Thursday, October 22, 2009


Over years the American culture has changed the way it views the body of a woman. Somehow our perception of what is beautiful has been distorted, showing preferences to “slim is in” (as seen splashed on the covers and down the catwalks), and women often view their own body image as flawed and/or imperfect. I know you've heard it...girl..I've got too much of this (pow pow) and not enough of that (hoot hoot).
I found one modality that hasn't adopted this view. In the ancient art of Belly Dance a woman is seen as beautiful no matter what her shape or size. Belly dancing is growing as not only as a fun way for women to come together and socialize but it is great fitness and a pathway to learn how to embrace and be comfortable with the body you live in. As you seek out harmony of your mind, body and spirit, through the belly, you can unleash the stress and tension of your everyday life.
The belly is considered the center of life, it is from there you draw in and push out your every breath. According to Sarasoh, author of “The Woman's Belly Book" ...the belly is “the source of your passion and creativity, your courage and confidence, your capacity to love fully. It's the starting point of your intuition, insight and sense of purpose”
As you shimming and shake those moves you can just feel that unique expression self and acceptance overcome you. The wonderful thing about belly dancing ,it can be done by anyone, of any size and any let that belly roll and set yourself free.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Stress and tension held in your body for a prolonged period of time can have an adverse affect on your overall physical as well as mental state of wellness. One way to easily bring a sense of peace and calm to your mind and body (lowering your blood pressure and heart rate as well as improve your digestion to name a couple)is to learn and practice controlled breathing techniques.
There are several breathing exercises you can do but belly breathing is a good one to start with. I was first introduced to belly breathing when I began Tai Chi and yoga classes recently.
To begin, you want to be sure you are seated in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your belly, just below your rib cage and the other one on your chest. Taking a deep breathe through your nose your belly should push out. If done correctly your chest will not move. You want to now breathe through your lips as if you were whistling. You will feel the hand on your belly go in and then use it to push all the air out. Try this 3-10 times...don't rush the process...take your time with every breath.
Once you have become comfortable doing belly breathing you might try a more advanced exercise such as the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. This exercise uses the belly breathing to help you really relax. 4-7-8 breathing can be done either lying or in a seated position. Begin as you did with the belly breathing with the one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. Take in a deep breath from the belly and breathe in at the silent count of four..hold this for the silent count of 7. Next breathe out to the silent count of eight trying to push out all the air from the lungs during the process. As you repeat this step you should feel a calmness come over you.
Another good breathing exercise to incorporate into your daily routine is morning breathing. Morning breathing helps to relieve the stiffness of your muscles and joints that settles in overnight or can help unclog stuffy nasal passages. Slowly bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, allowing your arms to just hang down towards the floor. Inhale deeply as you slowly roll back to a standing position, with the head lifting last. Hold the breath while in the standing position for a few seconds. Exhale as you slowly return to the starting bending at the waist position. This breathing exercise can also be used throughout the day to relieve low back tension that can build during the day.
Remember your goal is to achieve the correct ratio of CO2/O2 in the body to maintain a state of balance of mind and body with every breath you take.