“Dance of the womb” BOOK and DVD, have received many reviews, testimonials AND SUPPORT and support from various sources, organisations to individuals and birth reviewers WORLDWIDE.
Thank you for all those who have taken the time to review my resources and helped spread the positive word for all women. It is much appreciated. ~Maha Al Musa~
mothering.com – USA
In Dance of the Womb: A Gentle Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy & Birth, Maha Al Musa teaches women how to use the undulating, rhythmic movements of belly dance to more easily engage in labor. A 45-minute warmup session introduces viewers to basic moves and ensures that the body is thoroughly prepared to learn the various simple dances. This unique approach to pregnancy and birth is facili- tated by a skilled, experienced teacher. (Red Polar Pictures in association with BellydanceBirth Productions, 2009)
“Maha Al Musa has created a remarkable treasure for the birth world-an easy-to-follow, beautifully presented, step-by-step instructional bellydancing DVD called Dance of the Womb. Maha’s interest in Middle Eastern Dance was sparked by her Palestinian/Lebanese roots and she brings a lot of love and authenticity to her presentation of the dance techniques. Maha has also published a gorgeous companion book, Dance of the Womb.”
Lesley Everest – Doula Extraordinaire from Montreal Canada –
“It is a very thorough dvd, so either you can study it as if you were doing a workshop with Maha, following it all in one go, or by chapter, perhaps studying one chapter per day. If you choose to study it in spurts, definitely do the warm up exercises before each time, as they feel SO good!
“Dance of the Womb” is a JOY to follow. As you learn how to emulate with your hips the sacred patterns of the circle, the spiral, the figure eight, the “cervix dance” (which is subtle, but very powerful), the chest movements and dances of the hands and arms, you connect to a beautiful fluidity. There is one point where Maha, gloriously pregnant at the age of 46, demonstrates the wide hip circle while leaning against a chair. If you have witnessed birth, you will resonate with how universal this dance is, as so many women, if you leave them to their own devices, will feel their thought processes slow and their bodies release, naturally swaying their hips to the timeless rhythm that is Birth. While we cannot control our births, Maha helps us to tune into our innermost selves and use our bodies and breath to help manage the intensity of labour.
There was a small part of me which wished, for a little moment, that I could give birth again just to be able to consciously and joyfully bellydance throughout labour! That won’t be happening any time soon, but I did actually receive a great benefit…my mid back, which has been bothering me for days, felt a lot better after doing the chest circles. As she freely caresses her pregnant belly with her hands and massages her baby with her dancing hips, Maha is a vision of fullness and beauty. But the movements come from such a natural, intuitive place, that she makes every woman feel like they can do it too, regardless of how much “technique” they are worried about lacking. Perfection is not important here..what is emphasized is feeling good while doing it..and it does feel good!
Maha narrates the dvd and gives the instructions in a very soothing voice with her cute Australian accent and allows viewers ample time to play with the movements, allowing us to go more deeply into the hypnotic music that reflects her Middle Eastern roots. Her words are nourishing. They heal us of our doubts about our abilities to give birth. Our hips, bellies, and wombs, designed with perfection, can bring our babies down and out without much help from our minds. By practising Bellydance for Birth, you can get a glimpse of what that magical endorphin/oxytocin suffused labour trance feels like, which transports us to a place where anything, even bringing forth life, is possible.
Maha treats us at the end of the dvd to an interview with the two midwives who attended the homebirth of her baby girl, interspersed with images and video clips of her labouring and giving birth. What I appreciate about these clips is that it is clear there is no promise that Belly Dancing for Birth makes labour “easy” or “painless”. Maha and the midwives do not shy away from discussing the reality of pain in childbirth, speaking of it as normal and life giving. We get to see Maha challenged by contractions, and using the Bellydance to help manage the intense energy of the contractions, and releasing tension through movement and breath. We see her allow herself to freely release emotions to help keep the progression of labour going smoothly, and even get to witness as one of her midwives bellydances close to her, as if to share some of the burden, in a beautiful display of purely feminine commiseration. Thanks, Maha!”
“Maha’s DVD Dance Of The Womb is gentle, informative and awe inspiring. She captures the mood of pregnancy – that lovely internal state of creating a new being. The tone of the DVD is quiet, restful, almost meditative encouraging you to take time for yourself to nurture you and connect with baby. In this mad paced busy world – it is so refreshing to find a philosophy that values the feminine state of pregnancy and gives you permission to slow down and enjoy it. Having had 2 births a fair time ago now, I can see that Bellydancebirth would have been an amazingly useful tool for me to help me connect with myself and trust my body to give birth without all the fear and negativity. It almost makes me wish I was pregnant again – just so I can try her methods myself! I highly recommend her book / DVD for every pregnant woman.”
Tricia Mary Lee : “Bellydance for Body and Soul” – Australian contact for “The Sacred Dance Guild”
“My absolute joy in Maha’s richly presented resources is in her powerful reclamation of bellydance as the “Dance of the Womb”, the most Sacred Dance of all dances for women.
