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How Do I Protect my Back During Belly Dancing?

Belly dancing is one of the safest forms of dancing. You don’t generally get the aches and pains associated with more arduous forms such as ballet or flamenco. However, if you don’t take care of your body during practice and performance, you can end up with a sore or even strained back. Protect your back with a few easy tips.

Always Warm Up and Cool Down

Dancers of all kinds skip warm ups and cool downs. Maybe it’s because there’s no cardio involved or because the benefits to the dance are not immediately evident. However, just like with any other exercise, dancing requires warming up and cooling down your muscles.

Always start with a few minutes of light cardio without stretching. You can walk or jog in place. Alternatively, put on your favorite energetic music and dance like it’s club night. Only then should you start stretching. In these stretches, include the rag doll pose from yoga – essentially, bend over and feel the stretch in your back muscles.

At the conclusion of your dancing, engage in more mellow moves while stretching. Make sure to stretch all your back muscles. In addition to the rag doll pose, sit on the floor and twist your back. While you’re down there anyway, lie back, cross one leg over the other, and pull both towards you to stretch your lower back. Repeat on both sides.

Maintain Your Posture

You already know your back should be straight and your shoulders back, right? You’ve probably had that drilled into you since you were a kid. Did you know you should be tucking your tail like a scared dog, too? Ok, not quite like a scared dog. However, the protruding derrière necessary for prancing around in high heels can cause damage to the sciatic nerve when you’re flat-footed.

To figure out how to start with the correct posture, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be directly over your second toe. Unlock you knees, and organize your shoulders back. Rotate your pelvis under almost as if you’re trying to button a tight pair of jeans. If you do it right, you should feel an instant relief as your spine aligns. Keep adjusting your posture until you feel that relief.

Obviously you can’t maintain that pose completely while dancing. However, the spine alignment is not only possible, it’s necessary to maintain the grace and elegance of the dance.

Wear Padded Sandals

Yes, belly dancers are supposed to be barefoot. However, if you know you’re dancing on concrete, or on flooring laid directly on concrete, invest in a pair of padded sandals.

Padded sandals feature a layer of rubber padding between leather layers. The leather allows you to pivot and turn freely, while the rubber cushions your spine. If you can’t find an attractive pair of padded sandals, talk to a cobbler about modifying a pair you already own.

Back health is essential for the dancer. Do you have any tips for keeping your back healthy?

Photo from Pinterest

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