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Music, Moves And Abs: Dance Yourself Slim With Indian Folk Dancing!

When you think of Bollywood movies, do you think of music? Masala Bhangra (Indian Folk dancing)? Or do you think of a chiseled stomach and tighter hips and waist? Yes... all of the above. Have fun and lose fat now!

By: Jaime Filer

Article Summary:
  • Bhangra began as a folk dance to celebrate the coming of Spring.
  • Bhangra is a high-energy form of cardio that works your whole body.
  • This style of dance burns hundreds of calories in an hour.

When you think of Bollywood movies, do you think of music? Masala Bhangra (Indian Folk dancing)? Or do you think of a chiseled stomach and tighter hips and waist?

If you answered "All of the above", then you are correct. Who says you can't dance yourself slim? With Masala Bhangra, you can!

Masala Bhangra:
The Masala Bhangra Workout is an exercise dance routine that modernizes the high-energy folk dance of Bhangra by blending traditional Bhangra dance steps and the exhilaration of Bollywood (Hindi film) moves, seen recently in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire! This unique dance mixes cardiovascular with fun, and is suitable for participants of all ages and fitness levels.

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What Is It?
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Bhangra began as a folk dance conducted by farmers to celebrate the coming of Spring, or Vaisakhi. Today, Bhangra survives in different forms and styles all over the globe - including pop music, film soundtracks, and even collegiate competitions.

Sarina Jain, a professional Bhangra dancer (who has created and starred in multiple Bhangra workout DVDs) explains:

    "Masala means spicy, and Bhangra is the name of a Northern Indian farmer's dance. Masala Bhangra is essentially a high-energy form of aerobic exercise that works your whole body.

    Your arms are in the air most of the time, so your shoulders and arm muscles get lots of work. You also challenge your core, because you keep it pulled in during the exercises, and your legs get worked, too, because you're constantly moving around."

Masala Bhangra Is Essentially A High-Energy Form Of Aerobic Exercise That Works Your Whole Body.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Masala Bhangra Is Essentially A High-Energy Form Of Aerobic Exercise
That Works Your Whole Body.

Photo Courtesy Of http://www.masaladance.com/.

This style of dance burns hundreds of calories in an hour, and the upbeat music and swirling moves render boredom obsolete. "The drum beat definitely keeps you moving so you don't notice the clock," Jain says.

Bhangra is a cardio workout that will increase your heart rate and speed up your metabolism. And who doesn't want that?

RELATED VIDEO: MASALA BHANGRA WORKOUT


Sarina Jain's Masala Bhangra Workout:
Volume 1!

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How Do You Do It?
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Since the overwhelming popularity of Slumdog Millionaire (Golden Globe winning/Oscar nominated movie), and the rising appreciation for Bollywood movies, thousands of people have been turned onto Bhangra style dancing. Chances are, there will be Bhangra dance classes offered at studios (or gyms) in your area, that you never thought to look for before.

Belly dancing classes are also taking off in terms of popularity. Or, if you're a homebody, or just don't like dancing in public, you can buy your own workout DVD.

Thousands Of People Have Been Turned Onto Bhangra Style Dancing.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Thousands Of People Have Been Turned Onto Bhangra Style Dancing.
From The Movie "Slumdog Millionaire".

One thing to note though, when you buy your first DVD, make sure it includes an instructional feature, in which each move is explained separately, so you can learn at your own pace and not feel overwhelmed by the complexes. Then later, you can combine each individual part together for the workout.

RELATED PRODUCT
Masala Bhangra Workout, Vol. 1 Sarina Jain Presents:
Masala Bhangra Workout, Vol. 1

The first Indian-dance-inspired fitness video, the Masala Bhangra Workout volume 1, is a 36-minute high-energy workout utilizing moves from traditional Indian folk dances.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

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Typical Workout To Accompany Dance Classes
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First and foremost, you'll want to warm up. Use gentle movements such as shoulder rolls that invigorate and prepare the body for movement. Also get some dynamic movement going such as walking on a treadmill or using the elliptical for 5-7 minutes to get the joints lubricated, and the muscles ready.

You can also throw in bodyweight squats and some walking lunges for added lower body mobility. Dancing is a whole body movement; it requires both fine and gross motor skills. We need to be able to activate our biggest muscle groups (chest, back, legs) and our smallest (shoulders, arms).

Dancing Is A Whole Body Movement.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Dancing Is A Whole Body Movement.
Photo Courtesy Of http://www.masaladance.com/.

With that said, compound movements (movements that recruit more than one muscle group) should be a staple of your exercise routine. Some examples of compound movements, with a set range of 3-4, and a rep range of 10-15, are:

Make these movements staples of your routine, and tack on isolation movements (eg. dumbbell curl, arnold press, leg extension, pec flyes, etc.) at the end for added targeting of specific muscle groups.

We also want to put a lot of emphasis on core work. Your core (transverse abdominis, obliques, rectus abdominum) is essentially what holds you up.

When your core is engaged, your abs are tight, your spine is erect, and your posture is perfect. In order to get the core engaged, we have to utilize exercises that focus on tightening them. These include (but are not limited to):

At the end of your workouts, focus on posture/alignment and stretching. Using exercises such as spinal stretches that stretch, strengthen and elongate the spine will help you be able to move and flow more freely while you dance. Movements such as hip lift or lunging stretch will increase your joint and muscle flexibility and range of motion.


Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Spinal Stretch.
Video Guide: Windows Media - MPEG

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Why Do It?
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I'm sure there are many of you out there who would rather just tear it up at the gym, and then plug away at cardio in order to get that lean, tight look. And there's nothing wrong with this approach. However, "Variety is the spice of life."

I recommend switching things up every once in a while so that your body and your mind can experience something different for a change. Dance-inspired routines will help you build strong, flexible muscles and leave you feeling more graceful than a typical gym workout would.

It works by generating small, controlled movements designed to isolate and challenge muscles without stressing your joints. Depending on the intensity you choose, a home dance workout can be just as potent as a gym workout, with similar results; strong, shapely muscles.

RELATED POLL
Have You Ever Tried Dance Training As A Form Of Cardio? What Were Your Results?

Yes - I Loved It
Yes - But It's Not For Me
I've Never Tried It

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Alternatives
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As I mentioned before, belly dancing is also a popular dance form that is gaining popularity in North America, but it is rooted in Arabic culture.

The same principles hold true for Belly Dancing as for Bhangra style; the abs/core must be kept tight, the hips and legs provide much of the movement, and the upper body limbs help to stabilize and also move. It draws a lot of parallels to Bhangra in terms of the techniques used:

    "Most of the basic steps and techniques used in belly dancing involve circular motions isolated to a certain part of the body. For example, a circular movement 'drawn' parallel to the floor by the hips is known as a 'hip circle', or by the rib-cage known as a 'chest circle'.

    Accents such as 'hip lifts' or 'drops' are used to draw the eye to hip movement such as 'shimmies or hip circles', while shoulder or arm movements are to accent chest or belly undulations."

Most Of The Basic Steps Involve Circular Motions Isolated To A Certain Part Of The Body.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Most Of The Basic Steps Involve Circular Motions Isolated To A Certain
Part Of The Body.

Photo Courtesy Of http://www.masaladance.com/.

Most cultures have their own traditional styles of dance. But there's no reason why they can't be jazzed up a little. All you have to do is a little research, and you can find a class or a tutorial online that teaches you what you want to do. Masala Bhangra is just one of the many forms of cultural dancing that can help with your fitness. You just have to be a little creative and innovative.

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I never knew Bhangra is so popular :P

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