Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Benefits of Belly Dancing

image found on Pinterest here
This is a very appropriate post for today as it is National Dance Day! From the Dizzy Feet Foundation's page:

"Launched in 2010 by “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe, National Dance Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the last Saturday in July. This grassroots campaign encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity. NDD achieved national recognition when Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a long-time proponent of healthy lifestyles, announced at a press conference on July 31, 2010, in Washington, D.C., that she was introducing a congressional resolution declaring the last Saturday in July to be the country’s official National Dance Day."

Last Thursday, my daughter dragged me to a local belly dancing class. Although I have always wanted to learn how to belly dance (Think about Shakira in her music video "Hips Don't Lie." Who wouldn't want to be able to move like that?), I must admit that I was reluctant to go. Thoughts crossed my mind to the tone of, "But my belly is too big and soft; it will jiggle too much! and, "I'll look ridiculous!" These are the kinds of negative thoughts that I try and avoid having. And yet, there they were - a lingering poison in my mind.

Still, I wasn't going to let the negative voice in my head win, so I let my daughter drag me to the belly dancing class. There were women there of all shapes and sizes, and the really surprising thing was, once we started to move, I didn't feel self-conscious at all. Even more surprising, I felt sexy. I was shaking, wiggling  and moving my bum, belly and chest, as well as learning some beautiful arm movements, along with the rest of them, and I was having fun!

image found on Pinterest here

As we danced, I realized something else about belly dancing; there is not one muscle in your back, legs, stomach, buttocks and arms that doesn't get used during the various movements. It's a really great  all-over workout.

I felt more fit, more confident and more feminine (in a strong way) after just the one class. Those are all good things, so I feel great about recommending belly dancing for fitness. It's so fun, you hardly notice you are working out.

My 20 year old daughter Angelica found the class on-line and it wasn't far from us. It's called Helen Sleiman Dance and is run by Helen Sleiman herself. Helen is a cute, tiny little wisp of a woman who moves amazingly and has a really positive approach to teaching belly dancing.(She's pictured below.)  If you live in my area, you really should come join in with one of her classes.

photo from the Helen Sleiman Belly Dancing website
For those of you who still wouldn't feel comfortable belly dancing in front of others, I found a website called All About Belly Dancing that teaches in steps how to do the different moves and even has some videos to help show you.

There are also a lot of videos for belly dancing training and for belly dancing as exercise that you can find on Amazon. Read the reviews before you purchase to make sure you find one that is right for you.

So what do you think? Have I convinced you to give belly dancing a try? Let me know in the comments below.

You'll need to wait out the advertisement, but this is Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" music video on YouTube.

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