Did you know that belly dance tones and slims your core muscles—including the abs, hips and lower back—recharges energy, builds confidence, and calms the mind? It is believed to have originated thousands of years ago as a childbirth ritual. The figure 8s, circles, undulations and twists are an amazing way to connect to your inner sensuality while also getting a powerful workout. Try these three popular moves from the new “Element: Belly Dance” DVD anywhere, anytime for a fun and fast cardio core workout.
Move #1: Torso Circles
Torso Circles increase range of motion in the ribcage, which is often very stiff. This move also enhances healthy posture.
How to: Gently slide your ribcage to the right without moving your hips. Now contract to the back, slide to the left and arch to the front as you push your chest forward. Try circling your torso eight times to the right and eight times to the left, each time smoothing out any rough spots.
Move #2: Figure 8s
Figure 8s are a quintessential belly dance move that opens up the hips, and tones the waist and belly.
How to: Twist your right hip to the front. Draw a circle to the outside with this same hip until it’s facing back diagonally. Your weight should still be on your right foot. Now shift your weight to your left foot and twist your left hip back. Merge the sides together so you are drawing an infinity loop with your hips, taking time to twist the hip front and push it all the way back until the other side is ready to go.
Move #3: Hip Twists
Hip Twists are one of the best moves for the waist. They can help you get that hourglass shape. It’s important to remember to breathe during this move or you may get a cramp.
How to: Standing tall, bring your right foot out in front of you and lift onto the ball of the right foot. Keeping the knees from splaying out, twist your right hip all the way forward and then all the way back. Your belly should be strong and your twists should be powerful but relaxed at the same time. Repeat these twists slowly at first then try speeding them up to music. Switch sides.
You’ll be surprised how much the heart can get pumping from just a few moves. A good dancer can make these movements look easy, but they actually require a lot of strength and precision. The most most important thing is to have fun with it. The time will fly so quickly you will forget you’re even exercising.