076: Power, Healing and the Art of Belly Dancing, With Nadirah Bray
The Sex, Money, and Food Podcast
Belly Dancing and the exploration of self love through a mystical dance…
Many of us are so disconnected from our bodies in today’s culture – but dance is a sure way to get back in touch with our physicality. Our guest for this episode knows exactly how powerful dance is, especially belly dancing! Nadirah Bray is the founder of the Goddess In Motion Institute and San Diego Belly Dancers.
On this episode of the Sex, Money and Food podcast, Nadirah joins us to talk about how dance helped her heal and why she shares that message with other cancer survivors, and women of all backgrounds, ages, and experiences.
More About This Show
Nadirah first discovered belly dancing when she was six years old. She saw beautiful women of all ages and sizes performing at the Del Mar County Fair in San Diego. Fast forward a few years to her wedding; her husband’s cousin asked if she could perform a belly dance routine for them as a wedding gift. Nadirah said yes, and everyone loved it, including Nadirah.
A few more years went by before belly dancing became a daily part of her life, though. When her two sons were three and ten months old, Nadirah was busy doing the usual mom stuff. But something inside of her yearned for a social life of her own, and then belly dancing came to mind.
She called her friend from high school; they found someone in the Yellow Pages, called the woman and went over to her house to start classes. Within five months Nadirah was performing at Zorba’s in Chula Vista, and her belly dancing journey began!
For her, the dancing was a way to feel beautiful and feminine. Today she has learned it’s great for recovering from different surgeries and illnesses as well. But for all women, it’s a wonderful tool to stay in touch with our ever-changing bodies and to love our bodies as they are.
As women, we are constantly being told we aren’t good enough, we aren’t this-enough or that-enough, so there’s no room for us to simply be at peace with our bodies. Belly dancing is an opportunity to love the bodies we are in, whether we are 5, 25 or 75!
One of the ways we can incorporate this movement into our daily lives is by doing the figure 8 with our hips. Nadirah explains it: you start by placing your feet hip-width apart, keeping your knees flexible while slightly tilting your pelvis in. Breath in, put shoulders back, then roll them down.
Next bend your knees a bit, stand with your weight on your left side, while turning your right hip forward to the right diagonal. Now come from across the body from the left through the body to the right foot and then push the right hip back til it doesn’t go back anymore (in a way that feels comfortable and safe).
Finally, you’re going to come through the body from the right to the left front diagonal, and then push the left hip back to the left diagonal. In essence, you are creating the infinity sign on the floor, it looks like an 8 on its side.
Doing this helps create the balance between your masculine and feminine energy. It also activates your womb center. If you put on soft music, it becomes a beautiful dance meditation. Do this for 5 minutes, breath in on one side and breath out when you go to the other. You’ll feel more calm, centered and relaxed after you do!
Also on this edition of the Sex, Money and Food podcast, we talk about why it’s important not to dim your own light and the importance of women supporting other women. Listen in to hear all of that and more on today’s show!
Tweetable: “Don’t ask a question of others, make a statement. ” ~Nadirah Bray
Nadirah Answers the Questions
Q: Rank the following in order: sex, money, food.
A: Food, sex, and money. I love food, so for life, I have to have food. I have to nourish my body to have sex and to make money. With food, I eat slow, and I make noises when I eat – I really savor it!
Q: There is nothing better in life than…
A: having fun in everything you do!
Q: What is your ultimate pleasure in life?
A: being of service to people and seeing them transform into their best selves.
Q: What does belly dancing smell like to you?
A: It smells sweet and juicy…because belly dance is a feminine movement. It’s all about loving it and moving it; that’s juicy to me. The sweetness comes because women are like beautiful flowers, just sweet.
Q: What is a circumstance you went through that has allowed you to grow and learn and made you who you are today?
A: I have been a professional belly dancer for 12 years, that was one goal. Then in 2009 I had stage 4 appendix cancer, and thought I’m never going to achieve my goals. I went through many treatments of chemotherapy and long hospital stays, but as soon as I was out, I went back to dance.
Every opportunity after that I would dance or visualize it, it made me feel like alive and normal. What I learned is dance is really healing, it was healing my mind and my emotions. Just to move and be one with myself and to know myself at different stages of my life, that’s what I love.
Q: What book are you reading?
A: Everybody Is a Body, by Karen A. Studd, and Laura L. Cox. I love it because it just talks about everybody being a moving self. Dance is movement plus emotion.
Resources From This Episode
- Nadirah Bray’s website
- Nadirah Bray’s belly dancing website
- To call Nadirah – 619-895-4241
- Email Nadirah
- Nadirah’s Red Tent event on October 15
- Nadirah Bray on Facebook
- Nadirah Bray on Twitter
- Everybody Is a Body, by Karen A. Studd, and Laura L. Cox
- Subscribe to the Sex, Money and Food Podcast on iTunes
- Easy Smile with Dr. Braunstein
- Get your free audiobook at Audible