The Belly Dance Prescription: Shake Your Hips and Depression!
Until you read your copy, consider this.
Belly dancing is my top recommendation for exercise and self-expression for prenatal and postpartum women. I love to watch and participate in dance wherever it finds me. I have found that most dance forms which are typically accepted as “serious” art, including jazz and ballet, have a narrow range of “acceptable” body types. Pregnant and postpartum women with rounded bellies and a new fullness to their hips may be uncomfortable trying to fit inside these strict parameters. Movements that leap and extend away from the earth with long, straight lines do not come naturally to the rounded, feminine form.
Belly dance, on the other hand, consistently helps women of all shapes and sizes express their emotions and feel beautiful in their own skin. In my role as belly dance instructor, women often approach me to say they are too fat, too thin, uncoordinated, or unattractive because of stretch marks and caesarian scars. I tell them to come on in and give it a try. A wonderful process unfolds as women enter into a supportive group environment and begin to accept themselves. New dancers expand their energy, strengthen and lengthen their bodies, increase their endurance and reclaim healthy self-expression. Rather than sucking in their stomachs and being ashamed of taking up space in the world, women learn to accept themselves. Bellies begin to be embraced as the center of our bodies and as respected spaces to create new life.
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that offers belly dance instruction, particularly for prenatal and postpartum women, I encourage you to sign up for a wonderful adventure. Michelle Maniaci of www.NurturingMoves.com in Florida tailors yoga and belly dance for pregnant and postnatal women specifically for therapeutic purposes. Check your local bulletin boards, ask around and search online to see what is available. If you can’t find a local class, consider checking your local library or an online retailer for beginning belly dance DVDs to get you started. The legendary Delilah has a website at www.VisionaryDance.com offering a terrific array of instructional dance videos, informative articles and links