Shimmying Through Menopause
How Belly Dance Can Improve Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Health in Women
As women go through perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, their bodies undergo significant changes. These changes can impact their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Fortunately, natural movement practices, such as belly dance, can help women navigate this transition with more ease and grace. Let’s explore the benefits of natural movement for women entering the menopausal portal.
Belly dance is a low-impact, weight-bearing form of exercise that can improve balance, flexibility, coordination and strength. This is particularly important for women in peri-, mid-, and post-menopause, as they may experience a decline in bone density and an increased risk of falls. Belly dance involves fluid, circular movements that can also help improve joint mobility and reduce stiffness.
According to a study published in the Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy, women who participated in a 12-week belly dance program experienced significant improvements in balance, flexibility, and muscular endurance. They also reported reduced pain and increased self-esteem.
In addition to the physical benefits, belly dance can also help women connect with their bodies and feel more comfortable in their own skin. This is especially important during a time when many women may be experiencing changes in their body shape and size.
Belly dance can also have significant mental health benefits. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common during the menopausal journey. The mindful, rhythmic movements of belly dance can induce a state of flow, which can be calming, centering and meditative.
In a study published in the Journal of Complementary Medicine Research, women who participated in a belly dance program reported significant reductions in stress and anxiety. They also reported improved mood and a greater sense of well-being.
Belly dance can also have powerful emotional benefits. It can help women reconnect with their femininity and sensuality, which can be empowering and healing. Belly dance celebrates the natural curves and movements of the female body, which can help women feel more confident, empowered and comfortable in their own skin.
In a study published in the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, women who participated in a belly dance program reported increased body image satisfaction and self-esteem. They also reported feeling more connected to their bodies and more confident in their ability to express themselves.
Belly dance can also have spiritual benefits. It can help women connect with their inner selves and tap into their creativity and intuition. The ancient origins of belly dance can also imbue the practice with a sense of history and tradition, which can be grounding and inspiring.
In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, women who participated in a belly dance program reported increased spiritual well-being and a greater sense of connection to something greater than themselves.
In essence, belly dance and other forms of natural movement can offer a wealth of benefits for women in perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. These practices can improve physical health, reduce stress and anxiety, increase body image satisfaction and self-esteem, and promote spiritual well-being. By connecting with their bodies in this way, women can navigate this transition with greater ease and grace, and embrace this new phase of life with confidence and vitality.
If you would like to learn more about how lack of movement can affect you during the menopausal transition and why it is so crucial for women to stay active, my friend and colleague, Dr Willow Brown and I have created an ebook just for you.