Picture this: you’ve been up all night with a crying baby, your mind is in a million places, and you feel like you’re living in someone else’s body. Also, for the first time in your life, you find yourself googling “leaky bladder”.
If you can relate, then welcome to the New Mom’s Club! We don’t have t-shirts, but we do have extra undies – just in case.
In the midst of all these dramatic changes, it’s completely understandable that the last thing you’d want is to hit the gym, stand in a room full of mirrors, and look at a body you no longer recognize. And while it’s completely normal to feel bad about your body after pregnancy, these emotions can be overwhelming enough to lower your self-esteem, trapping you in a vicious cycle of negative feelings.
Enter the perfect remedy: belly dance!
You may be delighted to hear that belly dancing can be the solution to a number of your postpartum troubles. Aside from the physical benefits, belly dance can also help with your mental and emotional well-being, like an all-in-one booster for your post-pregnancy self.
And here’s a fun fact: belly dancing is a quintessential feminine dance form that was literally designed for the female body. It’s also a common belief that belly dance originated as a practice to help women prepare for and recover from childbirth. Postpartum women, that’s you!
Here are five ways that belly dance can help with feeling fabulous after pregnancy:
#1: Belly dance can strengthen your pelvic floor & reduce bladder leaking
I made the most amazing discovery after class one day: one of my students came up to me and revealed that since she’d started doing belly dance, she didn’t have urinary incontinence anymore. After doing a little research on this myself, I found an actual study was conducted in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science on the connection between belly dance and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
It turns out that belly dancing really can be an effective way to treat bladder leaking. Who knew!
If you’re wondering how this works, think about this: instead of regular old Kegel exercises, doing different belly dance movements can naturally activate your pelvic floor muscles. As an added bonus, you’ll have fun. It’s a total a win-win!
After learning about this, I was inspired to create my own program, The Belly Dance Solution, specifically designed to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles with belly dance
movements. Since creating it, over 12,000 women have joined and experienced their own incredible, life-changing results.
One of my students, Rhonda Stevens, even inspired an article in Women’s World (which you can find below). After doing The Belly Dance Solution, along with my 21-Day Belly Dance Bombshell Challenge, Rhonda’s urinary incontinence had completely disappeared after 26 years!
#2: Belly Dance Will Strengthen Your Core
It’s probably no surprise that belly dance is one of the most powerful core strengthening workouts out there. The best part is you’ll barely notice that you’re even working out.
Belly dance works your abs from all angles at the same time, making it an effective way to strengthen your core holistically. Most abdominal exercises tend to work your muscles in isolation, so this can be great if you’re getting tired of doing one hundred crunches. No need to look in the mirror for evidence of a six-pack, after a good belly dance session your core will give you a light but pleasant ache to let you know that it’s working.
It’s an organic exercise that works deep, abdominal muscles from the inside out. Many women have also reported that belly dance has helped them recover from diastasis recti.
#3: Belly Dance Is A Great Total Body Workout
Here’s an exciting plus: Belly dance works the entire body, not just the belly! It’s gentle on the joints and low impact, so it’s perfect for postpartum bodies.
Belly dance is a great shoulder and arm workout, that also strengthens your back and legs too. If you’re looking for a way to improve your posture and walking, look no further: belly dance helps you stand up straighter and look taller – like the queen you are!
A great cardiovascular exercise, belly dance helps you burn calories and ignites your metabolism. Since you’re working so many muscles at the same time, your heart rate shoots up and you’ll break a healthy sweat with just a 15-minute session. You definitely don’t need to put in long hours to get powerful results.
Finishing a belly dance session can leave you energized, so your body won’t feel like it’s just been punished. Belly dance harmonizes your body with movement, for a gentle total body workout.
#4: Belly Dance Will Help You Feel Sexy Again
The last thing any woman feels postpartum is sexy, attractive, or confident. And if you’re worried about these feelings interfering with intimacy with your partner, you’re not alone.
The biggest obstacle to feeling sensual, is feeling separated from yourself and your body. Belly dance can help you reconnect with your feminine energy by grounding you in your body. It reminds you to feel amazing in your own skin.
Reestablishing that connection between you and your body can also be important for your mental recovery. Many women report that doing belly dance helps them unleash their Inner Goddess, making them feel sexy – maybe even for the first time!
#5: Belly Dance Will Reduce Your Stress
Ever wonder what happens when you’re stressed? Basically, chemicals and hormones flood your body and put it in “fight-or-flight” mode. Now imagine feeling that and being a new mom. Not fun!
Exercise and movement can be a powerful way to release “feel good” chemicals that can restore your body and mind to equilibrium. It’s also a great way to help you sleep better which is absolutely essential for new moms.
With so many things on your plate, exercise shouldn’t be another source of stress in your life.
Since it’s so low maintenance, belly dance can easily be slotted into your day. Fitting in just a few minutes here and there when you have the time (or feel up to it!) can give you all the benefits without the stress of having to rearrange your schedule.
Apart from being a fun way to exercise, belly dance will make you feel both energized and relaxed. Sounds contradictory but its true: many women say they feel a lot happier after a belly dance session. And to take the stress off even more, feel free to belly dance in the privacy and comfort of your own home, where there are no “lookie loos” to make you feel self-conscious.
And there you have it! Postpartum recovery is a common struggle for most women, so why not try out this best kept secret? Now that you know all the benefits of belly dance, a shimmy and a shake may just be what you need to help you feel like yourself again. So, turn on some nursery rhymes if you must and start moving!