For you mamis-to-be out there, belly dance before and after the birth of your baby has many unique benefits compared to other traditional dance and prenatal exercise forms. This dance is characterized by a series of isolated movements done rhythmically and repetitively at the pelvis, rib cage, spine, arms, head and neck.
BENEFITS OF BELLY DANCE
Oxytocin, the neuro-hormone of love that is needed to give birth, bond and breastfeed, is stimulated by rhythmical movements. This makes belly dance an ideal form of birth preparation, pregnancy and postpartum exercise. Belly dance done in a gentle way relaxes tense muscles, alleviates pain, and energizes while also providing a gentle massage-like experience for both mother and baby.
Repetitive movements induce a hypnotic mental state. This teaches women how to be in a state of calm alertness that is ideal for a healthy pregnancy, birth, labor and postpartum recovery. The pelvic and hip joints widen and relax due to the nature of this gentle dance, performed while standing, and also make for an excellent pain relieving dance during labor.
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3 BASIC MOVES FOR MAMIS-TO-BE
1. Empowered Neutral Stance
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your pelvis in a neutral position, not too far back or too far forward. Take a deep breath in through the nose. Raise your shoulders up and roll them backwards. Expand your heart area. Feel present and alive, connected to your breath, body and baby. Sense the ground beneath you while you feel centered and connected to your innate feminine power in the next two exercises.
2. Hip Slides
Keep your arms out along your sides at a 90-degree angle. Slide your hips and pelvis to the far right keeping your feet firmly planted to the ground. Slide your hips to the far left. Repeat this sliding motion 10 times. Right to left, left to right. Notice how these rhythmical movements make you feel. This standing exercise actually serves as a gentle foot massage to the soles of the feet due to its repetitive and rhythmical nature.
3. Hip Circles
Arms are in same position as in the previous exercise. Keep your spine and pelvis in a neutral posture while creating clockwise circles of the hips and pelvis. It is as though your pelvis was a jug of water, and you don’t want to tip over the water. This intention ensures that you keep your low back safe and also get to work out your corset muscles. These aid you during labor and tone up your waist after birth.
Begin with sliding your hips and pelvis forward. Now slide your pelvis to the right. Slide your pelvis to the back now. Slide your pelvis to the left. Return to the forward position. Smooth out your hip circles clockwise and continue to repeat these clockwise circles at least 10 times. Notice how this makes your body and baby feel. Perform 10 counter-clockwise hip circles to balance.
Try these exercises daily and let me know how they benefit you!