Shimmy & Shake

For my exercise and movement class project, I simply began researching for acceptable empirical sources so that I could begin my annotated bibliographies. I also reviewed several free belly dancing tutorial video sources (mainly from YouTube). These videos were readily available, although I did have to screen them carefully for content because about half of them were simply performance based and not tutorials. I was so excited to begin this project. I have already learned some pretty interesting things about myself during the few days since I began my belly dancing experience.

One of the first things that I discovered was that I am more body conscience that I had initially realized. I found myself critiquing my belly of all things as I watched myself practice in the mirror. Seriously! I couldn’t help but compare and contrast myself with my beautiful instructor for all of ten minutes before I remembered to simply let go and live in the moment. Belly dancing is not about perfect bodies and a bit of flesh is a great attribute when you’re trying to shimmy and shake your way into a sensual body experience.

First of all, let me begin by saying that don’t be fooled by the smiles. Belly dancing is deceptive. In truth, belly dancing is complex, intricate, beautiful work. I discovered muscles that I haven’t worked in years from the very first day of exercises. While many of the moves that professional (and well-experienced) belly dancers demonstrate appear simple and effortless, they simply are not. Well, let me just be clear and state that hand-eye coordination plays a major role in learning to shimmy and shake well, so does patience and flexibility.

Belly dancing is a genuine workout that is can offer women of all ages confidence in their sexuality. By the time my workout session was over, I could really feel it in my arms, calves, and my core. I knew that I would probably have to take it easy during the first session, but I was surprised at just how unconditioned my body was for belly dancing. Instead of becoming discouraged, I made up my mind to complete a 1-hour session to the best of my ability.

sensuality_seduction dancing girl

I tried my best to keep up with the instructor and I did not criticize myself when I could not. After all, this was an exercise in non-judgement as well as learning a sensual new exercise. Shimmy on….Belly dancing is also a mind-body exercise. You have to be very careful to relax while you are performing and celebrate your body. It was helpful for me not to get caught up in how I looked while I was trying to master the moves the instructor was demonstrated. I appreciated her calm, gentle demeanor and reminders to be easy on yourself while you were engaged in the process. Those words resonated with me deeply.

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