga-feel: everyone on their mats, focusing on the breath, working to slowly open, warm, stretch, and strengthen the body. My SmartFLOW and other yoga training knowledge is evident here, helping students create stability where there tends to be hyper-mobility, and balance where things tend to be off. This is where you’ll see Sun Salutations and other basic yoga movements. Typically there is also some time spent directly activating the core.

Then, we move to more dance-like warm-ups, keeping the yoga influence. For example, the first thing at this point is “isolations”, like most jazz classes include. But we start from the ground up, focusing on distributing the weight through all 4 corners of the feet. Then we use the isolation technique to find neutral from the feet to the head, until all students have explored what anatomical neutral is in their body. This is done to the beat of music, in a repetitive back and forth action. For example with the pelvis we tilt, tuck, tilt, tuck, a few times, and end in neutral.

After this point, we do some flowing movements that feel more dance like, but are essentially just flowing between yoga postures as a way to warm and challenge the body. One example is flowing from extended side angle (but with flowing, S-shaped arms), up to standing with straight legs, then to extended side angle with S arms on the opposite side, back up, and so on. We would take this back and forth several times until the movement becomes more intuitive to students. This is also done to the beat of the music. We do this with several different types of posture combinations and transitions, until students feel like they are dancing, just from doing yoga in a very different way. We may keep the mats for this section or not, depends on the exact movements that day. If the mats have stayed until this point, they would now be put away.

Students are then introduced to some floor work which is derived from Modern Dance. The floor work has students explore moving in all directions and all dimensions. It helps students understand a couple things: 1. How all areas of the body connect to each other. 2. how the floor is a useful tool in movement, and to not be afraid of connecting with the floor, and 3. How to translate one movement into another seamlessly, gracefully.

All the work we do on the floor then translates into our standing, dancing postures. At this point we do short across-the-room exercises, and then a simple center choreography in the middle if time permits. We do a short cool-down, and short seated or laying meditation to close class.

The main goal is twofold:

To give adults who “used to dance” a class that is accessible, inviting, and fun. I have met many yogis who used to dance, and are craving an outlet that offers more freedom than yoga does.
To teach “non-dancers” that they are completely capable of dancing! I believe dance is so freeing and so fun, no one should limit themselves by saying “I don’t dance.”

Of course, this class is open to anyone even if they have never danced or done yoga before.

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Town Fitness

130 E. 12th Street

Oakland, CA 94606

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