Healing and Resolving – Helps You Have Beautiful Dance Arms

What Makes Your Arms Look Gorgeous? (And What Makes Them Look NOT – In Your Dance and In Your Life)

It Takes Courage to Claim Our Space

Learn to take up space - it takes courage, but makes a statement! Photo courtesy funnygrins.com.
Learn to take up space – it takes courage, but makes a statement! Photo courtesy funnygrins.com.

A woman who retired as full colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps recalled counseling a woman junior officer. The younger woman was presenting herself too timidly in the presence of her male peers.

The result of the young officer’s nice girl posture was that her ideas and work was not being taken as seriously.

My friend’s advice?

Take up more space.

She suggested that the young officer sprawl more when she sat in a chair – stretch out her arms and legs, rather than sitting in a tight, closed, demure little posture.


Chicken Wings – How NOT to Look Graceful on Stage

Chicken wings - not an ideal visualization for beautiful arms and hands.
Chicken wings – not an ideal visualization for beautiful arms and hands.

Can we just cut to the chase here?

There are wonderful imageries that help us create beautiful flowing technique and lines in our dance.

Chicken wings is not one of those images.

How do we get them?

More important – if we have them, how do we get over them?

Practice counts, surely.

But what if there was a way to make near-instantaneous change – in our dance and in our life.



How Not to Have Chicken Wings in the Middle of Our Dance

Chicken wings in dance - when our arms and hands don't give us the beautiful line that we'd like.
Chicken wings in dance – when our arms and hands don’t give us the beautiful line that we’d like.

I recently observed a dance performance, and a highly respected dance teacher was sitting next to me.

The choreographies were good, and the dancers had their moves down right. But something was off.

Instead of having a long, beautiful line, various dancers were pulling in their arms.

The respected dance teacher summed it up in one pithy comment:

Chicken wings.

Chicken wings are not just a matter of poor posture, poor training, or inattention to detail.

What is really going on is that the dancer is constricted in her energy field. She’s afraid to open up and really claim her space.

But that’s not what we want, is it?

When we dance, we’re not just doing entertainment.

When we dance, we are a priestess, taking our people into a transcendent space.

We can’t do that if we’re fearful and constricted.


Tight Shoulders – The Other Extreme

Belly dance with tight shoulders is not attractive, either.
Belly dance with tight shoulders is not attractive, either.

Sometimes, we express our tension differently – we get our shoulders up to our ears.

This isn’t pretty or graceful either. (Nor is it inspiring or transcendent.)

These are two sides of the same coin.

In both cases, it’s like having a kink in our energy hose. Our energy isn’t flowing freely, and so of course we don’t look as good as we might.



Reaching Through Our Energy Field – Inspiring, Enthralling, and Transcendent

Belly dance arms - excellent line - transcendent moment.
Belly dance arms – excellent line – transcendent moment. Photo by Stanislav Honzik.

When we’re not afraid to extend our reach, we create transcendent moments – in dance, in life.

Recently, I talked with my dear friend Patty Haley – a beautiful dancer (and who has also served as an officer in the U.S.M.C.). Patty teaches women to take up more space when they dance. (See a great video clip of Patty explaining her Peaceful Warrior Girl approach.)

But sometimes, we need to make this change from the inside out.






When We Claim Our Space, We Claim Our Lives

<a href=
Julie Marie Rahm, the Resultant. width=”147″ height=”220″ class=”size-full wp-image-1953″ /> Julie Marie Rahm, aka the Resultant.

Earlier this week, I asked my friend Julie Marie Rahm, the Resultant, to help me with a challenge.

I’ve done a lot of healing lately, and a lot of integration – but I still had some big areas of “stuckness.”

Recently, I’d felt very unsupported during a challenge that affected my entire Household. It’s not so important what the details were; it’s that I had some old tape playing in my mind.

Because the outer always reflects the inner, I created outcomes that had me feeling unsupported. These outcomes reflected a belief that I had – actually an energy pattern that I’d created.

This energy pattern impacted everything. Finances. Relationships. Stability of business ventures; whether on my own or with partners. Ability to get support and implementation of my creative areas.

More and more, I was seeing this as a pattern – not as a series of isolated events.

And more than anything, I wanted a deep pattern shift.

Julie worked with me for about 25 minutes, using YUEN Mastery, the New Science of Achieving Immediate Results. She did this at a distance; we were on the phone with each other, but once she knew what the problem was, she didn’t even need to have me on the line with her.

She advised me, when we were done, to take it easy for the rest of the day.

She was right – I felt just fine during the session itself, but later in the day, was a bit loopy and spacey – definitely not a day for operating power tools or making corporate budget decisions.

Felt fabulous the next day, and wrote my planned blogpost introducing Julie and the Yuen Method; see Has Your High Priestess Been Shortchanged This Year (How to Fix).

