Meet your instructor
The exotic music is intoxicating, the smooth hip-shaking actions ooze sex appeal and -- most importantly -- it looks like lots of fun. As I headed home with a copy of Dolphina's Introduction to Bellydance Fitness, I was eager to try this instructional video.
Meet your instructor
The video is part of the Goddess Workout series, a selection of bellydance fitness videos led by Dolphina. She's a personal trainer and a yoga instructor who has been bellydancing since she was four. When you first see Dolphina, you may be intimidated -- she's a striking beauty with a fabulous figure -- but just look at her flat tummy: She must be doing something right.
With my trust instilled in this fit bellydancing goddess, I settled in for her 50-minute workout (including warmup and cooldown). Totally inexperienced in bellydancing, I found some of the moves challenging to master at first, but with a bit of practice it wasn't too difficult to follow along.
Try it out for yourself. Click here to play a video segment in which Dolphina teaches you how to shimmy.
Let sleeping snakes lie
Throughout the video, Dolphina encourages you to tap into your inner goddess. "There's power in your hips," she says and "awaken your kundalini." Do I have a kundalini? I wondered. And do I really want to wake it up? Later, Dolphina explains that the kundalini is a serpent in your spine, an apt metaphor for the serpentine movements featured in this workout.
One of the simpler moves Dolphina teaches is called Snake Arms. You first lift one shoulder, then raise your elbow and follow with your wrist. Then do the same with the other arm.
Making it through the undulations
One of the more challenging moves is the undulation. It requires moving your hips and your chest in separate forwards and backwards movements. To help the movements come more naturally, just relax and watch Dolphina. Don't fixate on what you may be doing wrong. Just keep moving.
After completing the workout, my impressions surpassed my expectations. The workout was more challenging than I had expected and my abdominal muscles were sore the next day. Bellydancing also offers a surprising arm workout. And it was fun.
Talk of chakra (one of the centers of spiritual power) and kundalinis can seem out of place if you're solely looking for a good workout. But if you're going to try a bellydancing workout, keep an open mind. Perhaps the most rewarding thing about this workout is the spirit of bellydance; it encapsulates self-acceptance, which is a refreshing concept for those who want to banish self-consciousness and gain a positive body image.
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