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Round Belly Boogie
Pre and Post Natal Belly Dance Spiced with Yoga

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Check out Kimberlee's article Yoga for the Nursing Mama

Classes

There are no classes scheduled at this time. Please join the mailing list to stay informed when new classes are scheduled.

Bringing your little ones:

Your little ones are welcome to accompany you. Please note that there is no child care provided during this class and the dance studio is not child-proof, so if your little one is mobile, it's up to you to monitor them. I suggest bringing some favorite toys and books. Babies are of course welcome. Though we will not be doing any specific mom-and-baby dance moves, moms are welcome to carry their babies as much as they need to while dancing.

Kimberlee pregnant belly dancingWhat to do prior to class:

Please speak with your physician or midwife before attending class. We do not require a clearance form, but we do require that you speak with your obstetrics caregiver prior to attending your first class. Every woman, pregnancy and delivery is different, so please let the instructor know if your caregiver gave you special instructions as to positions or movements to avoid.

For pre-natal women, please check with your caregiver in the visit that precedes the start of class.

For post-natal women, please wait until your postpartum checkup, usually around six weeks after delivery, before attending class.

If neither category applies to you, please contact Kimberlee at DoYoga@8thElementYoga.com prior to attending class.

Why belly dance is great for pre and post natal women:

The art of giving birth involves strength and control of abdominal and pelvic muscles. Many dance teachers have studied the origin of various dances and have traced the movements of belly dance (which is an amalgamation of various Middle Eastern and Asian dance forms) back to various ethnic dances to support labor.

For prenatal women, belly dance provides a wonderful tool to get in touch with muscles that they may not have focused on in the past. In fact, downward undulations, a classic move performed by belly dancers, simulates the act of pushing out. The pelvic circles taught in a belly dance class are used for pain relief during labor by various cultures; the movements a woman learns in belly dance can often be used during labor. In fact, some caregivers in the US are recommending belly dance for their prenatal clients.

For postpartum women, belly dance is a fantastic way to regain strength and control in the abdominal muscles, which become stretched during pregnancy. You may disagree, but many find it far more enjoyable and interesting than doing stomach crunches. It's also a wonderful way to strengthen the pelvic floor.

For both prenatal and postpartum, belly dance is a wonderful way to relief back tension that accumulates by carrying a baby both inside and outside your belly. Perhaps most importantly, belly dance helps women feel graceful, powerful, and elegant, which can be difficult in a society where having a flat stomach is considered a sign of moral character. Belly dance empowers women to salute their femininity while expressing a range of strengths.

How we incorporate yoga:

We incorporate yoga into the warm-up and cool-down segments of the class and emphasize principles of yoga throughout the practice, such as listening to your body, breathing deeply and consciously, and staying present with every movement. The yoga poses used in the warm-up help warm the major muscle groups used in belly dancing; we also incorporate lots of Kegel exercises into the warm-up and thread them throughout the class to help strengthen the pelvic floor. The poses and breathing exercises used in the cool-down help women find much-needed relaxation.

Please also see information about prenatal yoga classes.

Kimberlee pregnant belly danceWhat makes pre and post natal belly dance unique:

There are some safety concerns for prenatal women in belly dance. Particularly, we eliminate big back bends and forward bends and avoid Turkish drops. We pay attention to balance concerns and minimize the amount of time spent on our toes and do very few spins. We soften some of the movements to make them less jarring and make our transitions simpler to avoid any balance challenges. Because having the arms overhead can cause blood pressure issues for prenatal women, we keep the hands on the hips more than in a regular belly dance class.

Because of the unique needs of pre and post natal women, we emphasize Kegel exercises and strengtheners for the pelvic floor, and movements that assist with pain relief.

We will be focusing on the therapeutic aspects of belly dance and working more on conditioning drills rather than on performance skills. This class is designed to be a workout rather than a how-to-become a belly dance performer lesson.

The other unique thing about being in a pre and post natal class as opposed to a general class is that you will be among your peers. It's reassuring to have community with other expecting mothers and mothers who have recently delivered. The support and empathy can provide great comfort during this time of many changes.

What to wear:

Please wear comfortable non-binding clothing. Workout clothes with plenty of stretch are great. You may want to bring a hip scarf, or something to tie your hips to accentuate the movements of your hips. You are welcome to wear a dance bra to show the movements of your belly, or just a plain stretch top. Stretch pants work well for bottoms. You can be as dressed down or as dressed up as you like, but please try to avoid lots of coins and beads, as those tend to fly off costumes and little ones love to put shiny things in their mouths.

What to bring:

Please bring a hydrating beverage. Mats and all other props are provided.

About your instructor:

Please see Kimberlee's bio for more information about her teaching background. In addition to standard yoga teacher training, Kimberlee has been formally trained in teaching pre and post natal yoga. She has several years of belly dance experience with prominent Seattle instructors and has taken workshops with several national instructors. In addition to studying Egyptian cabaret and tribal belly dance, Kimberlee has studied ethnic Middle Eastern forms, her favorite being Turkish Romani.

One other note about the instructor, Kimberlee had her first child in May. She experienced the wonderful ups and downs of pregnancy, which has heightened her sensitivity to the special needs of pregnant women.

Questions:

Please contact Kimberlee at DoYoga@8thElementYoga.com or 406-880-4442.


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