Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science & Research Hospital, Sri Sri University, Cuttack

Physical & Mental Health through Indian Classical Dance

Physical & Mental Health through Indian Classical Dance


The act of moving one’s body in time with the beat of music, generally in a controlled location, to express one’s thoughts or feelings, let go of pent-up energy, or just to enjoy one’s own physicality, is called dancing. Yoga and Mudras are combined in a dance performance. There is a lot of interest in the link between dancing and health these days. Indeed, Indians have been using this kind of treatment for a long time, whether they realise it or not.

 According to Ayurveda, dancing has the potential to cure (therapy) and bring one’s inner self into focus (psychology). Sangeet (song, dance, and music) is also supported by Indian philosophy for the improvement of human health, both physically and psychologically.

 In a millennium-old Indian book known as the Natyashastra, it is believed that the relevance of psychology in the development of a natya (drama), which includes geet, badya, and nritya, was originally recognised (dance). Gestures, words, make-up, and the sattva (the sattva) are the four ways of representation (abhinaya), according to the Natyashistra.

 Depending on the situation, the eyes may give out a variety of distinct looks. Based on the bhava (psychological states) and emotions, several types of glances are given by the eyes (rasa). Eyeballs, too, are susceptible to the same kinds of alterations. Eyebrows, noses, cheeks, chins, necks, heads, limbs, and other facial features can convey a wide range of moods and emotions. Different body motions, hand gestures, and the movement of various body parts in different directions are all included. Modern India is still in its infancy when it comes to the production of these kinds of works. Dance therapy is being used by several organisations and institutes to help people’s lives.

The Therapeutic Value of Indian Classical Dance:

Musicality in Indian Classical Dancing Has Healing Power Anecdotal evidence suggests that Indian classical dances may have a therapeutic effect. To understand the growth of Indian dance, one must understand Indian philosophy and spirituality. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, this kind of dance therapy has long been used. In addition to providing physical and emotional benefits, dancing in its appropriate form increases one’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and the body-mind connection.

The North Indian traditional dance form is Kathak. Fast footwork (tatkar), spins (chakkar), and inventive use of bhav (expression) define this somewhat narrative dance genre (acting). Throughout history, it has evolved into a highly sophisticated system of rhythm and movement, capable of conveying intricate human dynamics while also transmitting abstract shape and composition. It’s not only the movement of the dancer’s body that conveys a certain emotion, but also the dancer’s hastamudras (hand gestures). As a kind of dance therapy, Kathak is a dynamic theatre. The dancer relies on ghungroos (dancing bells) to maintain balance during chakkars (spins), facial muscles for abhinaya (expression), appropriate positioning of the arms and feet, and other mudras and yogic gestures, among other techniques. One’s whole body is affected by Kathak’s stimuli. Anger and anxiety may be relieved by the quick feet.

 The therapeutic torso motions utilised in this dance style are now being used as a form of physical training as well as a form of therapy. Symbolizing the value of dance, Kathak is a pioneering method of communication.

 The Indian traditional dance Bharatnatyam is one of the most beautiful. Tanjore in Tamil Nadu is where it first appeared. The mudras (hand postures), abhinaya (facial expressions), and padams (rhythmic patterns) of Bharatnatyam are all traditional parts of classical dance (narrative dances).

The elegance and fluidity of this dancing style contribute to its therapeutic benefits. Some muscles, such as the rectus abdominis, the abdominal external oblique, the latissimus dorsi, and the gluteus maximus, had a significant impact on the results of the dancers’ survey. It’s another Kerala-based dance genre known as Mohiniattam, which developed in the region. It’s an elegant dancing style that’s easy on the eyes. Dancers often do solo recitals of this sort. The enchantress’s dance is the literal meaning of the term “Mohiniattam.” There are around 40 fundamental gestures, known as atavukal in Mohiniattam, that make up the art form.

The Health Benefits of Dance:

Dancing is a great way to remain in shape for individuals of all ages, sizes, and body types. has a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • Improve heart and lung conditions with this
  • Increase muscular strength, endurance, and motor fitness.
  • Increase aerobic fitness.
  • Improving muscle tone and strength
  • Weight management; stronger bones, and a reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Better coordination, agility, and flexibility
  • Improve balance and spatial awareness;

Different types of Indian classical Dance from where a person can get benefitted:

Raslila, a popular Manipuri dance relies heavily on body movement, footwork, and facial expressions. The Manipuri dancers, in contrast to other classical dancers, never hit the ground violently when performing. This prevents them from being hurt when dancing for a lengthy period of time. The delicate, lyrical, and elegant movements of Manipuri dance are a hallmark of the form.

Temple dancing in Odisha, India, is known as Odissi and is a kind of Odissi dance. A large part of the Odissi dance is based on the bhangi (basic nritya postures or gestures) that can be seen in Hindu artwork. The tribhangi serves as the primary inspiration for this type of dance (three dimensional body gestures). Odissi is the only dance style in which it is permitted to move the hips, while other dance forms forbid it. The natavara bhangi or tribhanga is a common stance in Odissi. When doing Odissi, the hips, body, and head are all deflected in the same direction as the hips to generate this effect. In this dance, the body is split in half and the weight is distributed equally on either half.

There are 36 distinct varieties of padaved (leg movement), seven types of bhramari (spin), and several expressions in the Odissi. Some of the core therapeutic movements of the dance are reinforced in this form via a variety of sitting, walking, jumping, and altitudes. Female dancers who perform these styles for an extended period of time have a slim waist and a delicate appearance as a result of their diligent training. Odissi dancers were shown to have excellent lung capacity and waist, hip, and thigh muscle control throughout the research.

 In Kuchipudi, the dancers move with a lightning-quick grace that is both rounded and nimble. In addition, it focuses on the therapeutic aspects of Natyashastra more than any other Indian dance style. In this dance, each facet of abhinaya, or expressive methods, is described in great depth. Various muscles, such as the adductors, quadriceps femoris, soleus, tibialis posterior, and peroneus longus, are shown by the dancers. Body balance and expression, as well as the contraction and relaxation of the muscles, all have a significant impact on therapeutic movements.


 Dance plays a significant function in health research and as a kind of therapy since it is primarily concerned with physical motions. Cultural features like theatre may also have a positive influence on human health, but dancing requires a lot of self-confidence, bodily control, frequent practice, and appropriate motions in order to have this effect.

 While this may be accomplished simply varying the pace of the dancers’ movements, it can also have a positive effect on dancing itself. Here, the length of time spent breathing and maintaining muscle control are critical components. Dancing may have a positive impact on a person’s well-being if they are of a certain age, if they have had an accident or if they are pregnant. Some health risks may be avoided, and issues can be avoided, by using dance therapy.

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