The day after that (yesterday), I really needed to take some time off for pure integration – lots of stuff going on both physically and emotionally.

Today is the fourth day since my Yuen session with Julie.

In next week’s blog, I’ll report how this method seems to be impacting my life overall.

I could feel the shift, as we worked. But it will take time for the real pattern-shifts to manifest on the physical plane.

One thing I can tell you, right now. Some of the blurts that I’d been wrestling with – for the past several years – have eased up substantially. (See Using Belly Dance to Heal Deepest Emotional Wounds, from February 2, 2013. And if you had joined me on the Twelve Lessons of Solstice (which will re-open again at Winter Solstice of this next year), you heard a lot about blurts, and how they reflect our core wounds and impact our lives.)


Can the YUEN Method Resolve Issues with Our Core Power Archetypes?

Chinese Emperor Kangxi was known as wise and benevolent.
Chinese Emperor Kangxi was known as wise and benevolent.

I’m looking for shifts in all areas of my life – personal, professional, and dance.

In dance, I’d like more strength, structure, firmness of expression. These are Emperor characteristics.

We may also want our Emperor to show up in our lives by having better boundaries in our relations with others (as well as keeping more of our vital energy for ourselves), having clearer communications with others (as well as greater internal connection), and increased financial well-being (along with personal energy).

Our Emperor achetype works to our advantage, both in creating a positive experience in the external world, and in shaping our internal energy selves. These really become the same.

Our Emperor is one of our core power archetypes. Our Emperor serves to define and protect our boundaries, increase communications and energy flow throughout our whole being, and bring in good energy and resources. In short, his job is to protect and provide.

Sometimes, we have some damage in our Emperor connection. Then, our Emperor has a hard time expressing in a useful and sustained way.

As I wrote recently in The Unveiling Journey (the blog series associated with Unveiling: The Inner Journey), our Emperor is on our side. Check out Healing Our Inner Emperor – What a Breakthrough Feels Like.

If you’ve experienced the Yuen Method, please share your experiences in the comments section.

If this is new to you, check back next week, when I report in. Also, look into Julie’s webpage, Problems-Resolved. Read some of her blogs to get a sense of how this method works in practice.

I’m working on healing (or as Julie would say, resolving) issues with my Emperor. You may want to focus on a different archetype or life-area. Either way, I’m interested in your results.

Please share. I’ll read and respond to your comments, and ask Julie to chime in also.

And oh yes. Let me know if strengthening your inner Emperor – or any other resolving done with the Yuen method – helps you claim more space. Personally, professionally, or in dance. Or in all areas at once.

Very best wishes as you use Oriental dance (belly dance) for personal growth and healing!

Yours in dance –

Alay'nya - author of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"
Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

Founder and Artistic Director, The Alay’nya Studio
Bellydance a courtesan would envy!

Check out Alay’nya’s YouTube Channel
Connect with Alay’nya on Facebook
Follow Unveiling: The Inner Journey on Facebook


Oriental Dancer Ronnette Ramirez on Unveiling: The Inner Journey

What does Oriental dancer Ronnette Ramirez have to say about Unveiling: The Inner Journey?

Alay’nya’s Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Ronnette Ramirez, dancer and Edtior, Bellydancing Site at BellaOnline: The Voice of Women.
Ronnette Ramirez, dancer and Edtior, Bellydancing Site at BellaOnline: The Voice of Women.

This is a must read for all women. Most of what is written, relates to oriental dance and the lives of dancers, instructors, and those who dream of becoming a dancer. A woman’s journey is of importance and Unveiling: The Inner Journey, is a terrific guide.

Alay’nya has a HERstory that is familiar to us. However, what she created is a wonderful text of rich knowledge and research for women to use in their pathway. In Unveiling, Alay’nya takes you on a journey to discover what is a woman’s pathway.

… On a personal note, there is a section in the book called “Receiving”. This is my challenge, for I do feel less in control if I receive from others. I will go back to that section and work this issue. Alay’nya’s words hit close to home.

Read Ronnette’s whole review here at Ronnette Ramirez on Unveiling in the Belly Dance Editorial at BellaOnline.

Check Out Ronnette Ramirez’s Belly Dance Editorials at BellaOnline

BellaOnline - a website for women, with a good belly dance site edited by Ronnette Ramirez.
BellaOnline – a website for women, with a good belly dance site edited by Ronnette Ramirez.

BellaOnline is a website for women, covering many areas of women’s lives.

BellaOnline includes a Bellydancing Site, edited by dancer Ronnette Ramirez.

Recent posts by Ronnette include:

And just as a side note – Ronnette is fascinated by the character Scheherezade (such drama! such psychological richness! such courage!), and has several posts on her – interesting coincidence that I write about Scheherezade also in Unveiling‘s Chapter 8: The Essence of Stillness.


