Belly dancing is an interesting topic and for me personally something I could talk about nonstop. In last week’s editorial we explored what belly dancing was, why it is so sensual and divinely feminine and truly magical but this week I wanted to explore why belly dancing is so good for women!
There are a number of physical health benefits to belly dancing that I would like to explore with you.
- Improved posture and muscle toning; our spine consists of many bones, ligaments and muscles. All of these elements combined allow movement in the trunk, pelvic and abdominal area. When dancing these muscles are toned and remain very flexible. AS a woman dances, synovial fluid is released, allowing for these joints to be lubricated. The more she dances the more these muscles are toned and the joints lubricated and therefore work together, building up great posture and thus preventing back pain. Toning the muscles in a ladies arm is another great aspect to this dance form. Let’s face it, we all dream of not having those flabby upper arms! Arms have to be used as a prop to frame your dance style and therefore your arms will be placed in various positions for long periods of time. This type of exercise is considered low-impact which means that the risk of injury is minimal (BUT the steps and movements have to be done correctly in order to avoid injury!)
- Weight loss; Belly dancing can easily burn up to 300-400 calories per hour! Read this sentence again! Yes, you read right, 300-400 calories an hour! If you follow a controlled healthy diet and combine this with belly dancing, not only will you lose weight but you will keep it off, be fit and healthy and you will have a beautiful toned body! Please note, you may not ever have a 6 pack but hey that isn’t the true feminine form!
- Preparation for childbirth; It is believed that belly dancing is great for not only pre-natal exercise but it is also recommended for post-natal exercise. If you are planning on having natural childbirth then belly dancing would be perfect to prepare and strengthen your pelvic and abdominal muscles for pushing. It is recommended that the first few weeks (whilst healing) from childbirth is to dance, to aid in the healing process. Caution, make sure your instructor is aware of this and that she helps you through this process.
- Stress reliever; It is a no brainer that we live in a society that thrives on stress. We are constantly stressed out! And although we have somewhat learnt to adapt to our stressful lives, it is still important that we find an outlet to let go! As with everything, we need to be fully present in what we are doing. With belly dancing to learn the moves, you have to be fully present to get it. Already you mind has eliminated the worries of the day. With stress comes tense muscles, lactic acid is produced and deoxygenated blood is kept within these muscles. When dancing, the lactic acid is expelled and the oxygenated blood is delivered to these sore and tense muscles.
- Aiding digestion; by moving that torso of yours, you are aiding your body in helping food move along the digestive system. For most woman this is huge bonus! How fabulous is it that you can assist your body in eliminating waste?!
But that’s not all, there are a range of emotional benefits as well;
- Improve relationship with self; we as woman have been so caught up about being career women, wives, mothers and the list can go on. But how many of you, honestly, know who you are? Who you really are? How nice would it be to just be? Listen to the music and move those hips? How nice would it be to feel? Feel whatever, be it anger, sadness, joy, hate. Whatever, just to feel?
- Life transitions; Life is always about its ups and downs. When we are up we are very up and happy and content but when life knocks us off that peddle stool, then what? Our life crumbles?! Imagine creating your space, where you can just dance those hard times away even if that is for an hour twice a week?
- Feeling of “being stuck”; Hands up – who feels stuck? Both my hands are up. And I am not talking about stuck in every aspect of my life, just some. By dancing, you are actually allowing movement, actual physical movement back into your life. This allows you to start thinking differently and hopefully help you become unstuck!
- Celebration of life and personal growth; what about the good stuff? We has woman seem to get caught up in the downs, the stresses of life but do we celebrate the good? I mean really celebrate? Why not just dance? Dance with life? Dance to celebrate. Let those endorphins kick in and make life even more joyous!
After reading all these physical and emotional health benefits to belly dancing; why wouldn’t we as woman want to connect with our inner being? Why wouldn’t we want to connect with mother earth? And why wouldn’t we want to dance from the soul?
To catch a workshop in SA or to partake in lessons, please contact Nirapa School of Dance for more information on 0836509283 or firstname.lastname@example.org
My abundant love and gratitude to you always,
Katherine Dawson Health Republic