I had the pleasure to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet's opening night performance of Swan Lake last night. It was truly masterful and reminded me of my childhood ambitions to be a ballerina--before I realized that I was clumsy and uncoordinated. I may not be able to do a pirouette or kick my knee to my shoulder, but there are swan-like things we can do to stay limber, feel young, and improve our grace.
1) Hop on one foot. Every kid knows this is fun, but what we forget is how much it strengthens our hips.
2) Twirl around. This is best done in a clockwise direction, that is to the right. The Sufi practice adds the direction of having the right palm facing toward the sky and the left palm facing toward the ground.
3) See how far you can kick each leg up. This strengths the front leg muscles and stretches the hamstrings.
4) Move one arm (at a time) in an imitation of a graceful swan neck. Let all the tension out of your fingers, hand, and wrist to get the image of a swan head.
5) Slowly wave your arms up and down, like a swan taking flight.