Last month I attended the 17th Annual Kismet Bazaar which fell during southern hemisphere spring equinox. In the past I have only attended the market and performances but this time I decided to also indulge in a workshop on Egyptian Elegance which included classical Egyptian choreography. I felt so good afterwards I was reminded of the short piece I wrote on the benefits of Bellydance…..
Bellydance is one of the oldest types of dance in existence which focuses on isolated yet flowing movements through various parts of the body. This results in the sensual current of energetic emotion being moulded into a work of artistic expression physically.
Bellydance has given me the confidence to accept myself and my body and connect with it in a loving and honourable way. It’s taught me that every woman is a reflection of the Goddess and that we have the confidence and drive within to move forward and tackle any obstacle before us.
After suffering an injury recently which healed twice as fast as normal due to the fact I regularly Bellydance, I realised that this wonderful dance works on balancing your body, mind, spirit and emotions and therefore is quite a wholistic modality which allows healing, learning and growing.
Bellydance contains naturally fluid movements which work with the female body’s regular dispositions. Due to this, Bellydance strengthens the core, joints and ligaments, tones the muscles, straightens the spine, leads to better developed balance and co-ordination, improves flexibility in a painless and safe manner and improves the digestive system. Repetitive movements found within Bellydance can improve circulation and breath and corrects stiffness which occurs with a predominate sedentary lifestyle. Even if you only dance for an hour a week, it can severely enhance your cardiovascular capacity and when practiced more often can increase lung capacity. Your body changes after continued practice of Bellydance and this is due to the fact it’s a weight baring exercise which assists in weight loss, strengthens your bones and shapes your body into its natural graceful state of shape. Bellydance also strengthens the pelvic floor muscle since its predominately used, therefore it can assist with pms, sexual relations and childbirth. This style of dance can also be useful as a rehabilitative exercise as it’s a gentle way of working through an injury when you have received the go ahead to get back into physical workouts.
Bellydance contains alternating movements, routines and music which regularly allows a change in scenery. Mixing things up in this way has many mental health benefits as it allows you to enjoy yourself in a pressure free environment. Bellydance is fun and learning it with a within a group environment can not only can elevate you but opens you up to making connections with others. The rhythmic and accompanying movements in Bellydance can also calm and centre you which allows relaxation. Bellydance also causes stress reduction through stimulating yet soothing the mind as well as the increase of happiness and joy due to being involved in something uplifting. Building your self esteem through the feeling of being liberated through Bellydance is attained as well as connecting to yourself through thoughtful and loving self-discovery.
Bellydance is a creative outlet which allows a woman to connect to her feminine nature and her natural cycles of her body which is a manifestation of the Goddess within her. Since Bellydance is a ritualised physical and emotional expression it opens one’s ability to honour and connect with deity in a most profound and beautiful way. This connection has been used for millennia as performances of Bellydance have occurred throughout the ages during various celebrations which includes faith/religious ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies, weddings and fertility rites.
Bellydance allows you to express your emotions through dance and dancing out your stressors is a great way to work through them. It also helps you forget about your problems and allows you to let things go due to being in the moment with the dance, as quite frankly you just don’t have the time to worry about anything else. Bellydance can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety and can enable the sensation of feeling sexy in one’s skin. This style of dance also helps improve body confidence and assurance of one self and accompanying abilities which inspire freedom of expression through a sense of inner strength.
Bellydance has brought me many personal benefits and I am grateful for the body, mind, spirit and emotional benefits I have harvested over the years of dancing this path. As always please see your GP before embarking on a new exercise regime and remember that inside every woman is a Goddess and Bellydance is a great way to honour the Goddess inside and outside of yourself.
© T. Georgitsis 2013 (article which appeared in Goddess Guru, 2013, Issue 11)