Intersections between Modern and Contemporary Dance and Yoga Practice:
Updated: Feb 12, 2022
A Critical Analysis of Spiritual Paths through Body Movement and Choreography
Bodily movement, rhythmic response, physical exercise and related techniques are sources of spiritual awareness. Yoga and dance are both concerned with the relationship between spirituality and the physical body. This paper presents a literature review of yoga and modern and contemporary dance as spiritual bodily practices. An electronic literature search was undertaken using Scopus, Google Scholar, CINAHL, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science databases to examine the integration of modern and contemporary dance with yoga practice. The review reveals a number of important choreographic and spiritual similarities between these practices, including coordinated movement of the body with the breath, sequences of movements, rhythm, gestures and energy management. Many modern and contemporary dancers, choreographers and artists, such as Graham, include yoga techniques in their choreography and teaching. Through bodily movements, yoga and dance allow for self-awareness and self-perception, which aid in connecting the body, the brain and the soul with the divine. The paper finally suggests and describes how a combination of these two practices may be applied in conjunction with rhythm and music to enhance spirituality through body movement. This paper sought to expand the ways in which movement through yoga and modern and contemporary dance can be considered and practiced in relation to spirituality.