Note: We are not medical consultants and if in doubt about anything regards your own health and belly dance, please consult your a doctor or medical professional. Having read extensively around the subject of belly dance both as an academic and as a dance teacher, I have listed the benefits below that are widely believed to result from this form of dance.
During the dance, the movements of hip drops, circles, figure eights, and shimmies put the joints and ligaments in the lower back and hip through a full range of gentle, repetitive motion. This movement helps increase the flow of synovial fluid (nature’s lubricant) in these joints. When movements are done properly, the pelvis is tipped forward, or tucked somewhat; a neutral position that can help prevent lower back problems.
Raks sharki can help relieve stress to the back, counteracting the almost constant compression of the disks that occurs from sitting and a sedentary lifestyle. These toned muscles improve posture and help prevent back pain that can be caused by the unnatural curving forward of the spine that occurs when muscle groups are weak (lordosis).
Because a woman is on her feet, moving during the dance, it is considered a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise can prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bones.
The graceful hip drops, rolls, and pivots of this dance form utilize muscle groups in the abdomen, pelvis, trunk, spine, and neck, working with the body instead of against it. Unlike ballet, which can potentially alter and deform the skeleton, or other dance forms that work against rather than with the body’s physical inclinations, raks sharki is based on movements that come naturally to the female form. The benefits of belly dance can be enjoyed by women of all ages.
Raks sharki can burn up to 300 calories per hour. This estimate will vary, of course, depending on the
intensity of your dancing. Combined with a healthy diet that involves sensible eating, raks sharki can
without a doubt be part of a sound weight loss program.
The movements of raks sharki make an excellent prenatal exercise regimen that strengthens the muscles used during the childbirth process. The toned abdominal muscles and natural hip tucks, which are similar to the “pelvic rocking” taught during prenatal classes, teach the expectant mother how to move her pelvis. For women who desire natural childbirth, this form of exercise through dance, with its emphasis on muscle control not only facilitates natural childbirth, but also makes an excellent post-natal exercise that helps encourage abdominal tone. During those first weeks after giving birth, when caution is needed while healing from the birth process, these movements work the muscles gently and effectively, if done very gradually. Learn more about Belly dance during pregnancy.
Repetitious swaying, circular and flowing movements are likened to a state of dance-meditation. The dancer often finds that a session of slow, graceful dancing will clear the mind and induce a state of mental relaxation. The faster forms of belly dance are stimulating and fun, and either slow or fast belly dancing can be useful in cases of anxiety or mild depression
The movements are artistic and feminine, creating a positive feeling of sensual expression and freedom. With sensuality being a desirable quality of belly dancing, the dancer feels safe to explore the soft, beautiful ways the body can move. In the act of dancing with sensuality, the dancer frees herself in physical and emotional ways.
The body, which becomes increasingly supple and graceful through practicing the dance, literally learns to move more beautifully. Dancers feel a heightened sense of elegance and poise when they dance, and this delightful confidence remains long after the class or performance is finished. The body awareness that comes from belly dancing often triggers an emotional response. Women with low self-image begin to honour their bodies. Previously weight conscious participants relax and become comfortable with their bellies and hips. Voluptuous women appreciate their ample curves.
Soothing belly dance movements such as rolling the hips, figure of eights and undulations can help to alleviate congestion in the pelvic area. Circulation to the pelvic area improves and at the same time, the feeling of relaxation alleviates stress.