Birth dance: tapping into the body’s inner wisdom
Dancing for Birth
Weekly 90-minute classes are offered at two Nevada County locations — on Fridays at 10 a.m. at the Peace. Love. Swap and Play Community Center, 124 Clydesdale Ct., Suite C in Grass Valley and on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. at The Nest, 208 Providence Mine Rd., Suite 122 in Nevada City. Healthy drinks and snacks available at each class. For more information, contact instructor Rukiyah Bond at 360-451-0386 or on her Facebook page, “There WINGS.”
A passerby may hear the music and assume there is a traditional dance class going on inside. The mixture of Latin, African and Middle Eastern belly dance percussion is enough to make anyone want to stop and join in. But one step inside and it’s clear this is a class for pregnant women nearing their due dates, as well as newly pregnant mothers, hope-to-be-pregnant mothers and mothers with young children.
The women sway to the music wearing coin hip scarves, some tied under their enormous bellies, which accentuate their movements. Some are wearing their babies in slings or wraps while they dance — the little ones lulled by the motion.
Rukiyah Bond is the instructor of Dancing for Birth, which is a series of classes uniquely designed to strengthen muscles women use while in labor and to build confidence surrounding natural childbirth.
The goal of the prenatal and postpartum classes is to help women become stronger, more agile and emotionally prepared for the birth experience, as well as regaining strength after their babies are born.
Bond, a mother of six, is a provisional “Full Circle” doula and childbirth companion trained by the International Center for Traditional Childbearing, as well as a trained “Baby Spinner,” a practice aimed to help babies in utero “spin” into optimal childbirth birth positions.
She became a certified Dancing for Birth instructor in March, while pregnant with her sixth child, Divine.
“I’ve always loved to dance and wanted to do something for the moms,” said Bond. “These classes really help get the body programmed for pregnancy and birth — prenatal fitness and birth readiness. It activates your instincts.”
She also found the training valuable when giving birth herself.
“I used some of the movements during my own birth,” said Bond, who had an unassisted home birth. “I even danced while I was in labor — it helped tremendously.”
In class, Bond incorporates dance moves, such as “Down Baby Down,” Babymaker, Birthgiver” and “Mighty Mama,” all designed to create awareness of the mind/body/baby connection. According to the Dancing for Birth philosophy, dancing helps with the flexibility of the pelvis and encourages the baby to move into the proper alignment for birth.
Signature moves such as “Birth Spiral,” “Infinite Patience,” “Abundant Belly,” “Rock the Baby,” “Dilation Gyration” and “Knocking on the Door” are designed to ease tension at every phase of pregnancy and increase comfort and confidence during labor. Bond also allows time in each class for bonding and sharing of “motherly wisdom.” Students often share affirmation cards. The bonding can help tremendously with those experiencing “baby blues,” she said.
“Rukiyah shares her knowledge of birth, including the right movements, exercises and birthing positions,” said Rachel Levesque, whose second baby is due Nov. 28. “Not only does she help us strengthen the muscles used during birth, she also works on the muscles that tend to get sore during pregnancy. There is a certain sensuality in dancing, too. It’s relaxing.”
Weekly 90-minute classes are offered at two Nevada County locations — the Peace. Love. Swap and Play Community Center on Clydesdale Ct. in Grass Valley and The Nest on Providence Mine Road in Nevada City. Bond offers healthy drinks and snacks during each class.
“After learning these movements, when labor comes, the mind might forget but the body remembers,” said Bond. “You learn to flow with the process and not fight it — just let your body do what it naturally does.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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