I love to be healthy and fit.
Since I was in high school, I did some form of exercise; aerobics, weight lifting, swimming and adventure sports.
Then, I took my first bellydance class, and something shifted for me. The 'sweat and sculpt' regime lost its lustre and I became enamoured with the sensations of pleasure that came into my body as I moved.
The time I spent in the 'shimmy-sashay-sway' of my hips and the 'caress-tickle-touch' of my hands was no longer about getting 'in shape', but about expressing my feelings, my visions and accessing a source of creativity that I didn't know I had. A new relationship with my body began.
Over the years, I have participated in many aspects of bellydance and not all of them make me proud. The entertainment industry has produced a certain sexualization of dance for the stage; I got a fancy costume and performed for money. The fitness industry puts a calorie count on dance sessions; I created fitness programs and collected students. I tried and taught all forms of recreation and professionalism and almost lost the meaning that attracted me in the first place. I became critical and judgemental of myself and other dancers...and then I stopped dancing. My body ached more; I got bored with life and moodier.
Now, I have returned with a loving embrace of it all. Exercise and bellydance are not in a competition. They are complimentary. I exercise to be fit. I dance to feel good.
The heart of bellydance remains when you look deeply into the soul of it all. Every woman that bellydances is tapping into a rich source of wisdom, beauty and bliss. Bellydance honours femininity, soothes the body and releases tension.
When I bellydance now, there is no goal to lose weight or measure the waist and thighs. I'm not practicing for my next performance or fitness routine. When I tie on my hip scarf and play music, I just dance to invoke curves and appreciate being a woman. Every time I bellydance, I feel more open, receptive, centred and happy. It's more simple now, yet so profound!
How would you answer this question?
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Ms Wild is on a mission; to get every woman to enjoy the natural dance of their bodies.