Weight Loss and Belly Dance

Fat Chance Belly Dancers.....LOVE that name!

Fat Chance Belly Dancers.....LOVE that name! Thanks to http://www.kristineadams.com for the photo.

After a summer of sludge, of not moving much for various reasons, except to head out to a pool for a few laps, or hosing off in the garden, there wasn’t and hasn’t been much activity here.  Not enough to fight the summer flab we claim because of heat, humidity and sloth.

Summer is a hard trudge in the South, and we can make a lot of excuses for not moving.  Even belly dancers close it down in the summer because there is not enough air conditioning to cool 20-40 bodies moving in a studio. And ‘enough’ for a dancer dancing in a restaurant would be ‘too cold’ for the eaters.

So we continue on this fall with poundage around our hips and middles.  I had to laugh at one of my students…who was a terrible size 0 this spring, and now has love handles and a lovely rounded belly.  She looks fine to me but she is in a size 6 jeans and she is bitchin’.

Poor baby.

So the question arises:  can you lose weight belly dancing?

Yes…..and no.  It’s got to be a real mixture of a particular diet and a lot of combinations of movement.

As to diet…well, that will obviously vary with the dancer:  some can eat tons of carbs  and lose with a particular exercise, but then again….it probably varies from woman to woman.

I can’t recommend any diet, I know what I need to do for myself (finally)….but I can say what I think a good combination for weight loss through belly dancing is.

And it’s not fast.  It is a routine that has to build, and the first word is “Routine”.

It has to be done every day, if at all possible. I wear a pedometer and it’s hard to get to 10,000 steps a day just dancing.  But you can, and when you have, you know you have put in some movements.

In a class we are generally not going for cardio workout because for the longest time it seems we are going over and over the same combinations, and they have to be done SLOWLY.  I tend to go through them too fast, because they are more comfortable and ‘natural’ at this stage…but I have been practicing the same damn things for 5 years.  They are totally new movements for my students.

There are so many issues to look for:  The general posture of the dancer, the preciseness of the movements, the flow from one into the other, as in a combination from the hips/pelvis to the torso, to the breasts…and this stuff has to be learned very slowly.  Bad habits can become as ingrained as good ones.  So you are always checking what you and your students are doing.  Mirrors help.  And we all hate mirrors.

In teaching, I am learning so much of these steps are breaking them into small parts.  That slows you down for a while. We pattern the body and brain this way until it comes fluidly.

Today, I was teaching a moderate backbend:  Not a Turkish drop, or anything radical.  And I couldn’t do it if I wanted to, and I don’t.  But this backbend meant a couple of important things. You had to secure your balance and posture so you didn’t fall backwards and also so you didn’t hurt your lower back.  So you clench your glutes on one side….bend your knee on the other leg, brace your upper back and recline your head  on your shoulder for the arch.  There is a lot of tension necessary for this, and it really makes you aware of the muscles in your butt.

We all had fun hitting each other’s  glutes, because I wanted them to see the strength needed to support this arch movement.

Of course, this isn’t a straight line to fluid movement.  That will come in time…hopefully.

But until you break them down, you don’t realize how many issues are around in one simple (or not so…) movement.

But back to weight loss.  I think when we get to more combinations…like a hip circle travelling up the torso to breast circles, and back down again, this will give us all a ‘route’ in the body to strengthen and actualize the muscles.

And when we are working in unison and there is much less chatter!

Then there are myriad other movements in belly dance that with combinations layered on top of each other, certainly with shape and form the torso and all other parts of the body.

As for a cardio workout…yes, it can be.  A five minute beledi dance or any quick improvisation will provide that. And who actually stops at 5 minutes when you are finding an internal joy to express outwardly?

The weight loss will come for all of us, but that is when we are working seriously.

Teela

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3 Responses to “Weight Loss and Belly Dance”

  1. Posts about Weight Loss as of October 14, 2009 Says:

    […] building workouts fine tune the body and make it better able to function and burn away fat. Weight Loss and Belly Dance – ladynyo.wordpress.com 10/15/2009 Fat Chance Belly Dancers…..LOVE that name! Thanks to […]

    Like

  2. Victor Says:

    Hello. Great job. I did not expect this to be so interesting. This is a great story. Thanks!

    Like

  3. ladynyo Says:

    You’re welcome, Victor.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

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