Don’t get too deep into “hanging on to your breath” or other silly explanations to try to understand how belly dance can work. Just listen, and go with the flow.
Try this exercise on for size. Start out with just 10 to 15 minutes of belly dancing practice—without any music, and without moving or speaking with the “other” partner to make the belly dance easier to understand and practice.
As you go through this exercise, make sure to keep that energy and feel-full, healthy feelings throughout. The goal here is to have fun, get the heart rate up, and then feel good when you come down.
2. Get comfortable holding down your breath.
This might sound strange, but it’s actually incredibly important to hold down your breath while playing belly dance. A lot of belly dance teachers will say that belly dancing requires your breath to be fast and “pissed out.” This may be true, but I strongly believe that belly dancing is easier to learn if you practice holding your breath and maintaining your heart rate throughout the whole time.
In my experience, belly dancing students who have experienced the intense energy rush of going from having their breath going up and out to slowly going up and down without releasing their breath do significantly better overall.
Think of it this way: if you’re having a big lunch meeting at a restaurant and you have a big group of people at different tables, you don’t start off by going “all out” and “wailing.” Most of your energy will be absorbed by the other people sitting with you, and you’ll quickly wind up eating way more than you planned to.
Similarly, if you’re feeling good about something, don’t get too caught up in the energy and focus on how fast your breath stays going. The more you can maintain that breathing rhythm, the more you’ll get the body-feeling benefits.
3. Stay focused on the music!
The music in belly dance can be great, but it’s really a lot like that really bad music that you used to hear at those really, really loud high school dance recitals and concert halls. The music in belly dance is supposed to be fun. And when it’s too loud to be fun, what can you do but find something else to do?
You should remember that music isn’t really that important or helpful in belly dance practice, but the more you play it with the belly dancers, and with the
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