I am really grateful for all the bellydance teacher I had and their impressive knowledge of human body. Bellydance helped me to create some body mind connection and engage accurately specific muscle I want to engage. For example; squeezing my glutes at different rhythms or just squeezing one at the time. I also learn to isolate different body part while stabilizing others.
Bellydance definitely helped me to understand how my body can move, from 5 simple movement to all the complexity of movement combination that can happen from theses basics. I want to share theses basic movement with you.
Your hips and torso can move into 5 basic movement pattern:
- Sliding side to side: keeping the hips or torso parallel to the ground moving them side to side.
- Sliding forward and back: keeping the hips or torso parallel to the ground moving them forward and back.
- Tilting: you can tilt your hip while bending the knee. Your torso can also tilt side to side while going into side bend. One side will extend while the other side lengthen.
- Twisting: this action require lot of core activation. When you twist your hips, I also call this washing machine. When you twist the torso and speed it up, it can become the famous shoulder shimmy. I highly recommend you to practice this one while being immobile in your car and holding the steering wheel. Making sure you are not leaning back on the seat and the hip and well anchor on the seat.
- In & out also call tucking: this movement of the hip mainly use the lower abs to be able to tuck pelvis in while lengthening the lower back. Its such an important movement to understand especially to be able to do any core exercise safely. Same action is possible with the torso and it will mainly use the upper abs to create this movement. I highly recommend trying a Pilates class to help you better understand theses movement.
All the 5 movement basic describe above need the right mind body connection to be able to active the right muscle require while keeping the rest of the body stable. Try all of them slowly at first, in front of a mirror to see what you are doing. Sometime what we think we do and what we do are two completely different thing. Standing in front of a mirror will also help you to see the imbalance between both side of body and try to create symmetry. While I practice theses movement, I used to rest my hands on chair placed beside me so I could fully rest my upper body and created good posture. Make sure the breath is fluid, and that you can relax the rest of the body. Adding a smile to your practice might help you to relax more and remember it take time to master any art form, so be patient.