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  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer lunascura's Avatar
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    Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    I've been dancing for about 4 years now and I feel that I've come a long way, but if there's one thing that constantly bothers me when I watch videos of myself performing it's my arms.

    My upper body is really tight and I have a really hard time creating a nice long line with my arms raised above my shoulders. I don't know if it's my traps that are just not flexible enough or what, but I consistently find that my arm positions kill the overall appearance of my performance.

    Often what feels like an "arm straight up in the air" is really "an arm bent awkwardly at the elbow." I also have a difficult time keeping my shoulders down out of my neck when my arms are raised. If I want to put my arms in "princess" (palms together over head, often with a veil wrap), I can't bring my hands back to avoid casting shadow on my face and my hands are almost resting on my head instead of pushed upward toward the ceiling.

    I know that I am short of stature and therefore will never have the long graceful arms of some other more physically blessed dancers, but the stiffness in my upper body is just killing my ability to get a nice lovely body line, and it's causing me some difficulty with veil work.

    Someone at work told me to try yoga, but I'm not going to pay a monthly gym membership for a yoga class and I find a lot of the new-age-"let's breathe through our feet" yoga videos to be intensely annoying. Anyone know of any straight-to-the-point-no-nonsense yoga videos that work on the upper body?

    Alternatively, can anyone recommend any stretches, drills, workouts, etc that might help me loosen up a little?


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer Darbla's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    See if your local library or Netflix or other video rental store has any. I find "downward facing dog", when done correctly, really helps my shoulders & surrounding areas.


  3. #3
    I could get used to this! Wallowa's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    Yoga videos are annoying regardless. A Good old fashioned Hatha Yoga video should have minimal annoyances. perhaps you can find a class that meets at a college or community center and thus avoid the gym fees.


    There is a yoga for belly dancers video that I found helpful. http://www.aleili.com/yoga.html

    The main problem with yoga videos is the same as BD videos, you can never be positive that you are doing it right without a real teacher there to give you feedback.
    Marya, the only Egyptian Style Belly Dancer in Wallowa County, Oregon


  4. #4
    Mega BHUZzer Nazarah's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    I haven't looked at my copy in a while, but what about Rachel Brice's arms DVD? Isn't there a good bit of shoulder stretching in it?


  5. #5
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    Rachel Brice's Serpentine DVD has a good yoga warm up that will head you in the right direction, but if you can find a yoga studio, or a gym that will just let you pay to drop into the yoga classes only, there is nothing that beats the personal feedback of a good yoga instructor. I struggle with similar posture issues and yoga is really the best thing for it.


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer kina's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    I find hot yoga very helpful in opening up all areas. There is very little dialogue other than what's scripted.

    I have VERY tight traps and scapulae, this helps even with the current rotator cuff injury I'm dealing with.
    - A deeply desired goal gives context to present experience... M. Stanton Jones

    -Truth is one, paths are many. Sivananda.

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  7. #7
    Official BHUZzer dancerose's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    I have heard good things about Jill Miller. She has and upper body quick fix RX for the upper body consisting of 5 & 10 min. sections for each upper body part. She has a lot of dvds that are a combination of yoga and rehab. I hear the longer ones are quite challenging. The post athletic stretch or the RX might be a good idea for you. Check out some clips.


  8. #8
    I could get used to this! vanillacherry's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    Yoga, and consider seeing a massage therapist to increase range of motion in the upper body/arms- choose one with good technique and a strong anatomy background if you do. And when you stretch and/or warm up for practice/performance...

    Start from the ends(forearms) when you warm up. Most people don't do enough stretching in the forearm area, and it can really help to lengthen and loosen the arms.





    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by vanillacherry; 02-07-2011 at 11:15 PM. Reason: grammar!


  9. #9
    Master BHUZzer Bahtya's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for dealing with tight upper body/arms

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallowa View Post

    There is a yoga for belly dancers video that I found helpful. http://www.aleili.com/yoga.html

    .
    Aleili is my dance teacher. She also has been teaching Yoga for years. Hers is a good dvd to have in your collection if you are practicing Yoga at home.


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