Belly Dancing is what it is called in the west and many other places around the world. But in the Middle East it is known as Raqs Sharqi. The dance is thought to have evolved from ancient religious worship in goddess temples but there is no solid proof of this. Now it is performed mainly at all-female gatherings where older women are revered as having greater life experience to bring to the performance. Being at one with the emotions evoked by the music is essential to the dance. It is the visual form of expression to illustrate the mood of the music.
Belly dancing can help tone your body, both inside and out. The art of Bellydance has been passed from mother to daughter and woman to woman for a thousand generations, and is a wonderful activity for developing fitness, grace, sense of timing and self-esteem.
Belly dancing is a great cardiovascular workout. You will definitely break a sweat during the vigorous and low-impact exercise! The quick movements of the hips, shoulders, and feet will get your heart pumping and keep your pulse rate high for an extended period, which offers tremendous cardiovascular benefits. Indeed, a belly dance workout can be compared favorable to any other type of erobic workout, and can help you burn caories and increase your overall stamina.
Belly dancing will improve your posture and help evenly tone your muscles. This dance form offers a true full-body workout, utilizing and isolating muscle groups in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine, neck, arms, and shoulders. These toned muscles improve posture and help prevent back pain that can be caused by the unnatural curving forward of the spine that occurs when muscle groups are weak, or when we spend too much time seated or hunched over a computer. Small muscle groups deep in the back that are normally under-exercised are used and strengthened. The muscles surrounding the hip, the largest joint in the body, are used and exercised during hip drops and figure eights, enhancing flexibility and suppleness. Improved hip flexibility can lead to improved balance when walking as well. Arms and shoulders are exercised when doing lifts, circles, or the rippling motions of snake arms, toning muscle. This toning effect is often evident early on, since holding the arms aloft are an important element of the dance, even for beginners. Because a dancer is on her feet and constantly moving, belly dancing is considered a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise can prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bones, and the overall toning can lead to an improved self-image, as the dancer becomes more balanced and poised.
Belly dancing can lower your stress levels. The rythmic motions of belly dance and the concentration you need in order to perform them can help you to forget your daily stresses for a while, "let go", relax, and anjoy yourself. Stress causes your muscles to tense up, decreasing the blood flow to those muscles and causing soreness and even pain. Belly dance helps to stretch out those tense muscles, which in turn helps to gently relieve the back and shoulder pain that stress causes.
Belly dancing can boost your self esteem. Unlike many other dance forms, belly dance celebrates all body shapes and sizes. Belly dancers come in a variety of body types and sizes. Belly dancing will make you more aware of your posture, grace, body language and facial expressions, all helping to improve your self image. The body awareness that comes from learning and practicing all of the intricate movements of belly dancing helps practitioners become more comfortable with their bodies and to appreciate themselves as they are.
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Please read this to help you better understand this lovely art form!