How to Fit Bellydance Practice into a Busy Schedule
The mere thought feels paradoxical! How can one hurry up and bellydance while expecting to experience the benefits of mind-body-soul connection or drilling technique into true mastery? The mere suggestion may trigger a bomb of emotional angst within us as we respond to the, yet again, mixed messaging of our culture which hails self-care as important as ambition thereby dumping the onus on us to be everything to everyone and then everything to ourselves as well…all before 5pm. Understanding that 5pm was used as a joke in that sentence of course! We all know that the end of the work day has become undefinable for most. Honestly, how can we fit bellydancing into a busy schedule? Without minimizing the predicament, here come some tips to bring your love of bellydance into your daily routine!
This first tip is the hardest one to accept. But, if we can swallow this pill, the rest can fall into place beautifully. I’m gonna give you 20 minutes. I know you want to practice for 6 hours a day and this sucks to hear, but if you’re reading this blog, I’m going to guess that you need this reality check. The good news is, just 20 minutes a day of uniquely planned practice can transform your dance and your life! And here’s a hack… if you truly can’t stand this idea, you can stack your increments and opt for a 1hr 40 min session on the weekend instead. Now to the good stuff…
I love to make lists! Don’t you? Let’s make a list of categories to organize your daily practice plan.
Day 1. Melt into Meditation – 20 minutes
This is the easiest one and perfect for a Monday! Find a quiet comfortable place to lounge with your body supported. Close your eyes. Tune into, slow down, and expand your breathing. Gaze at the vast dark pool of potential at your third eye space. See this spaciousness as a blank canvas upon which to paint. Understand that your dance, your life, and your identity are just like this canvas. This mental break can be a helpful reset so that you can take back the paintbrush as the artist of your life and stay clear through the potential graffiti of outside influence. Honing this ability not only clears space for your creativity, but also teaches us how to become still within chaos. Therefore, this one simple tip could have transformative effects not only on your dance but on your command of your schedule and life as well!
Day 2. Indulge in Visualization – 20 minutes
This next one is the perfect combination of calming one’s self and indulging one’s self! It’s a more active form of mediation as you will still be experiencing the benefits of shifting your brainwaves, but you will also begin the process of dance – in your mind’s eye first! This preliminary creative journey builds energy, positive anticipation, and is a very effective way of self-teaching as you will be drawing your creativity from your intuition as you visualize while sending messages to your body of how you would like it to perform when you get physical. Preceding physical practice with free form visualization can speed up your physical progress in any subject tremendously. Find a song that really inspires you. Visualize without limits!
Day 3. Enjoy Guidance – 20 minutes
Now you’re ready for guidance! We’ve made this easy for you at Ansuya.com where you’ll find hundreds of video lessons that you can access on your own schedule so you can fit this into anytime of your day! Choose a video in a subject that fits your current fancy, grab a notebook and pen, and enjoy just watching the first time! While there are many short videos to choose from, also allow yourself to pick just 20 minutes of any video lesson as you can continue into the lesson the next week. As you watch the video feel free to make notes of parts that you think may bring you challenge. Relating to the lesson by just watching first will make your physical practice and progress far more effective!
Day 4. Practice – 20 minutes
Now you’re ready to dance! Get up and boogie with me baby! Do your best following the instruction in the video and use your notebook to jot down parts that you may want to review and repeat.
Day 5. Little Drills – 20 minutes
This is where you can go back through the video with your notes and brush up on the challenging bits. Take your time as, remember, you can repeat these steps at as many practice sessions as you like! You have no deadline, only a desire to practice daily and you're killing it! Drilling the "sticky spots" will speed up your progress and enhance your joy as you feel your performance improving through taking the time to give those details your love and attention!
Day 6. Progress Post – 20 minutes
Members of Ansuya.com are invited to join our exclusive online Facebook group where you can upload your practice video and ask me questions or just share your proud progress moments! So, spend one or as many practice sessions drilling your work as you like and then video what you've got and upload to the Cyber Temple goddess! It's time to shine!
Day 7. Journaling Session – 20 minutes
Your last day of the week is perfect for a restful journaling session to reflect on what you learned and what you gained during the week and what you are excited about in your upcoming week’s practice. Remember to congratulate yourself on the amazing job you did bringing a balanced practice into your life and busy schedule. If you missed a session, don’t worry. Remember, you weren’t doing this at all before so by doing this at the pace of even once 20-minute session per week, you are still making progress! These small bites will result in huge gains. By the way, reading this blog counts as a session! You are researching the topic of your interest. Look at you go!
