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Bellydance Therapy

by Delilah

Bellydance is great exercise but it is also an incredible tool for personal growth and therapy. When women start to bellydance they may find that it entails many more dimensions than they would have guessed. Not only are they working on their physical fitness but there very life will start to shape shift.

Here are just a few examples:

Shoulder Liberation: Engaging Passions and Sensibilities

Shoulders are the domain of our passions and sensibilities. When we are enthusiastic about something our shoulders loosen up and become more mobile. When we are afraid they lock up, as they do when we are uptight, stressed out or too practical. So sometimes we need to get in touch with what makes us happy and enthusiastic to get our shoulders to limber up in the dance. Sometimes it can be a painful, emotional block. Feel free to get verbal if needed. Dance is a powerful medium that may have healing results when all the intellectualizing of a matter has not helped. This new physical liberation has the added benefit of making our life so much more fun at the same time. This is a definite example of bellydance therapy.


Standing or sitting makes no difference. Close your eyes at first and slowly begin to roll your shoulders while imagining something you absolutely love to eat! Imagine you are tasting and enjoying this delicious sensation as you roll your shoulders. Next, think of something you love to do. Roll those shoulders and breathe deep. Imagine a massage, making love, a hot tub or bubble bath, skiing or swimming in the Bahamas. . . .whatever turns you on!

Roll your shoulders while you smell a big fat fragrant rose or gardenia or homemade bread in the oven.

Put on beautiful music and slowly roll those shoulders. Imagine yourself being silly and playful. Roll your shoulders while listening to comedy or a love story.

Get the idea.? Experience and explore the sensual side of life and discover the personality of your shoulders. They will be eternally grateful to you!

A Cure for Elbow Shimmies and Low Self Esteem;

You can start a shimmy from anywhere in your body, but it’s not our goal esthetically to preform a hip shimmy by initiating it from our elbows. So this is an exercise to get the hips to relax and drop down into their own fullness so your feet, ankles, knees, and hips can shift, rock and roll them around. One reason we have trouble with this is because we are always trying to handle everything ourselves and don’t know how to delegate. In this case you want to delegate the action of the hips out of the hands and elbows to the jurisdiction of the feet and legs. Another thing that happens is that sometimes women have been so busy in their heads trying to make their butt and hips smaller for some commercial idea of how they should be. They have actually erased their hips and butt from their memory banks along with their sense of bodily awareness.

I discovered this when a group of my students were having a hard time shimmying. I had to imitate what I saw to figure out how to correct their movement. Immediately I realized they all had helium butts! Meaning they were lighter than air and their hips were riding up into their ribs instead of reflecting a grounded sense of their own natural placement.

When this happens we have to reclaim lost memory. In bellydance, we are shifting the weight and balance of everything in our bodies so it is important to have some knowledge of our own weight. We want heavy hips! That is to say, we want to claim what we actually have to work with and not an ounce less.

The cure is to imagine that your butt and hips are huge. I mean really big. They knock over furniture and walls if you're not careful. Then you get into bent knee, basic position with this new image in your head and walk around the room while exerting a wiggle waddle shimmy as you chant boombababoom bababoombababoom. . . yes you’ll be laughing too and feeling liberated.

Feel the weight and feel your but drop and your lower back lengthen. All of a sudden you should start to notice access to more movement and a control from beneath. You don’t have to keep this image up for long unless your hips creep up there again.

Bellydance as Beauty Ritual

Bellydance celebrates the feminine condition in all its complexity. You can do a happy dance, a compassionate dance, an angry dance, a silly, a wicked dance, but know underlying it all is a sense of play, beauty and love. You are an abundant source of love and beauty because you are Aphrodite’s daughter. In this dance we are allowing the free flow of emotional, physical and inventive self-expression. We decorate our bellys, breasts, and hips with jewels, pearls, gold coins and threads, silks, satins and exotic perfumes. In this way we are in direct, close-up relationship with the power and interaction of beauty. We are not removed from it nor storing it for another day. Bellydance can help women replace an unhealthy paradigm about their relationship to beauty with a much healthier one.

I call it, Beauty as a Verb!

When you support others in their beauty, truly you increase your own beauty. It is so simple. Make this a ritual. There is great power here. Look deep into the faces of your sisters and your brothers and say:

“Your beauty is my beauty, and my beauty is your beauty.”

“I cannot be beautiful alone. “

“I can only be beautiful in connection to your beauty.”

See what happens inside when you do this. Practice this in your local bellydance class, women’s group, Girl Scout meeting!

Dance Exercise

Aphrodite's Beauty Dance — Eight steps for healing our relationship to beauty

Put on some beautiful music and make up a creative healing dance holding, one by one, each of these intentions as your focus.

1st step: Love yourself. . . your being
2nd step: Love your body. . . your vessel
3rd step: Love your face. . . your mirror to the world
4th step: Love your breath . . . your vital connection
5th step: Love your voice . . . your extending vibration
6th step: Love your sex . . . your relationship to creativity and ecstasy
7th step: Love your mind . . . your conscious awareness and intellect
8th step: Love your beating heart . . .your love for the universe

A Companion to Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah


Visionary Belly Dancing
4115 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 USA