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February 2, 2015
Free Massages Here!!! any time you need or want one
I have already mentioned in my previous posts that belly dance is one of the best ways to keep our entire back happy and healthy, but in order to reap all of the rewards, we need to follow the path of least resistance with our movements. Here are some important points to keep in mind. I recommend that you:
- learn to let your pelvis follow our knees when doing hip circles, (small at the front, large at the back movement and knees directly under the hips on the sides). The knees gently straighten at the back and slightly bend in the front.
- are very careful to avoid dancing with your torso positioned backwards, behind our pelvis (i.e. backbend). This can also occur when you think that you are “lifting” the chest by contracting the upper back muscles and rotating the front of the chest upwards. To avoid this imbalance, simply slide the chest forward. This does not harm the discs, but does compress the two side (facet) joints of lower vertebrae, causing a dull, chronic and nagging pain in the deep lower back muscles, as they tighten to protect you. Overloading the lower back with the full weight of the torso tipping is especially problematic when doing one-sided hip movements (as in the Nagwa video from the previous post). This combination can indeed cause damage to your lumber spine discs and joints.
- avoid doing large torso circles above a relatively immobile pelvis, as in the popular ‘Argentinian’ style. Ouch!! It may look nice, but it will grind away the joints and discs between your lower vertebrae and the sacrum because of the enormous weight of half of your body combined with the multidirectional compressions as you trace the circle. However, you can get the same wow effect safely if you tip the shoulders in the opposite direction as the pelvis and follow the movement of the knees. Your back should remain completely straight and strong through the entire movement. This is the same counterbalance that you would find with a teeter-totter and eliminates all weight and pressure.
OK OK, I imagine that you are thinking “Well this is all interesting, but I am here for the free massage, so where it is? Tabla roll…..I would now like to introduce you to the amazing auto-massage and healing power of the torso undulation, especially the diagonal undulations. I will even venture to say that this is the quickest and most effective way to keep you back happy, healthy and pain free. However, it all depends upon how you do an undulation. Using my technique, I alternately open and close the chest and pelvis as a symbiotic unit. When this is done with no effort or muscle tension, these gentle movements become a completely free, full torso self-massage. Although the linear front/back undulation is helpful, I highly recommend focusing on diagonal undulations, as these are much easier, have a far larger comfortable and safe range of motion, making it impossible to lean the torso backwards. These offer perhaps the most powerful benefits of oriental dance and are also incredibly easy to do. You can have at look at this movement in my website dictionary (just sign up with your name and email by clicking on this link www.hadia.com and you will have instant free access). For more variations, I recommend my longer online video “Body Logic for Belly Dance” which is also available for purchase on my site with this link. http://www.hadia.com/register/bl4bdrt
However, if you ever do have a sore aching back after your performance or class, here is a very powerful and corrective exercise. You can also incorporate it into a daily routine to prevent low back strain or compression. It is basically moving between the Yoga Cat and Cow, but also adds a side-to-side component. These four points are then smoothed out into a full rib and pelvic rotation. It is much easier to see it than to try to understand the explanation, so you can find this particular movement in Volume 4 of my 4 DVD Ultimate Oriental Belly Dance System. I do recommend that you consider adding this set to your DVD collection. Here is the link again. www.hadia.com
So, until next time, Happy, Healthy Dancing to you all!
If you have any questions, just drop by and visit me on FB facebook.com/hadia.dances I will always answer quickly unless I am on tour with a bad internet set up!!
January 27, 2015
So let’s have a look at one of our most well known and best loved dance movements – the hip circle – and explore whether we are healing or hurting our Lower Back. If we are doing very small hip circles, it is almost impossible to injure ourselves, but as soon as we venture into the large full range hip circle, we should be very careful to:
- Make sure that we create the circle with our knees and simply allow the pelvis to follow the movement of the knees.
- Avoid leaning backwards at the lowest point of your spine when the pelvis is tracing of the circle.