This practice plan is scalable! When you are on "go mode", you can skip steps 1,2 and 7 and slam on more and more challenging videos to make your practice time uber challenging. Just remember, you can fall back into this "home practice" anytime to keep your connection grounded, your process loving, and your expression authentic.
Now, sign up for the online video lessons at Ansuya.com, start your practice plan and I’ll see you in the Cyber Temple goddess!
Still feel like you could use more guidance or accountability? With just one hour a week, we can meet live on zoom for a group or private class and I will absolutely guide you! Just message me: email@example.com and we’ll get started!
The word “seduction” can have a negative connotation. However, as with many words today, its meaning has shifted throughout time, bending to describe subtle nuances best understood by its surrounding language, the intonation of the utterer, and by the full picture being portrayed by whomever is expressing this fascinating word. With Valentine’s Day coming up, my guess is that this word is being contemplated more during “the month of love” than on any other month of the year. So how can we, as empowered women, make this word work for us versus us work for this word?
Let’s start by turning the tables on a central theme that is often assumed to be at the core of any woman using her power of seduction, and that is that she is in want or need of love. Instead let’s reframe this by imagining ourselves as creators of love, as guides toward love, and as powerful wellsprings of this magical element called love. But how do we put ourselves in this mindset and how do we self-generate this kind of energy? Tired women everywhere want to know!
With everything from our fitness, to fashion, to make up, to demeanor incessantly being sold to us as needing to meet media standards in order for us to be an effective part of the chase to win the survival race, we are often exhausted from this outward push to grab attention that many of us don’t even want in the first place. So where does this leave our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health when, instead of feeling like a balanced, self-sustaining oasis of sensuality, we feel like withered, dehydrated shells begging for a sip of vitality from those who seek only to drain the last drops of ours for themselves? Not feeling anywhere near seductive, I’ll tell you that!
So, let’s flip this dynamic! I often say, “the more love we put into ourselves, the more love we can put into the world”. Imagine this in material view. What if your fitness regime was designed to help you feel a certain way rather than look a certain way? What if your fashion was part of a personal ritual adornment practice that had everything to do with your own intuitive color therapy, authentic attraction to the feel of certain fabrics, and with your vision for designs that complemented and comforted your figure versus hurt and defiled it? What if your make-up was worn only when and if you want and was painted according to the picture you have of beauty for yourself versus an image being sold to you as beautiful? What if you could meet yourself as queen of your domain in this arena? Who would you be?
I think asking these questions is a fantastic self-care centric start to the art of seduction! Why? Because if you begin to fall in love with yourself, those around you will feel the vibrational resonance of that sensation and become attracted to it. You’ve begun the art of seduction! Now with regard to demeanor…
Every woman has a goddess within her just waiting for a context where she can blossom into an empowered seductress ready to enchant onlookers and lead them down a path toward love! Bellydance is that context!
With movements that activate our chakras, Bellydance is an art form designed to elevate our sensuality and set an example that directs audiences toward the feminine divine!
Often, how we hold our posture in daily life, how we flirt with our body language, and how we dance with our bodies can feel like disconnected pieces struggling for integrated expression. We get that feeling of “is this what you want?” coursing through us which is nowhere near the sensation of radiating divine levels of love. But, as we learn to take all of our energy centers (chakras) with us into our daily existence, the story changes. We bring our primal, creative, social, heartfelt, truth seeking, visionary, and spiritual desires to our art of seduction, thereby offering a wholesome, intelligent, and wildly healthful experience to anyone who beholds us in a state of seduction. We beckon those to follow us into this energetic field from anytime we simply walk across the room all the way to when we are directing this flow of energy through dance or when we are directing this flow of love toward a sensual partner.
The mystical practice of Bellydance helps us to understand how we want to feel, how we want to be treated, and how we want to be able to treat others with the power of love. Every move we make is opening us to a channel of knowledge within, teaching us self love and guiding onlookers to understand how to treat us and helping them discover how to treat themselves. That is why the art of Bellydance is so positively seductive!!
Fear not as the lines between sensuality and sexuality begin to weave together. Bellydance is a fantastic gateway to help us emphasize words like seduction and sexuality in a healthy context and give these words a positive connotation!