With clear instructions and demonstrations linking heart, mind, body and soul, Maha teaches from the depths of her Middle Eastern roots, making the dance simple and accessible to all women. Restoring what we call ‘bellydance’ to one of it’s original ancient roles, as a rite of preparation and assistance for pregnancy and childbirth, elevates it from the popular entertainment value of shimmies and sparkles, to it’s rightful place within the natural sacred cycle and well being of women’s lives which spans from pre-menstruation to post menopause.
Gracefully and with cultural dignity Maha, who is a doula [ birth assistant] and dancer herself, also presents sound contemporary evidence which validates the techniques of this beautiful dance form for pregnancy and birthing today, be it at home or in hospital.The book and DVD are essential partners and themselves dance as jewels of wisdom for all women [ pregnant or not !!! ] who wish to embrace a deeper connection with their feminine bodies and souls.
Thank you Maha, the need for women to reclaim their natural feminine dancing power was never greater.”
Cécile Colares Machado – Mother, Massage Therapist & Yoga teacher :
“Maha’s book is an absolute delight. Her story is so inspiring and all the ancient knowledge and wisdom she shares from her culture has given me confidence and reaffirmed my belief that women’s body know how to give birth, and that we should simply trust in the process. Her home birth DVD and exercises are purely gold, every woman should read her book and watch her DVD. There are treasures!”
“I have this book and it is such an amazing testimony to birth and using dance as a prime mover during birth and the preparation before birth.
Maha and her dance moves helped me so much during the birth of my second son. I was blessed to have her attend my birth. Her being there put me into a whole new mindset. We breathed and danced into every contraction. My second birth was so much quicker than my first.
I totally recommend this book and if you are lucky enough to find yourself in a city where she is presenting her classes, I highly recommend attending”
Nicki – Mother & Doula:
I have finished reading your book and I must say it is much more than I ever expected! The history, the stories, the depth is amazing. The emotional journey that you take the reader on is so powerful. Brilliant so so brilliant. Now a question when is the dvd coming out? For those poor souls like me who are not blessed to be in attendance to any of your classes. You would do so well teaching us there is nothing else like it on the market and believe me i have searched and searched and searched again.
We recently found out that we are expecting again and having had what I consider a very medical and traumatic labour first time around I am so eagerly gathering as much info as I can on belly dancing specifically for birth.This time I want my journey to be emotional and spiritual not a medical journey. Anyway if that’s not on the cards I may have to save my rainy day money and come up to take a class or 20.
Thank you for empowering women and educating them, but most of all thank you for inspiring us to birth from within.”
Peter Abu Jabir – Birthlight UK
“I wanted to look at pregnancy and birthing in a non-western culture and with having family links to the Middle East I was keen to see if there was any deeply rooted practices from this part of the world. I was very pleased to find out that the belly dance has a strong involvement in birth preparation and labour for many Arab women. This has been used over the generations and passed from mother to daughter. The circling, spiralling and hip rolling elements of the dance are perfect movements in pregnancy and are used in the same way as many more familiar pregnancy exercises are used to prepare the mother for birth during pregnancy and throughout labour.
The book explains various exercises and foundation movements for belly dance that can be used by women. Maha provides guidance over warming up through to various dance elements. The book suggests that the exercises can be performed in a straightforward collection of movements or otherwise blended to create an individual interpretation of the dance that can be combined to music to allow a free expression for the woman. Certainly this is encouraged by Maha and you really get the feeling of her enthusiasm for the belly dance through the book. There is a strong holistic thread running through Mahaʼs work.
While there are the obvious physical benefits of the dance Maha also shows a more spiritual side as well with the rhythm of the movement and the free expression that dance allows. This brings about a natural link to yoga and mirrors the thrust of what is trying to be achieved in Birthlight AquaYoga classes. Many of the exercises are similar to those used in AquaYoga and include hip circles and figure of eight hip movements. Maha is also clear in the importance of correct spinal alignment, effective breathing, the relaxed jaw and pelvic floor toning.
As well as the technical aspect of the book – teaching and explaining the practices, the book is broken up well with insights into Mahaʼs life – her discovery of belly dance, dealing with her own personal journeys and her experiences of pregnancy, birthing and motherhood. Maha recalls her experiences of developing relationships with lost family members in Lebanon and Jordan as well as discovering more about life here and learning about cultural practices. I found this most interesting and it was also interesting to read how she personally found her own path in reconciling her physical upbringing in Australia with her spiritual blood ties to the Middle East. As the book is written in such a way that each chapter is interspersed with these personal accounts is makes for easy reading.
I believe many AquaYoga teachers and students would enjoy reading Dance of the Womb. For those with an interest in dance it is great and for those less inclined in this area it does at the very least give a good insight into the experiences one woman has had in developing her own approach to birth preparation through teaching to western women a traditional dance and combining it with elements of yoga which I am sure will appeal to most involved in Birthlight.”