Beautiful Ballet For A Healthy Body
We’ve all seen images of ballet dancers performing skilful moves but ballet isn’t just a dance experience- it can develop strength, tone, flexibility, balance, and all-important grace — even if you haven’t got any from the beginning!
The simple truth is that ballet is a wonderful workout that will put you in the best shape of your life.
Asta Bazeviciute, founder and program developer of Ballet Body Sculpture, has created just that- a developed program which aims to achieve a healthy body profile using techniques from classical ballet, Pilates, stretching and strengthening exercises, confidence as well as motivational training.
Asta herself is an ex-professional principal ballerina, having worked with many top international ballet companies. Her expertise is drawn from years of mind and body development, training and working closely with top experts in coaching- as well as physiotherapy, physical and mental training in the international ballet and fitness world.
But what about the health benefits? Asta’s ballet brings countless health benefits, not only for the body but also for the mind, soul and consciousness. It helps you to get fit, lose weight and tone your body, creating a lean and elegant silhouette; it also strengthens the core, sculpts the legs and posture.
Ballet is also a great stress reliever and anti-aging treatment, as it benefits your heart, cardiovascular system, lung capacity and overall wellbeing.
Here are some of Asta’s beginner moves that anyone can use to learn the basics of ballet;
Pliés. Pliés, French for “bend,” is a simple movement in which you bend with your knees without your heels leaving the ground. A basic plié requires only a small bend, Pliés are the perfect exercise to begin a ballet warm-up, because they stretch every muscle in the legs, from your glutes through your inner thighs, to your ankles. Stand in first position with your heels touching and your feet in the letter V. Bend your knees, making sure your legs stay in a diamond shape, opening the knees to the sides, keeping your hips and back vertical, making sure knees go over your toes. Don’t forget to squeeze your glutes and pull up from your core as well as inner thighs when you stretch and pull the legs together.
Relevés. Relevés are the movements in which you raise your heels from the floor, rolling up onto the balls of your feet —relevés strengthen your feet and ankles, sculpt the calves and are a great foundation for jumps, pirouettes and further ballet techniques. Before attempting relevés, stretch your Achilles tendon and calves by pressing your palms against a wall and stepping your foot back, front knee stays bent. Once you’ve decreased stiffness in these areas, stand with your feet together in parallel or in first position with your toes slightly open to the sides, and rise the heals to half-point (the balls of your feet). Make sure to keep your posture, core, glutes engaged and don’t bend your knees.
Repeat this rise, or relevé, with multiple reps. Keep in mind, the intensity of the repetition may cause cramping if it does, you need to shake out your legs and stretch the calves again.
Port de bras, (French: “carriage of the arms”). Arm movements are great to tone the muscles of the arms and to improve posture. Try holding the arms open to the sides at shoulder level, pull the abdominal in and open the chest. Feel tall in the back through the whole spine. Gradually move your arms all way up without overly stretching the elbows and keeping the shoulders down. Once you’ve reached the highest point, bend the arms through the wrists and elbows and push them through the sides down towards the legs.
Repeat at least 15-20 times, whilst always engaging muscle resistance, like you are moving through thick air. Make sure your posture stays straight and shoulders are pushed down.
For new mums there’re a few areas of focus:
Posture: Over the 9 months of pregnancy posture can be seriously compromised. Looking after the baby in the first years can also badly effect not just your posture but also your back and spine health. That is why it is so important to address this as early as possible. When you use good posture, your muscles and other structures function properly, helping you to avoid abnormal wear and tear.
Strengthening core/pelvic floor/diastasis. Conditioning our core doesn’t mean we need to do ‘hardcore’ ab exercises. And for post-natal women, whose cores are compromised, it really should never be about starting there. Instead, you need to learn how to re-connect with the core muscles. It’s all about learning to breathe properly, aligning your posture, engaging the glutes, concentration and discipline.
Toning and sculpting the legs. During pregnancy and weight gain, leg muscles often expand and swell up. By applying the above specific ballet exercise techniques, it will help to trim, pull and squeeze all the leg muscles into correct places, so you can enjoy gorgeous legs!
Asta offers a variety of group and private classes in studios in London and Zurich as well as live-stream via Zoom. For those who like to exercise at home at a convenient time, she has a library with over 100 different video classes and courses.
The training is available to everyone, whether you are a male or a female, a beginner or advanced. Each class is professionally structured with exercise routines combining Pilates, Ballet and stretching techniques to take you on your journey to your full progress.
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