RakasaFit™ is a nonstop core fitness belly dance workout consisting of a warm-up, 4-7 workout combinations, and a deep cool-down stretch. Each combination drills one essential belly dance shape – a circle, figure eight, or wave, for example – explored with variations of the feet, arms, levels, speed, and traveling. Many combos also include core conditioning exercises that are typical across fitness styles, such as lunges/squats, kicks, knee lifts, cross-lateral reaches, and more. The original length is 60 minutes, but shorter variations of 30, 45, or 50 minutes are also available. Regular practice leads to excellent belly dance technique as well as improved stamina, posture, fluidity, and strength with all activities!

For detailed info and guidance on this format with videos of sample routines and combinations, log into your membership account or enroll here. The first 7 days are free and you may cancel anytime.

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Shape, Dimension, and Direction

Belly dance moves in RakasaFit™ are defined by shape – circles, waves, figure 8s, lines, and vibrations. These shapes can be presented in multiple dimensions and traced in multiple directions. This sets the moves into a tangible structure for faster learning and instruction at a workout pace. Beginners can visualize each shape as they work toward tracing it with their bodies, and maintain this focus as they work though variations and toward proficiency over time. Experienced dancers can focus on deeper movement quality, full extension, and strengthening areas of weakness, all of which creates a more powerful workout! This page lists the essential belly dance shapes and moves according to dimension and direction, and how they are implemented into the RakasaFit™ workout. Specific combos and routines are available for RakasaFit subscribers.

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Hip Lifts (and Drops):  We engage the power muscles of the thighs (adductors and gluts), squeezing and contracting to lift each hip up. Because of the natural curve of our bodies, this may appear as a simple swing of the hips, however internally we must visualize engaging our thigh muscles to create a straight vertical line pushing up. And what goes up on one side goes down on the other; thus a lift on one hip creates the appearance of a drop on the other. Engaging power muscles in the thighs to create movement is so fundamental to all of belly dance, so it often makes sense to have hip lift/drop combinations first in the RakasaFit workout to get the body and mind warmed up for the rest of the belly dance moves. When used this way, hip lift/drop combinations can be exclusively belly dance and may not need a cardio drill. Hip lift/drop combinations will almost always include variations with feet (flat, elevated, one of each, etc) and other possible dynamics.

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Hip Circles (Exterior / Interior):  Circles are the most prevalent shape in belly dance, and can be created with all parts of the body. When circles are combined side-to-side, it makes the shape of an 8, which we refer to separately below as “Figure 8s.” Yet they are in the same family. Exterior hip circles are traced as big external circles around the outside of the feet, which are often positioned shoulder width apart. This requires reaching well outside of your center with the hips and involves no pelvic movement or rotation. By contrast, interior hip circles are centered directly over the feet/foot and require deep and symmetrical rotation of the hips by engaging the power muscles in the thighs. Interior hip circles are common across a variety of world dance forms, including Hula, Tahitian, Samba, and African. In belly dance they're referred to as “Omi.” In RakasaFit, exterior hip circle combinations work well early in the workout, and with a cardio drill. "Omi" combinations are often last due to the more complex muscle dynamics involved, and may include a cardio drill.

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Undulations (Top-Down / Bottom-Up):  An undulation is a wave in the shape of an “S” in the vertical dimension, moving in the direction of top-down (starting from the chest or just below), or bottom-up (starting from the pelvis). Both require full extension through the spine, starting or finishing (depending on direction) with the chest ahead of center. In Egyptian belly dance, "camel walks" are a common application of top-down undulations. Undulations can also be done without the spine using abdominal muscles only, commonly referred to as "belly roll." It's best to train on both types. Quality undulations are demanding, thus undulation combinations in RakasaFit are toward the middle of the workout, where cardio intensity is high.
 

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Undulations (Top-Down / Bottom-Up):  An undulation is a wave in the shape of an “S” in the vertical dimension, moving in the direction of top-down (starting from the chest or just below), or bottom-up (starting from the pelvis). Both require full extension through the spine, starting or finishing (depending on direction) with the chest ahead of center. In Egyptian belly dance, "camel walks" are a common application of top-down undulations. Undulations can also be done without the spine using abdominal muscles only, commonly referred to as "belly roll." It's best to train on both types. Quality undulations are demanding, thus undulation combinations in RakasaFit are toward the middle of the workout, where cardio intensity is high.
 

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Shimmies/Vibrations:  The shape of a shimmy is vibration, the most essential element of the universe, which conveys all energy, sound, and light. Shimmies are distinguished from all other belly dance moves because they involve no muscle engagement or contraction. To the contrary, hip shimmies require completely releasing all thigh muscles to achieve maximum vibration. Shoulder shimmies are also common in belly dance. In RakasaFit, shimmies are the "wild card." There is no combination dedicated exclusively to shimmies, yet they can appear in any combination as well as transitions between combinations to maintain nonstop movement while helping to release and refresh the muscles used in the combinations.

For additional breakdown and training, access the online program!

Artwork by Amber Swanger. © 2018, all rights reserved.