Yoga and Pilates are two popular exercises that like belly dancing, focus their energies on the 'center' and the breath.
BELLY DANCING FOR SUPPLENESS
BELLY DANCING FOR RELAXATION
BELLY DANCING FOR BODY CONFIDENCE
BELLY DANCING FOR INNER STRENGTH AND POSITIVE TRANSFORMATION
PREGNANCY, CHILD-BIRTH AND BELLY DANCING
Belly dancing originated as a fertility rite thousands of years ago. The movements celebrated the birth process in the form of mimicry and many of the circular hip moves used in belly dancing can be seen in other dances evolved from birth-rites and celebrations of sexuality and fertility like the hawaiian Hula, polynesian Dance, african Dance, brazilian Samba and latin Lambada. Often associated with religious rites and celebrations, the primal elements of both divinity and sexuality are central to the evolution of these dance forms.
Today, belly dance is linked with birthing, mainly due to its focus on the belly and hips. As a pre-natal exercise, belly dancing in its gentler form strengthens the pelvic muscles and is relaxing for the mother-to-be. Many arab Women say shimmies should be avoided during pregnancy, but the figure eights and rolling circular movements are good preparation for childbirth. This makes sense, as the rolling movements not only feel natural, but assist with the normal pelvic relaxing process to prepare for birth and at the same time, helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles for labour and post-pregnancy recovery. Indeed, the dance can be a comfortable exercise that not only gets the mother ready for the birth process, but connects her to the unborn child through a series of movements which focus her attention on her belly.
Midwives in the Middle East report Bedouin women birthing babies in a ceremonial way, where, in a tent with the elders, several women play tabla and breathe in unison with the mother. The communal drum beat and vocal breathing becomes part of the dance-birth process. The mother, supported by two other women, does not lie down, but rather alternates between standing and squatting, and uses hip circles and rolling motions to ease the baby into the world. Pregnant mothers find that belly dancing helps relieve them of back pain and keeps their bodies supple.