Masters teaches belly dancing to expectant mothers.
Mothers-to-be are often inundated with
information on whatís right for baby before the bundle of joy
arrives. For the past two years, Stefanie Masters has been helping
expectant mothers do something a little unexpected thatís right for
both mom and baby: Pre-natal belly dancing.
"A number of structural changes
happen to a womanís body when she is pregnant," says Masters,
an award-winning belly dancer and teacher with a background in
holistic healing, massage and yoga. "Unfortunately, most women
arenít aware of these changes."
In her classes and workshops, which are
held at Destination Maternity in Brookfieldís studio, Masters
focuses on helping moms-to-be change their posture.
"As a woman moves through
pregnancy, her lumbar area starts to curve and her uterus pushes up,
making it hard for her to take a full breath," she says. "As
we inhale we bring fresh oxygen into the blood stream, bringing
nutrients into the motherís body including the placenta, which feeds
and nourishes the baby."
The typical "pregnancy
posture" that many women exhibit can also be a factor in back
pain, particularly during the later trimesters of pregnancy. Masters
teaches her students how to tilt their pelvis back into place, which
relieves the pressure on those muscles.
The movements found in the art of belly
dancing naturally lend themselves to this work.
"Beyond gentle stretching and
movement, belly dancing helps women build strength and
endurance," says Masters, a Port Washington resident. Thereís a
tremendous joy to be found in pregnancy, but it can also be difficult
emotionally because a womanís body changes tremendously during this
Mastersí class, which was recently
featured in the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine, is a gentle and
empowering class for expectant mothers.
"We donít do a lot of Ďhardí
stuff; in that respect, itís no different than any other exercise a
woman would do while pregnant," she says. "Itís more about
getting to move while building dignity, self-confidence and
Most importantly, pre-natal belly
dancing can have a positive effect for a woman long after baby
"Itís an activity that keeps
women fit, and statistically, women who start an exercise program
while pregnant are actually starting a pattern of health for
life." For more information on Stefanie Mastersí classes check
out her Web site at www.danceforthesoul.com