Sassy Saturday: The Exhaustion of RELAXING

Posted: Oct 24 2015

This is something I think only ballerinas will understand: Relaxing is HARD. You're having a bad day – recovering from injury/illness, etc – and your friend/parent/teacher says, "Take it easy," before barre. What do you meeeaaan take it easy?? Not go 120%??? HAH! Like THAT'S possible...

channeling my inner giselle when i'm told to work less hard. DANCE TO DEATH. MUST BE PERFECT. (like natalia.) (source)

I've actually tried "taking it easy" for class/rehearsal before and yes, IT'S EXHAUSTING. Imagine not pulling up during tendus and pliés. Imagine relaxing your shoulders during grand battement. Imagine trying to relax, period, during allegro. As tiring as it is to dance ballet, "relaxing" while doing it is 10x more exhausting. 

This isn't only during class/rehearsals; relaxing after class is just as difficult. Have you ever used a foam roller? (They're only the best thing ever. I'd 10/10 recommend buying one.) Using a foam roller is fantastic for releasing the tightness of your muscles... but it also tightens some other ones. Foam rolling your legs, for example, is exhausting. You're propped up on your arms and in a sorta-plank position and you need to move your body back and forth. While thinking about relaxing your leg muscles. And not screaming from pain. *cough cough rolling your IT band* 

Have you ever soaked your muscles/body in ice? The purpose of taking an ice bath is to relieve soreness, but my muscles probably get more tight and tense from the FREEZING ICE. How does one expect me to RELAX when I'm in a bathtub of ICE? It's like walking through the Arctic, with no clothes on, during winter. Yeah, I'm definitely relaxing. 

Conclusion: Relaxing is more difficult than going all out.

Do you have any tips on relaxation? How do you make relaxing easier? Let us know in the comments!