Belly dancers come in all shapes and sizes. Which means that, no matter what your current shape or size, belly dancing can be a great form of joyful movement for you to investigate.
Here’s a surprise that many new belly dancers aren’t aware of. Most of the jiggly action that makes belly dancing so distinctive isn’t in your hips. It’s actually in your knees.
If the idea of exercising with costumes, finger cymbals and veils appeals to your more exotic side, what should you look for in a belly dancing class? Here are some tips:
1. How much are you moving during the class? The more you move, the more health benefits. In some classes, there’s a lot of emphasis on finger cymbal rhythms and time spent listening to long explanations or waiting while the teacher corrects the movements of other students. So try out a class and see if you’re moving a lot or mostly standing still.
2. Traveling steps require you to use the leg muscles, so spend as much time as possible in your training and at-home practice sessions not staying in one place. These will increase your heart rate much more than slow-moving rib cage isolation moves.
3. On the other hand, rib-cage isolation moves will build core muscles, so definitely don’t ignore them completely. Plus, they are lots of fun! Bend and straighten each knee in succession and watch how quickly you feel like a real belly dancer. Here’s a great beginner’s video to help you learn the basic shimmy.
4. A good balance when you’re practicing at home is to turn up the fast drum solos and spend abut 20-30 minutes on more vigorous dancing and then end your session with slower music and more finder cymbal work.
If you like the idea of belly dancing but find it a little intimidating, you might want to start learning some other ethnic dance moves, like dabke circle dancing, Greek line dancing or Israeli dancing. Of course, you’ll need lots of friends to dance like that, so it’s a great social outlet as well.
Whatever dance moves you choose, just have fun with it!
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon page on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest for healthy eating tips, inspiring quotes, videos and photos and more.