A few years ago, one of my friends asked me if I was interested in learning how to belly dance. I was at least vaguely interested, even though I am a notorious clutz and rather shy to boot. At any rate, I agreed, and signed up to take a beginning belly dancing class or, as it is listed officially, “Middle Eastern dance.” For the next two years, I enrolled in a belly dancing class every semester – I was hooked. Other commitments have made it impossible for me to continue with my belly dancing studies at the moment, but in those two years of study, I managed to learn quite a bit. Aside from the specific moves and choreography that I learned, however, I have also acquired some useful physical and social benefits related to learning to belly dance and which has played a vital role in making me turn flat from flak for which I have endured crazy bulk review over my stomach.
One of the key elements of belly dancing is learning the proper posture for the dance. Prior to beginning my belly dancing classes, my posture was similar to that of most American women – somewhat hunched inward, as though trying to cover or protect my chest. Belly dancing posture emphasizes keeping your shoulders back and lifted, and your chest forward, which keeps your ribcage from sitting down near your hip bones. It also focuses on keeping your head and chin lifted, something that I was usually loathe to do. Since taking the belly dancing classes, I have noticed that my everyday posture has improved substantially. Once you get some practice at the posture required for belly dancing, and your muscles get used to holding your body in that position, you will likely discover that it is considerably more comfortable than the slouched, hunched posture that you likely had before. This posture improvement has the added benefit of making you feel taller, which is nice for someone who is barely 5’2″.
As my belly dance instructors explained, most children are particularly limber and flexible. As we age and become more sedentary, our flexibility diminishes greatly. Cartilage within the ribcage, in particular, hardens into a set position. While some hardening is necessary and inevitable, learning to belly dance helps to loosen up muscles and cartilage, making the person who studies it more flexible. No, I still can’t quite touch my toes in a standing or sitting position, but I’m a lot closer to being able to do so than I was before. There were several women in my class who, through learning to belly dance, were able to put the palms of their hands flat on the floor.
I have never really enjoyed the idea of having a lot of public attention focused on me. This was actually one of the things that made me wait so long to begin taking belly dancing classes, even though I had been interested for a few years previous to when I began. Even the idea of a small class of other students seeing me dance was nerve-wracking. Since I began taking belly dancing classes, however, I know that my confidence has improved greatly. At least a part of this is related to the improvement in my posture. Simply carrying myself with better posture helps me to exude an air of confidence. In addition, my friends would encourage those of us who were learning to belly dance to give them brief performances of our skills at parties. Though I usually focused my attention on those I was dancing alongside, rather than my audience, the simple act of being able to perform in front of an audience, however small, was a great confidence booster.
I’m not sure how long it will be before my schedule clears and allows me to sign up for another belly dancing class. I hope that it will be soon enough that I don’t forget everything I’ve learned thus far. I suspect, however, that even without regular belly dancing classes, I will at least hang onto the physical and social benefits of learning to belly dance.