More details are coming up in my next article, but I think that this video of young, vivacious Nagwaa Foud will make it clear at 1:00 into the video, what not to do if you love your lower back…ouch!
- Keep the entire back perfectly straight when dropping our torso down in front of the legs.
When the entire back is straight the lower back does not take any strain from the weight of the upper torso and therefore 100% safeguards the spine against muscle strain. This is also an exceptionally beneficial way to strengthen the muscles of entire upper, mid and low back, especially when both of your arms are held beside the torso and the elbows are pressed slightly back. If we do the full torso drop front, with the back straight this becomes and amazing way to decompress and relax all of the joints of our entire spine!!
Here is the ever adorable and gorgeous Fifi Abdo with a great demonstration at 6:30 into the video, but I can guarantee you will love the prelude to hip circle.
This is actually one of my very favourite movements of the Egyptian dance repertoire, especially when we take our time to very slowly and deliciously ease down and then return to full, upright and elegant posture.
For any of you who are not familiar with my hip circle technique, you can find a very clear explanation and mini video in my website dictionary by going to www.hadia.com and signing up with your name and email address and I also recommend my “Body Logic” online video for very clear directions and some very interesting variations. Just click on this link http://www.hadia.com/register/bl4bdrt
Meanwhile, stay tuned the next article!
January 13, 2015
Would you like to get Fast, Safe, and Effective Relief from Lower Back Pain?
If you think that this is a commercial for a Pain Medication or Muscle Relaxants, I have a surprise for you. This is waaay more FUN, it’s FREE and has absolutely No Nasty Side Effects to worry about! If you guessed that I am going to recommend an Oriental belly dance movement solution, Bravo! You are absolutely right.
If you are a professional dancer or teacher or just a super enthusiastic student and you dance daily, it is unlikely that you will suffer from back pain. But, if, in spite of your many hours of dance per week you still find that you have nagging lower back pain, my first recommendation is to check in and see if you are one of the many who contract your abdominal muscles to flatten out the natural curve of your lower back. Surprise! This actually creates rather than protects you from lower back pain.
Anatomy 101 time. The key concept here is that the natural forward curve of our lower back actually keeps our back healthy and happy by balancing the weight of our torso and upper body evenly between the main body of the vertebrae (see photo) and the two sliding joints at the back of the vertebrae. This avoids compression of the discs that are designed to cushion our movement between the vertebrae. If we flatten out the natural curve, this shifts all the upper body weight forward and compresses the dics, which can lead to nerve irritation, sciatica, bulging and eventually herniated discs. Believe me, you do NOT want this – OUCH!
If you already do suffer from any of the above, I highly recommend that you avoid sitting whenever possible, as this position automatically flattens out the natural Lumbar (lower back) curve and increases pressure on the discs. If you are not familiar with my technique, then my #1 easy and quick solution is to do a virtually effortless, gentle pelvic rotation (sometimes called an “Omi”) by shifting one hip to the side, a very gentle pelvic tuck front by contracting both gluts, a shift to the other side and a relaxation into the neutral position that restores your natural lumbar curve. You can actually find this movement defined in the dictionary on my website, and you can have free access to a video demonstrating the movement simply by singing up with your name and email address. If you are familiar with my technique, i.e. my Body Logic for Bellydance – soon to be renamed SavvyBodyBellydance – then I also recommend my full torso open and close undulation movements, beginning with diagonal and eventually trying the front to back version. This is actually the best, simplest and completely free self-massage EVER!!
If you have a day job which requires lengthy periods of sitting then it is important to try to take regular quick breaks and do a front to back undulation while seated in your chair. This is tricky unless you seek to touch your elbows together in front of your chest (allowing a gentle slump and rocking back onto your tail bone) then opening the elbows and chest while rocking onto the front of your sit bone (belly button forward) and repeat several time with as little effort as possible.
If you have to commute to and from work with other passengers, you can do this in your car seat when it’s not your turn to drive. If you do the driving, be sure to put a cushion or rolled up towel behind your lower back when seated to maintain your natural arch.
