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So You're Hypermobile. Here's How Pilates Might Help

My hypermobility used to cause me a lot of trouble, but I've gained confidence and strength after reading about it in one of your columns. I now have a Pilates instructor who's retraining my body and helping me dance in a consistent way. Thank you!

—No Longer Anxious, Philadelphia, PA


As you've discovered, addressing hypermobility through a cross-training program like Pilates can do wonders. It can even be more effective than taking multiple dance classes a day, which could reinforce bad habits. Why? Hypermobile dancers lack sufficient muscle receptors. This collagen syndrome means your muscles and ligaments are similar to stretched-out rubber bands.

But a Pilates instructor who knows how to work with hypermobility can teach you to engage the right body parts instead of gripping or moving beyond a safe range of motion. If you retrain your body, you'll be able to recruit specific muscles in a predictable way, so you don't feel like your technique varies from day to day. Enjoy the benefits of your hard work.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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