Alay’nya, Unveiling: The Inner Journey




Copyright (c) 2014, Alay’nya. All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Emotional Release for Beautiful Arm Movements

Belly Dance Was Born in the Water!

Belly Dancing in Water – Creating More Natural, Graceful, and Sensual Snake Arms

Alay'nya helps women learn belly dance "snake arms" technique by practicing in water.
Alay’nya helps women learn belly dance “snake arms” technique by practicing in water. This approach also releases neck, spine, and wrist tension, and gives a more natural and graceful expressiveness to dance!

Do you feel that your belly dance snake arms, your undulations, and your pelvic techniques are as supple, fluid, and graceful as you want them to be?

Do you want to finally master good snake arm techniques?

Your “secret weapon” to gaining fluidity and expressiveness is to play with your belly dance movements in water!

Study with Alay’nya in this YouTube clip to get ideas and inspiration:
Belly dance snake arms – practice in the water!

Filmed live at the first private book signing for Unveiling: The Inner Journey, hosted by Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., Founder of Vision Quest Retreats.

Belly Dancing in Water

When you try your belly dance moves in the water, the natural buoyancy helps you release tight spots and mobilize your neck, spine, and pelvis. Try it! You’ll find that not only your “snake arms,” but your undulations and pelvic rotations/Figure 8’s all become much more soft, natural, and expressive.

It’s great to find out how well your classic belly dance moves work when you are not feeling the effects of gravity so much. A new body awareness can come through this practice, and you can take this into your regular dance.

Alay'nya - author of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"
Alay’nya – author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Very best wishes as you make your dances more fluid and expressive by adding “water play” to your practice!

Yours in dance –

Author of Unveiling: The Inner Journey
You are the Jewel in the Heart of the Lotus. Become the Jewel!

Founder and Artistic Director, The Alay’nya Studio
Bellydance a courtesan would envy!

Check out Alay’nya’s YouTube Channel
Connect with Alay’nya on Facebook
Follow Unveiling: The Inner Journey on Facebook

From Dr. Nicole Cutts’ Amazon review of “Unveiling: The Inner Journey”: “I love, love, love this book! It is like the g*ddess mother, mentor I never had and always needed. Finally a book that just tells it like it is for women. It is well written, intelligent and enlightening. For any woman who wants to live a life of adventure,joy and love. It is rich with so much wisdom and grounded in thorough research, which I love! I can’t say enough about it. All I can say is read it if you are looking for something new to take you to the next level of womanhood.”





Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., with Alay'nya, at the first private signing of "Unveiling: The Inner Journey"
Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., with Alay’nya, at the first private signing of “Unveiling: The Inner Journey”

P.S. – Are you seeking to revamp and rev up your life? Do you have goals, desires, dreams that seem almost within your reach?

Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., Success Coach and Founder of Vision Quest Retreats, can help you map the strategic plan to achieve your dreams.

Copyright (c) 2013, Alay’nya. All rights reserved.

Related Posts: Water Dancing and Emotional Release Through Belly Dance

Filling Our "Energy Well" Using Oriental Dance

Filling Our “Energy Well” Using Circular, Rolling, and Snake Movements with the Chifti Telli Rhythm in Esoteric Belly Dance

Julia Cameron, in her book The Vein of Gold, talks about “filling the well.” She writes, “As artists, we must learn to be self-nourishing.” (p. 21)

Vein of Gold

Walking in the World

Water: The Energy of the Season of Cups

As we move into Autumn, the Season of Cups, we shift both our dance and our life-focus. Summer was the Season of Rods, and dealt with fire energy. If we had progressed in our energy cultivation path well over the previous year, we had plenty of “energy to burn” by summer time – and that’s exactly what we did!

Now, though, with the heat of the summer waning, we are ready for something different. Our bodies – and our psyches – seek replenishment.

Energetic Anatomy

Because we are doing esoteric belly dance, or Oriental dance (belly dance) with an energy component, the idea of replenishment has very specific and practical meaning for us. We focus on drawing energy into our “energy reserve centers,” and to building and strengthening this energy.

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As a first step, we look at one aspect of our energy anatomy – the various energy channels that come up our spine.

In many of our energy exercises, we draw energy up our spine. Very often, we bring energy straight up our spinal column.

However, in this lesson, we pay attention to the fact that the energy currents up our spine are more complex.

Energy channels going up tNada, ida, pingala, & sushmna energy channels
Energy channels going up the spine: nada, ida, pingala, & sushmna

There are really three channels, or nadis (a Sanskrit term), as recognized in the yogic tradition. These are:

  • Pingala: The nadi carrying the “active” aspect or prana (this is our vital life-force, or ch’i)
  • Ida: The nadi carrying the “passive” aspect or apana
  • Sushumna: The nadi carrying the Kundalini energy

These energy channels have been recognized in our own Western medical tradition – in a very subliminal manner – for thousands of years. Specifically, the cadeceus – our emblem for the healing arts – is a stylized depiction of these energy channels.