I hope that you found these little tricks and clarifications helpful in your dance and work day. You are also very welcome to share this info with your other dance friends.
Thanks again for your time, and feel free to comment or ask questions on Facebook and I will do my best to reply and clarify.
Until the next one… May you dancing keep you healthy, happy and young!!
January 4, 2015
>If you are like most people, it is highly likely that at least one of these common goals will be on the list:
- Get Healthier and more Active
- Have More Fun
- Tone up Your Body
- Lose Weight
- Start a new Hobby or Learn Something New
- Make and Take more Time for You
This is why joining the gym or a new exercises class are two of the top New Year’s Resolutions for so many of us. However, what most people don’t realize is that the most current research has shown that dance offers a multitude of extremely powerful benefits for our body, mind and soul! Here are the first two on the list:
1. Increased Energy
Can’t seem to find your get-up-and-go? Taking a dance class might help. Research published in The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition found that a weekly dance program could improve physical performance and increase energy levels among adults.
2. Improves Co-ordination, Posture and Balance
If you are nervous about falling as you get older, some dance lessons might help ease your worries, according to a study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity that showed dancing can improve balance in aging adults. Dancing requires a lot of fast movement and good posture, so frequent dancing will help you stabilize and gain better control of your body.
I Love virtually all forms of dance and have spent the past 43 years of my life studying, dancing and teaching jazz, contemporary, ballet, oriental belly dance and folklore, flamenco, Polynesian, African, Afro-Brazilian, Samba, Latin, Argentine Tango, Indian, Turkish Roman and Tap.
I have also spent the past 22 years practicing, teaching and developing Massage, Manual and Movement Therapy. This enabled me to discover the absolutely amazing secrets of our bodies and how they work, which made me realize that the Art of Oriental Belly Dance is the safest and most gentle form of dance. It is actually physically therapeutic and specifically beneficial for a woman’s body, which is not at all surprising, since it was created by and for women!!!
This has inspired me to write a new, ongoing series of articles about the multiple benefits of Oriental Belly Dance for a woman’s body. I am sure that if you are already belly dancing (like an Egyptian), having fun and loving it, wouldn’t you be doubly excited to discover that due to the gentle, unusual and multidirectional undulating movements that we do with our torsos, we can get and keep our entire spine supple, mobile and healthy. In fact our dance is the single the most effective way to prevent and avoid the #1 most common physical complaint in today’s world – nagging lower back pain!ear by Celebrating the Multitude of Wonderful Physical, Psychological, Social and Spiritual our Benefits of our Beautiful Art Form!!
January 1, 2015
Hello and I sending you a warm and fuzzy Happy Holiday and Bring in the New Year dance from my house to yours!
I have been VERY busy with my full time therapy career again and loving it, but still managed to keep my toes in the dance world with my annual Asia Tour (Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China) and a wonderful action-packed Australia tour with a stop in Japan for a very important and special wedding and pro course. I also had the delight of co-teaching again with my dear friend and Master Teacher Denise Enan, our Egyptian Canadian Folkloric Queen, in my home-town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (now THAT is a mouthful)!!
I would like to thank you all for your patience with my repeated disappearing acts, but just in time for the New Year to begin I have some surprises and changes on the horizon. As these are busy brewing in the background I would like to reboot and continue a series of posts and discussions about the 7 Most Common Injuries of Belly Dance and how to avoid them. However, since becoming a massage therapist and discovering 1,001 fascinating well-kept secrets about our bodies, I have been singing the praises of our art form as the most powerful (and delightful) way to GET AND KEEP YOUR BODY HAPPY, HEALTHY AND YOUNG. I will send these out in my Hadia.com blog right after Christmas Day calms down. I will also post a quick version on my Hadiadances FB and invite and answer any questions and comments that you might have.
In the meantime, it is my pleasure to offer you a Special ‘Tis the Season Sale’ on all of my Ultimate Oriental Instructional DVDs. Just click here for full details, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!!