Hadia's International Belly Dance Academy archive
Tag: 1001 benefits

January 13, 2015

Three Cheers for the Power of Oriental Belly Dance!

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. 

Lumbar vertebrae, nerves, dics
Lumbar vertebrae

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!!

-Hadia


January 4, 2015

Benefits of Belly Dance

HadiaWhat is your #1 Resolution for 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!!


September 26, 2012

Hadia Stretches Her Wings

Today I am celebrating a beautiful warm and sunny morning, sitting on my deck, sipping my MUG of espresso and looking over the first week of autumn’s abundance from my organic garden. I am also celebrating more than 40 years of dance in my life and the beginning of my fourth year living in my little village of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This Unesco World Heritage Site is snuggled in a cove on the wide open edge of the Atlantic Ocean and if I was to jump in a boat and sail straight south from our Harbour, I would end up in Venezuela with nothing with water in between. Now THAT would be an adventure and a half…!

There have been so many changes since my move here; learning how to garden and loving it, refocusing on my profession as a massage and manual therapist, adapting to the sloooooow and easy pace of life in Atlantic Canada and exploring all the exciting possibilities of sharing my love of dance, movement, health and fitness, with the world in new, very different and updated ways.

I will be sharing all of these developing changes with you here in my new blog. However, it will be dedicated to bringing you all kinds of helpful, informative and inspiring news about all of the 1,001 wonderful benefits, surprises and secrets you can discover within the world of Oriental “Belly” Dance and Baladi, also known as Raqs Sharqi. Here’s my list:

✓ Regain and Maintain a Happy Healthy Body
✓ Turn Artistry through Movement into Therapy
✓ Surprise Yourself by Thinking and Dancing Diagonally
✓ Can Fitness REALLY be Feminine?
✓ Kiss your Sweet Pain Goodbye!

In closing I would like to introduce a tasty concept.  Our dance has often been compared to fine wine. The finest, most delicate and surprising develops its bouquet slowly and gradually over time. Then it shares its delights with the palate slowly and gradually as it seeps through the entire body taste by taste. It leaves its warmth and afterglow to be savoured. But this slow and gradual discovery doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in a year, or in 5. It is a lifelong exploration….so let’s get going!