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What Your Yoga Teacher Wishes You Knew

Yoga has become a popular form of cross-training for ballet dancers, thanks to its stretching, strengthening and stress-relieving benefits. But it also poses challenges: How do you adapt your flexibility and turnout and shed your competitive nature to get the most out of class? Jennifer Goodman, a Chicago-based yoga instructor, freelance dancer and former Joffrey Ballet member, shares her tips for what you should and shouldn't be doing when you roll out your mat.

Don't push your flexibility to the max. It might feel nice to sink into a pose, but it won't do you any good. When you dial back your extensions, says Goodman, you start to gain strength to support your flexibility. And pushing too far could lead to injury. “Especially if you're in a heated yoga class, you can overstretch," she says, citing a fellow dancer who pulled her hamstring but didn't realize it until afterwards.

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Inside PT

You want to fuel yourself with foods that will give you the energy and nutrients you need to dance your best, but with all the conflicting information out there, it can be hard to figure out what's actually healthy. Last year, we found out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would be giving the classic Nutrition Facts food label a makeover, to make labels more accurate and easier to understand. The FDA finalized the new label last week, and announced that the new label is expected to be on most packaged foods by July 2018.

We broke down the biggest changes so you'll know what to expect on your future trips to the grocery store:

Photo via FDA

1. Serving sizes. On the new label, serving sizes reflect what a person is actually likely to consume in one sitting. For example, both 12 oz and 20 oz drinks will now be considered one serving (as opposed to listing 20 oz bottles as multiple servings).

2. Calories. The number of calories is now displayed in larger font, making it easier to find. "Calories from fat" has been deleted, to acknowledge the fact that there are healthy fats, too.

3. The new "added sugars" line. This will show how much sugar has been added to the food, and will include the percent daily value it makes up out of a 2,000 calorie diet.

4. New nutrients. Labels will now be required to list the amount of Vitamin D (to help you develop strong bones) and potassium (which reduces muscle cramps).

 

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