Bellydance is probably the most misunderstood dance form to date. Often likened to stripping, or not to be taken seriously as a dance that requires any skill whatsoever compared to the more favourable dance forms of Ballet or Ballroom or Street dance and Salsa.
However, the reality of Bellydance is, it’s alot more skilful and harder to master than most people realise and with great physical and psychological benefits too.
As well as being high on the “fun factor”, a very important element in sustaining an exercise programme. It has a long and varied history with influences of various dance cultures and styles such as North African, Indian, Turkish, Greek and Western as well as it’s own Egyptian elements.
So what are the physical benefits?
There are manyphysical benefits that people are completely unaware of and the fact that Bellydance is a form of exercise for the following reasons:-
·Before any bellydance movement takes place the ability to exercise good posture should be established right from the start. A good Instructor will help correct a students’ posture at all times in order to increase this awareness helping dance moves to be executed safely and effectively.
·Increased flexibility in all the joints especially the hips and spine from moves such as body undulations affectionately known as Camels and Horizontal Figure 8 movements. This can help ease lower back pain or menstrual cramp pains.
·A smaller waist and flatter stomach can be achieved especially from the Vertical Figure 8 movement and abdominal rolls. These moves help massage the middle area toning the muscles and trimming down fat, helping to accentuate the feminine hourglass look.
·Tighter and more toned bottom and thigh muscles with Hip Drops, Hip Lifts and Hip Hits.
·The continuous contraction of quadriceps and hamstrings to support hip movements especially Hip Drops and Hip Lifts helps strengthen the legs.
Also, lifting the arms high, creates a resistance that tones and strengthens the arm muscles.
·Regular bellydance practice is essential for mastering its’ dance technique and flow and enjoyment. The music tempo can be either slow, medium or fast depending on choice and style. For Bellydance fitness workouts, drills of 30 minutes at least four times a week, to music with a BPM (Beats per Minute), of 120 – 130 will make you sweat , burn fat and lose weight.
The faster music of the Egyptian pop, drum solos or Modern Oriental often has a tempo of 130 BPM.The consistent repetition and variety of movements, travelling steps and shimmies will help to alter the Bodies BMI (Body Mass Index or Basic
Metabollic Index) Therefore creating a great cardio work out.
·The circulation is also improved with regular Bellydance practice especially with shimmies, which reduce cellulite around the bottom, tummy and thighs breaking up the adipose tissue freeing the brown fat that creates the cellulite orange peel look. So plenty of shimmying must be included in your regular work outs.
And the psychological benefits?
·Increased confidence levels, (i.e. belief in your abilities) and self-esteem, (i.e. belief in your own self worth as a human being at any given time or situation).
Helps you tackle lifes’s challenges more effectively and creates a feeling of centred importance and universal placement.
·An increased feminine awareness and sensuality which radiates a brighter aura and a more balanced, liberated and uplifted personality.
·A more grounded feeling of purpose, placement and possibility with the increase in knowledge of the dance and its’ background and history.
·A flood of “happy hormones” dopamine and serotonin which heightens positivity and excitability and helps relieve stress.
·A feeling of “I’m sensual and beautiful” as it is a very beautiful and sensual dance. This definitely rubs off on a woman and can only help heighten this way of feeling if you don’t already (especially when wearing the full regalia of an Oriental Bellydance costume!)
·An increased dynamic spiritual lift and a feeling of empowerment. (if only for a while at least) The deeper the journey into the dance the more life enhancing the experience may be acknowledging that you are a part of it in body and Spirit and it is a part of you.
The human body is the greatest tool you will ever be given, use it well.
Happy Dancing to you!