BENEATH THE VEIL
From The Good Life February 2006
Our bodies have around seven hundred muscles, so it's little wonder that after childbirth many women have trouble regaining their pre-baby shape. Motherhood takes a toll on our muscles, organs and skin, pulling and stretching us into unrecognisable versions of ourselves, and that tummy, who's is that?
The good thing is that it's never too late to create a new and maybe even curvier and sleeker you through the art of BellyDance. In fact BellyDance alone, before, during and after pregnancy has an amazing positive effect on the body, especially the tummy, arms and legs. BellyDance is about muscle control and isolation and developing smooth muscle coordination.
Believe me a BellyDance session is a total workout but it's also fun, fun, fun! So much so that you find yourself practicing even while you're doing housework or at the lights driving the car.
Classes go for about an hour or for those with the stamina an hour and a half, exercising the body using all the muscle groups, centreing on the tummy (to which all movement relates) the abs, obliques and lower muscles of the loins are constantly in play, with the body and arms creating a symphony of artistic form and the hips, legs and butt in sync with the powerful drum rhythms of the Middle Eastern music.
The unique nature of BellyDance is that it centres around the navel "the centre of life" massaging the internal organs and mimicking the movements of childbirth. It's a secret that women of the East have known for thousands of years, that rhythmic muscle control stimulated by music produces benefits for women throughout their entire lives.
Passed down from mother to daughter and also in the last 100 years in the West from teacher to student the sacred and mystical moves of BellyDance have survived and flourished, a testament to the relevance of the dance for the wellbeing and enjoyment of women. I'm fortunate to have been BellyDancing since childhood and I attribute my natural ability to have retained my shape after having my babies to the dance. The "muscle magic" grace and beauty of the BellyDancer is legendary and can be spellbinding to behold. Today thousands of modern women are discovering that "full of life" feeling that's been missing in their lives - the vitality, passion, freedom and sheer joy of the dance of the ancients - the eternal flame of woman!
The Goddess Lives