Bellydance is a total workout for the body, mind, and spirit. Not only does it provide a thorough, non-impact, and fat-burning exercise that tones and sculpts your muscles, it actually promotes a positive mental attitude about your body. Women who bellydance feel more confident and at ease with their figures—and you don't need to be slim to begin bellydancing. Goddesses come in all shapes and sizes.
A Word About Pregnancy
Bellydance is the original childbirth preparation both in its origins and in its movement principles. Many of the muscle isolation and relaxation techniques are similar to those taught in Lamaze classes. There are also psychological benefits to be gained from bellydancing during pregnancy—it can remind a woman that despite the radical changes her body is experiencing, she is still a sensual being. Having said this, you should consult your doctor before beginning and confirm that it is safe for you to bellydance.
One of the most powerful benefits of bellydance can be experienced the very first time you make a simple Figure Eight with your hips. The act of gyrating your abdominals, buns, and thighs [parts of the body associated with femininity] in new an pleasurable ways, rather than in squats and crunches, causes a liberating shift in attitude. After bellydancing, don't be surprised to find yourself bursting with newfound confidence.
The numerous physical benefits of bellydance make it an ideal stand-alone workout, of you can practice it to enhance your existing fitness regimen. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that also improves flexibility and muscle tone. Most women have concerns about their abdominals, buns, and thighs, and these muscles can be effectively sculpted with regular bellydance. Unlike any other exercise, bellydance isolates specific muscle groups. As you move one set, you hold other muscle groups completely still. This dynamic lengthens your muscles, eventually toning and strengthening them. For example, holding your chest still while your hips move in serpentine Figure Eights, sculpts the muscles at the sides of the torso [your obliques] and defines the waist.
Because much of the movement is generated from the torso rather than the arms and legs, bellydance is also very effective at building "core" strength. It works the muscles in the upper body, abdominals, and pelvic area, which can help promote good posture. Apart from stimulating circulation and improving coordination, an hour-long bellydance session provides a feeling of freedom and release that will be totally new and revitalizing experience for many.
Women today lead busy and hectic lives, but a bellydance session provides an opportunity to claim time for yourself and escape the mundane. You'll find that performing these intensely feminine movements helps you leave behind the stresses and strains of modern day life and reawaken the woman within.