If you are like me, part of you loves the way “embodying the light” sounds but another part of you may be asking, “What does it mean to embody something and what exactly is light?” Well let’s jump into this together and see what we discover!
I literally just finished my holiday decorations which are filled with, you guessed it, lights! In my house we blend the celebrations of the Hindu holiday of Diwali and the Christian holiday of Christmas while editing the heck out of both to suit the fact that none of us are wholeheartedly behind any one religion but rather passionate about picking up what resonates with us from any source. One thing that Diwali and Christmas have in common that we love is the tradition of celebrating light! With Diwali this ties directly into “light triumphing over dark” as in good versus evil. With Christmas this ties back to the Pagan ritual of Winter Solstice. Also known as Yule, Winter Solstice celebrates the return of light as the season changes and the days once again become longer bringing the relief and gift of life that light and warmth offers the earth and its dwellers. To participate in these sentiments, we love to put candles everywhere and string lights on the house to experience the ahhhh effect that comes whenever we set our gaze on the flicker of light. But why do we feel this sensation of enchantment when our eyes meet the light?
Apparently, light is “electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the human eye” which is a rather dry way of looking at a spectacular optical effect. But what of the emotional element of being drawn, soothed, or even inspired by it? As I dug deeper, I found lots of information on activating one’s “light body” and becoming a “light worker”. These lines of contemplation provide lots of intriguing insight into ancient mystery teachings that suggest that we can achieve spiritual ascension by activating our “light bodies” and that many of us are called to become “light workers” to elevate humanity at large.
But what about the laws of physics, such as duality, that suggest that we must have the dark to have the light? Talk about throwing a downer on the beauty and promise of the “Law of Attraction”. This makes me think of how for me to enjoy my light display, I must participate in the overuse of electricity, which depletes natural resources and causes pollution! It’s very difficult to see anything as virtuous these days as we really begin to pull back the curtain and require transparency regarding ourselves and our society. For if one follows the trail of any action to its source, one may encounter dismay at the discovery of how much suffering there is on that trail. As in cell phones, or automobiles, or food, or clothing. In our quest for knowledge to better ourselves, we uncover a growing fear that we are not actually free to always choose the high road. But I am more hopeful than that! My intuition tells me that if one desires to be good, dimensions shift, our outcomes and consequences change, and that our range of opposites will move from things as disparate as agony and ecstasy, to simply different forms of ecstasy. What if simple contrast could replace duality and that contrast could be from pink to purple versus pink to death? But what gives me the right to speculate? My freedom to think and feel my way toward my innate wisdom within, that’s what! My teachers encouraged me to do this, and I encourage my students to do the same! The more we practice hearing this voice, the more audible it becomes!
I believe it is our instinct to better ourselves that draws us toward higher frequencies such as light. In our desire to climb to a higher resonance, we seek to emulate, become, “embody” this light. Just look at the many ways we play with this theme:
We look to the stars to feel romantic, to discover astrological wisdom, to “Explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before”. We even call people who have achieved high levels of performance “stars”. It is one of the highest compliments that can be paid and one of the most radiant positions to be held in society. We celebrate stars for they remind and encourage us to tap into our superhuman potential.
We were so magnetized by the light of the moon that we built a spaceship and travelled to it! We feel the moon as it shifts the tides, runs our menstrual cycles, and super charges our crystals with its special frequency.
We celebrate summer for it brings us the warmth of the sun which effects our production of melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland which helps us to regulate sleeping patterns. The pineal gland is also known as our “third eye” for its ability to perceive light. Our “third eye” (or Ajna chakra) is also associated with psychic perception and our ability to project our mental dreams to be manifest in the physicality of the quantum field.
We associate the element of fire with dissolution. We use this in combination with meditation or incantation to release that which no longer serves us or the greater good.
We feel in awe of the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink. The rainbow effect is created by light reflecting off the inside of water droplets, separating them into their component wavelengths, or as we commonly call them – colors! An interesting parallel to notice is with our 7 main chakras (energetic/ emotional centers in and around our physical bodies). Red – root chakra, orange – sacral chakra, yellow – solar chakra, green – heart chakra, light blue – throat chakra, purple (or indigo) – third eye chakra, pink (or white) – crown chakra. Each of these chakras can be studied on a personal level to uncover deep levels of healing, awakening, and connecting to source. The promise of meeting “god” through self-study is even better than a pot of gold. Or at least a close second!!
