Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Want to Get Your Belly Back in Shape? Try Belly Dancing!

Once you fall into a regular schedule with your baby you will find that you do not have too much time to concentrate on yourself. Many women are bothered by the extra weight from the baby that seems resistant to go away no matter what they do. One suggestion that is not boring or run of the mill is to learn to belly dance. Belly dancing is becoming more popular in modern society, thanks to singers such as Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Besides being an art form, belly dancing is enjoyable, sensual and it is fitness all rolled into one. Belly dancing is not specific to any age group, size or physical fitness level and while it is more of something women do, men can learn to do it as well! Let us take a closer look at belly dancing.

The History of Belly Dancing

Belly dancing is thought to be the newest form of Pilates but its roots go back a long time. Belly dancing is an ancient dance that got its start in the Middle East and originally was used as a ritual to encourage fertility. Belly dancing allows for an aerobic as well as a cardiovascular workout and best of all, it is fun to do. This form of ancient dance supports many things, which include physical activity, healing and a strong sense of innovation and creativity.

The belly dance is characterized by sensuous moves such as an undulating torso, swaying hips, curving patterns, and shaking or quaking kinds of body movements. As well there is plenty of thrusting motions, drops, lifts and locks that focus specifically on the motion of individual body parts such as the fluid motion of arms and hands moving in synchronicity and the constant motion of the midriff. The stomach is an important area of emphasis when it comes to belly dancing. This is good because so many women dislike this part of their body a great deal and are always looking for ways to better tone their midriffs.

Costume of a Belly Dancer

As previously mentioned, belly dancing can be done by men but is more commonly done by the fairer sex on account of the fact that this kind of dance is generally regarded as a universal symbol or celebration of being female as well as an expression of the things that women share in common with one another. It is a form of female bonding in celebrating the similarities of women. Colorful costumes and bright decorative jewellery are worn which calls attention to the femininity of a woman when it comes to her breasts, stomach, waist and hips.

The standard or conventional costume for a belly dancer is a bra and a hip-belt set that is worn over either a circular or straight floor length skirt. Some dancers favor a gown known as a ballade dress as opposed to a bra and skirt set. To the gown they add a hip-scarf or hip-belt to pull the look together. Some belly dancers in advanced stages add to their costumes even more by including a chiffon or silk length of fabric to make this sensual dance even more sensual. They might even play finger cymbals to accompany the belly dance. The grace, power and strength of being female are messages that are meant to be clearly communicated through the fine art or performing the belly dance. Belly dancing is inherent with many themes, the most common being a dance that celebrates birth, life and creativity, a dance that celebrates women in all of their glory, a dance that celebrates beauty and a dance that celebrates the female form.

Experience All of the Advantages of Belly Dancing For Yourself

There are many advantages to learning to belly dance. Belly dancing allows those who do it to forge a stronger and deeper connection to their own bodies, which is always a positive thing. Belly dancing also encourages inner grace and strength and is tremendously effective for weight loss and endurance purposes. Belly dancing puts the most emphasis on the torso but also provides a really good workout for the legs. Chiropractors have been known often to recommend this form of ancient dance to patients who have recurrent aches and pains throughout their body. The gyrating, moving about and thrusting motions of belly dancing set to Middle Eastern music is both physically therapeutic as well as an excellent way to relax and de-stress!

Be aware that belly dancing classes have a tendency to be more relaxed and laid back then more traditional forms of exercise and they encourage an environment of communication between the instructor and her students. These are no humdrum dancing classes. Belly dancing is a low impact type of exercise that does not cause a great deal of exertion on the joints of the body and in a great deal of cases, can be beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis.

The constant rocking and shaking of hips that is a staple of belly dancing encourages toning of the abdomen. It also encourages firmer leg muscles and a more positive self-image. Due to the fact that belly dancing celebrates all that is unique and special about women, most women really enjoy learning to belly dance as it makes them feel better not just on the outside but inside as well. The end result is a stronger sense of self-esteem and a more intense and stronger feeling of sensuality about oneself.

It is believed that attending a belly dancing class that lasts for one hour and incorporates marching hip lifts, a number of ribcage arches and contractions, a maneuver known as snake arms and a multitude of other moves done repeatedly will burn anywhere from 350 to 500 calories. This is good news for any mother interested in getting in touch with herself while also having fun doing it!

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