The tantric tradition of kundalini yoga has been to awaken the energy flow through these nadis, culminating in a fully awakened and energy-vitalized state.

Relating Energetic Anatomy to Western Esoteric Tradition

In our studies, we use this time of year to “fill our well” energetically. In fact, we opened this quarter by giving attention to energy dancing with a water feeling.

Now that we’ve introduced our theme, we move from the overall feeling of water energy (the Ace of Cups) to the lesson in the Two of Cups. Margaret Wells, who has developed interpretations for the various Tarot cards, describes the Two of Cups as bringing forth “a moment of shared feeling.”

"Two of Cups," by Melvis
“Two of Cups,” by Melvis

Look closely at the imagery in this card, designed especially by Melvis, in a project organized by Margaret. See how the two cups are blending together? And they’re both receiving droplets of water.

This is what we’re doing. We’re bringing “droplets of energy” to both our prana (Pingala) and apana (Ida) origination and storage points at the base of our spine. This is the starting point for our exercise.

Practicum: Second Week of Autumn

Pingala/Ida Nadi Tracing

We will return in this week’s class to the Cabbalistic Cross exercise that we began last week, using the music Anahat (by Kairo by Night, on the Zaman CD).

We are going to use the opening phrases of this music (about a minute or so, before the “melodic line” kicks in) to trace the Pingala and Ida circulation lines up our spines. This acts as a reminder to ourselves that these two nadis play a role. Even though many of our other energy exercises will bring the energy straight up our spines, we acknowledge the different “currents” or nadis as we begin our practice.

Please note: The Cabbalistic Cross is not an “energy-building” or “energy circulation” exercise. Rather, it is the first step in aligning ourselves with certain “realms of consciousness” (Sephiroth in the Kabbalistic tradition), and is a preliminary to an “energy boundary” exercise, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. We are inserting the Pingala/Ida here – because it works – and we’ll insert it into other exercises/etudes as well. Keep in mind the distinction; energy-building or cultivation vs. energy circulation vs. protection/boundary-creation.

Other exercises for the Second Week of Autumn

  • Diaphragm stretches: We’ll begin paying more attention to each of our three diaphragms, allowing them to release, so we can bring in more air. This is an important precursor to learning undulations, both upper and lower body.
  • Circular Movements: Hip circles and rib cage circles help us to “feel out” the fullness of the energy basin that rests in our pelvic girdle.
  • Snake Arms: We’ll introduce some exercises that will help you move your arms and hands gracefully. These are necessary precursors to candle dancing, which is an optional study for Winter Solstice.

As always, we’ll do veil work – both in place, and moving across the floor.


We will listen to and move with various chifti telli pieces, which are the focal rhythms for this quarter.


  • Lotus Flower: This is a Static Principle, and is the second one that we learn in our sequence. It is the natural corollary to the Anchoring Principle that we studied last week.
  • Expansion/Contraction: This is a Dynamic Principle that we’ll study in greater depth over time. We use the Expansion/Contraction method, combined with breathing (even a little pranayama) to fill our energy cauldron (the “basin” in our hip girdle, where we build and store intrinsic energy, or ch’i). This is a natural accompaniment to – and adds to the energetic value of – movements such as hip circles.

Using Unveiling: The Inner Journey as a Study Guide for Autumn Dance Classes

Textbook References

The following chapters in Unveiling are relevant to this week’s study:

  • Chapter 25, “Sex Secrets of Belly Dancers”: All you need to know (and more) about our various diaphragms. Also a write-up on why we do those horrible abdominal exercises during our warm-ups. (Strengthens our internal and external obliques.)
  • Chapter 22, “Looking Like a Dancer (Even If You’re Not)”: Includes a very brief description of the Anchoring Principle, which I learned from martial arts master Peter Ralston, along with a brief mention of the Lotus Flower Principle (which I simply call “reaching up” in the text).

Related Personal Pathworking Steps:

At the beginning of this post, I referenced author Julia Cameron, who talks about using images to feed our artistic souls. I build on her ideas in my recent book, Unveiling: The Inner Journey. (Look at the Personal Pathworking at the end of Chapter 3, “Bedtime Stories for Grown-Up Girls.”)



Studying with Alay’nya

It is still possible to join us in the Alay’nya Studio in McLean, VA. Beginners meet on Sundays from 11:30 to 1PM. Learn about the Beginner’s Dance Package, and email me for an invitation to join us for a complimentary introductory class: alaynya (at) alaynya (dot) com.

Related Posts for Using Water Energy in Dance