All these paths of light seem to lead to a quest to unify with something that we feel separated from. To “embody the light” is to become one with this seemingly lost spiritual wisdom. To become one with a “constant flow of wellbeing”, with nirvana, with unending ecstasy, with source, with the concept of God.
My last blog and dance workshop on Ethnic Trance Dances delved deeply into the theme of darkness as we explored the Moroccan Guedra and the Egyptian Zar. But even within that study, myself and my students were perpetually compelled to transform perceived “darkness” into light and redefine misperceived “evil” with deeper explanations. This was a beautiful journey to watch as a circle of women worked with their intuitive powers to meet the darkness with open eyes and open hearts to transmute, versus deny, intense energetic densities into lighter forms. The experience was powerful and exalting. It helped me to look at my darker emotions with less fear so that I can shift their shape and frequency thereby changing my vibrational point of attraction so that I can be the designer of my reality rather than an unwitting victim of it. You might say it was a powerful way to engage in the practice of “shadow work” in dance form.
Dancers are no strangers to the gamut of emotions as we must be able to tune into them well so that we can pair our emotional expression or frequencies with the vibrational resonance of music. We understand range, expression, transmutation, and exaltation. And we are no strangers to the light! One of our favorite lights of all is the… spotlight!! Though sometimes thought of as narcissistic or superficial, artists and audiences alike also know there is something quite magical about the spotlight.
Speaking of the spotlight, the theme of our upcoming December 11th, 2021 showcase is “Dancing with the Light”. Performers are encouraged to explore the possible props of:
LED candles (beautiful accompaniment to Bellydance, Indian Fusion, Pharaonic Fusion, and Tribal Fusion – to name a few possibilities)
Candelabra (used in the Egyptian Zeffa)
Fire (for experienced fire dancers)
LED fan veils
… and more!
In our workshop that precedes the showcase, we will be working with LED candles!
My conclusion is that becoming aware of the power and significance of light allows us to metaphorically, and even energetically, embody its aspects in an individual and subjective way to engage in shifting consciousness and transformation of our mental, emotional, and spiritual beings with intention. How will you embody the light and light the way for others this holiday season?
"Let's get into what makes the Moroccan Guedra and the Egyptian Zar so compelling for today's modern Bellydancer!"
Photo of author, Ansuya Rathor
"Guedra Dancers, Morocco"
Art found on Pinterest
'Tis the Gothic Season!
Clip of author, Ansuya Rathor, randomly responding to street art in Lake Worth, FL.
Halloween is coming, which means many of the things I’m up to year round, now become common practice for the season. Gothic dress, paranormal intrigue, rituals, and wild dance parties are all a year-round weekly thing for me. So, in October, I’m inspired to venture into the wilder regions of my already rarified and fantastical genre of dance. Here is where we embark on a magic carpet ride to Morocco and Egypt to explore the empowering aspects of Guedra and Zar trance dances for their exalting power and otherworldly supernatural intrigue! This has got to be one the most unique and memory making ways to celebrate Halloween and Day of the Dead for the modern minded xenophile! Not to mention a rather scandalous way to view a hot bed of hot topics – all rolled into one party!
Image found on Google
Did You Say Party?
Yes… but are these dances to be considered “party tricks” or how everyone “gets down” on the weekend in the cultures that they hail from? Yes and no. They do sometimes appear as a form of theatricalized entertainment at shows, festivals or gatherings that involve food, drink, socializing and relaxation. However, theses dances are also called upon in times of serious health crisis or as part of a religious ceremony. Some native practitioners are eager to share their knowledge and skills freely to promote and educate in order to support their culture. And some prefer these traditions to remain hidden, unseen and unchanged by foreign eyes or practitioners. So, let’s get into what makes them so compelling for today’s modern Bellydancer!
"They do do sometimes appear as a form of theatricalized entertainment at shows, festivals or gatherings."
This video beckons us to visit the Taralgate Festival in Morocco. This festival has featured the Guedra. See video below.
A small taste of some of the movements of the Guedra as seen at the Taralgate festival in Morocco.
- Ansuya Rathor is a superstar of Bellydance, a certified Yoga instructor, and a writer who loves to share the empowerment that comes from unleashing the goddess within with women around the world!