The Dance of the Womb DVD is a complete and easy-to-use resource for learning prenatal belly dance. I'm actively using it during my current pregnancy and continue to be impressed with it. I only wish I'd started working with it sooner than I did!
Maba Al Musa put together Dance of the Womb: Belly Dance for Pregnancy & Birth after dancing her way through her own pregnancy – and through her baby's birth. She's been teaching prenatal belly dance for well over a decade and her experience and guidance really shine through on the DVD.
In the Comfort of Your Home
I'm a beginner to belly dance, but it has always appealed to me. Pregnancy is a natural time to learn more because belly dance is a good prenatal exercise – and it helps with proper positioning of the baby. I tried to take a couple of prenatal belly dance classes during my last pregnancy, but with a family to care for and the cost of regular classes, it just didn't work out for me. I was really excited when I found Maba's video.
Maba has the DVD broken down into several comprehensive sections, including a section of Extras which I'll address later in the review. The core of the DVD is the dances.
She begins with a long section of warm ups – 45 minutes of exercise. You're walked through each part of the warm up step-by-step. I feel like the warm up could be speeded up once you've gone through several times and no longer need the DVD's walkthrough. I use a prenatal yoga routine in my prenatal exercise and I found that since I've done the same yoga routine throughout my pregnancies I preferred that as a gentle warm up. This is mostly because it's very familiar and enjoyable to me. Maba's warm up routine is well done and very well detailed. In addition, she has a “cat stretch” or “pelvic rock” variation which I really enjoy and have added into my own yoga routine.
After the warm up, Dance of the Womb is broken into the various dances – The Circle, The Spiral, The Figure 8, The Cervix, The Hands & Arms, and The Chest. It's an intuitive organization that is very beginner-friendly. You can select which portion you want to begin with and jump right in. I would recommend at least starting with The Circle because everything else builds up off of this technique.
Maba guides you through each technique very slowly, step-by-step, breaking down the movements needed. Then she pulls them together and helps you feel comfortable with them. It is extremely well-done. You can go back and watch the dance that you're interested in over and over until you've mastered it.
Each dance begins with the basics, but Dance of the Womb doesn't stop at a beginner level. Once you've mastered the initial techniques, Maba covers variations and more advanced techniques. I have really enjoyed getting into the variations of the dances and slowly mastering each one. I've been using the DVD for a few months now and still have material I haven't touched in my actual dancing because I'm still enjoying practicing and putting together what I've previously learned.
Each dance can stand alone, or you can begin combining techniques and movements to create your own unique dance. I love the flexibility.
Arms, Chest, and Your Baby
The sections on arms and chest are helpful, especially if you, like me, feel a little awkward with the movements of your hands and arms. The sections are very encouraging. Maba focuses on chest movements that prepare you for birth and mothering. Her insights are invaluable.
Maba gives helpful tips for your pregnancy and birth through the dance routines, pointing out how a movement can help during labor or pregnancy. I love these little hints, as well as the reminders to connect with your baby as you dance with him or her. Maba's routine is a beautiful and completely feminine approach to prenatal exercise – and grounded in workout, fetal positioning, and birth preparation principles.
The DVD includes an “Extras” section. There is a video of Maba's own labor and birth – you see how the dances she's taught you are used during her labor. The birth scene is beautiful. You'll find it both inspiring and informative. There's also a section where Maba is interviewing/being interviewed by two local midwives. They discuss birth, belly dance, and many other topics. It's a great interview segment to watch as you prepare for birth.
Of course, the heart of Belly Dance for Birth is the dance instruction, and Maba has done an excellent job. I am truly enjoying dancing through my pregnancy, and I'm already visualizing how I'll use these beautifully feminine movements as I bring my baby into the world. I also look forward to cradling my baby in my arms and continuing the dance with babe on the outside. Go ahead and get Belly Dance for Birth to enhance your own pregnancy and birth preparation.