Belly Dancing

Benefits

Belly dancing is a good cardio-vascular workout,at the same time increasing flexibility. Like Pilate’s, belly dancing focuses on strengthening the abdominal core. The abdominal muscles work hard to isolate the hips from the ribs, resulting in a flatter stomach and more defined waist. It is easy on the knees.

Belly dancing can bring about an improved sense of well being, elevated body image and self-esteem as well as a generally positive outlook on life.

How to get started

Look in the phone book or surf the internet to try to find a teacher in your area. If none are available, there are many DVDs out there to get you started. Books can also be helpful.

A Sample Workout

Put on some music. If you don’t have eastern music, any up tempo cd will do. Jazz is particularly good.

Hip Circles

Stand tall with feet a few inches apart, hands hovering beside hips. While keeping abs tight and rib cage still, slide both hips to left, back, right, and then front, making a circle. Continue for 2-3 minutes, contracting abs tightly at end of each circle. Repeat, circling to the right.

Twisting Shimmy

Stand tall with feet a few inches apart and knees slightly bent. Hold arms straight out from the shoulders, palms facing outward. Relax shoulders. Rotate right hip forward and up and left hip back. Then rotate left hip forward and right hip back. Contract abs while doing this. It is a bump and grind motion, kind of like a washing machine motion. Do for 2-3 minutes.

Sliding Snake Arms

Stand tall with feet almost hip width apart, arms lifted out to sides. While keeping abs contracted and hips still, reach left arm to side, rolling shoulder up, and slide rib cage to left, letting right arm and shoulder dip. As you slide to right, roll left shoulder back and down, and reach right arm to side, rolling right shoulder up. Then slide rib cage back to left, rolling right shoulder back and down. Continue side to side, making one smooth movement. Do for 2-3 minutes.