From dancer to yogi
I am a dancer. More specifically, I am a hip-hop, tap, jazz and modern dancer. I have had the honor of choreographing for all things involving dance for those ages 5 to 95 for the last 20 years. Even as I type that, it’s hard to believe I’ve been working in a field that I love for my entire adult life. What’s even harder to believe is that yoga has only been in the picture for the last five years.
Five years ago, I was in one of my typical funks, bored with life and ready to add another plate to the others already spinning. Pursuing a yoga teacher certification seemed like a pretty selfish ambition, because I actually had no desire to practice myself. I only wanted to use it as another means to make some money, to add another set of initials next to my name. Yoga seemed a lot like dance, and with 15 years of teaching under my belt, I figured the process of learning yoga would be a cake walk.
Yoga is hard. Yoga is a discipline. Yoga is not like dance. Through yoga, I’ve been challenged and changed in ways I never thought possible.
I honestly don’t know how I functioned creatively before my yoga practice. Yoga has, and continues to, open my creative and choreographic process in beautiful ways. After my morning practice, I’m able to find more focus and energy. I’m able to clear my mind, let my thoughts be free, and to think with just my right hemisphere of my brain. I’m in a euphoric mental state, my body is limber and the creativity and choreography often times just flow out. This was not the norm for me before my daily practice, but it is such a welcome change.
Beyond the personal benefits yoga has had in my life, the effect that it has had during my teaching times is truly amazing! When I work with students, many of whom are in the public school system, I find that my yoga practice helps give me more patience while teaching them and helping them find their gifts. I no longer feel the need to rush through choreography and, in turn, the students are more relaxed because they know they’ll be able to process the information in the time allotted in a much more supported environment.
In short, yoga has changed my life forever. My creativity has flourished because of it and I’m eternally grateful.
Lovar Davis Kidd is a Cedar Rapids native, licensed massage therapist and a E-RYT 200 & RYT 500 yoga instructor. He was trained by James Miller of Adamantine Yoga in Des Moines. He is also an assistant instructor at Carlson College of Massage Therapy, from which he graduated in 2007. This article was originally published in YogaIowa’s Summer 2017 issue.