Yoga for Bellydancers

It all started with a warm-up of a dance technique class in Chile, 2008. At that time I didn’t know much about what this Yoga thing was, nor did it even catch my attention. My bias was that Yoga was “boring”, just sitting, meditating and being “Zen”, in short, it was not for me. I liked to move my body, to dance was my meditation, but in time all my prejudices fell apart. How wrong I was!

Following my dream of being the best bellydancer I could be, in 2011 I went to live in Buenos Aires to study in the ADS of the incredible Amir Thaleb. Once again I found some asanas in a warm-up, this time in Bollywood classes with another great teacher, Leandro Ferreyra. My supposedly “flexible and strong” dancer’s body became more complicated than you can imagine. I tried to extend my column and I did not move even a millimeter. Still, that’s not why I fell in love with Yoga.

Later I went through difficult times, I was far from my people and my country, totally alone.

My mother had a friend who taught yoga near my house and invited me to participate. They told me it was a small group, so I did not think much and I went, total, I had nothing to lose. What I won that day until today seems unpayable, my life was never the same again.

And of course, with physical practice (Asanas) my body was transformed, I gained a flexibility that with the Bellydance alone would never have achieved. Rather than increase my strength, the control I had over her increased, and my lung capacity increased so much that I hardly tired of dancing. Impressively I stopped injuring myself (yes, even if it seems miraculous, since practicing Yoga I never injured myself again!) And my posture began to correct itself. But most importantly and by far what I am most grateful to have found Yoga (although after all the incredible things I said, it seems difficult that there is something better) was not in the Asanas itself, was in the philosophy of Yoga, In what it could contribute to my life and my way of facing my reality. I learned to be present, to inhabit the exact moment in which I was. Many times I saw myself dancing and thinking of making the biggest shimmy, the deepest ripple, the gesture that interpreted the letter perfectly. When I started practicing Yoga regularly, the biggest shimmy happened because I was in connection with my body, with my energy, with my mind, with the music, the environment and the public. I no longer had to think about it, I was in Union.

Yoga Means Union and that is, in my opinion, the most important thing this practice can bring to our dance. And it is that you have to understand that Yoga is not just a lot of postures that you have to keep a certain time. It is a whole philosophy, a life style, conscious breathing, energy mobilization, concentration, inhabit the present, even implies ways of developing in the world and for oneself free of violence, greed, aggression and so on. All these things sound difficult to achieve and precisely, that is grace. We do not need to become saints, become vegetarians, or dress completely white (if you do it great, but if not, the world will not end) The changes are small but so significant that your whole world is completely revolutionized.

I remember the first time I noticed it. In our environment we usually find envy, divismo and much competition. One day I saw myself involved in a conversation in a group of whatsapp formed by friends of the soul, beautiful dancers and good people that until today I adore with all my heart. But as I mentioned, our environment usually has that not so poisonous that tempts us to speak badly, to highlight the ugly or gross in others (that throw the first stone that never has!). The conversation was about a dancer who had danced at a dance meeting the week before. Not even her name knew her, but she read as one after another they discovered her: that she was fat, that her suit was ugly, that she danced out of time etc etc etc. I just could not take it anymore and I left the group. From that moment I decided not to be part of that anymore. I owe that change to Yoga.

Since I practice I enjoy the dance much more, it is as if I had changed the lens of the glasses with which I was watching. I am a better bellydancer thanks to Yoga, although probably today my shimmy is not more intense, nor stronger, but if it is much more enjoyed and any malicious criticism that comes to me, because I look with more love and compassion, no longer have the Power to hurt me. That yes, my advice is that I do not believe anything of what I say. Dare to prove it yourself and draw your own conclusions. Finally, like me in that first class to which I went without any expectation, they have absolutely nothing to lose. Make sense or not, they will not know until they jump into the pool and put their feet in the wonderful world of Yoga.

Contact Camila click here: Facebook Page 

She also paints buddas, check it out here: Oh my Buddha

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