Your Best Body

Do you have difficulty remembering choreography? Try spraying on some rosemary oil before rehearsal. A recent study at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in the UK found that smelling the scent of rosemary could help boost your memory. Researchers think this might be due to eucalyptol, a compound found in rosemary oil that evaporates into the air and can be absorbed as you breathe, and has been shown to play a part in memory formation when it reaches the brain.

I’ve always told myself that when my ankle swells, that's just my body attempting to heal itself. I'm not completely wrong: Inflammation—and the swelling, heat, pain and redness that comes with it—is our body’s first response to injury. However, sometimes this attempt to destroy the damaged tissue goes a little too far and our body starts attacking healthy tissue, too. That's where anti-inflammatory medications come in, preventing the negative consequences of inflammation. The only problem?

The monthly cycle of blues and bloating before your period can make dancing feel infinitely more difficult. But there's good news: A recent study from the University of Massachusetts shows that simply adjusting your diet can reduce PMS symptoms. The researchers followed 3,000 women over 10 years, assessing physical and emotional PMS symptoms as well as diet. The results showed that a high intake of iron decreased PMS symptoms. The type of iron that works best is found in plants and supplements, not in meat.

Fruit can be a difficult snack to pack in a dance bag—one wrong squish and juice gets all over your pointe shoes.

 

Need a quick workout on the go? Download Yogify, a free app for the iPhone or iPad produced by EA Sports. It comes with five sample classes ranging from 15 to 45 minutes long, beginner to advanced level—plus the option to purchase up to 40 additional classes. Although it's not the same as having a live teacher in the room, the program makes everything super clear. Before you even start the video, you can preview the series of poses with a step-by-step list of pictures (including tips on how to perform each correctly). Best of all?

Some mornings, the only thing I want to eat is an ice cream sundae. (Okay, maybe most mornings.) A healthier option? A yogurt parfait. With some maple syrup and crunchy granola, this recipe from Pointe's favorite dancer-chef, Shelby Elsbree, hits the spot no matter how badly my sweet tooth is acting up.

 

Greek Yogurt & Granola Parfait:

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1/2 cup of apple sauce

1/3 cup of granola

1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup

You're jealous of her extensions. You compete with her for the same roles. You wish you didn't resent her as much as you do, but when she gets that smug look on her face after your director gives her a compliment, you can't help it.

 

When Carrie Lee Riggins joined New York City Ballet at 16, she had no clue how to cook. And living in New York City, she never had to—delivery was just at the other end of a phone call. Jump ahead sixteen years to the present day, and she found herself still lost in the kitchen. So she wrote an email to the Food Network’s reality competition show “Worst Cooks in America,” featuring restaurateur Bobby Flay.

Ballet dancers are no strangers to aches and pains. Because we know our bodies so well, we sometimes fall into the dangerous habit of self-diagnosing. A new free app, HealthTap, lets us refer our health questions to knowledgeable physicians. Over 32,000 licensed medical professionals weigh in on all sorts of questions to help spread much-needed accurate medical knowledge. Dancers have already started to take advantage of the application, asking questions about bunions, foot spasms and toenail bruising.

The night before a big audition comes with a terrible catch-22: You know you need to get a good night's sleep to be on top of your game in the morning, but with all of the anxiety and nerves coursing through your body, it becomes nearly impossible to nod off.

 

What can you do? Here are 5 surefire steps for getting on the express train to Dreamland.