Got boobs?  Examine them!!

October is national breast cancer awareness month

Support a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime. Get a clinical breast exam every year. Examine your breasts every month. Get a mammogram as directed by your physician. Donate generously.

Support retailers who donate to breast cancer research. Got boobs? Examine them! The best protection is early detection Breast Self Exam (bse).

Your breasts normally look and feel so any changes can be detected and reported early.

Women should begin practicing bse by the age of 20 and continue the practice throughout their lives- even during pregnancy and after menopause. bse should be performed every month.  If you menstruate, the best time to do bse is about one week after your period ends. These are the days your breasts are least likely to be sore.  If you no longer menstruate, pick a certain day,like the first day of the month, to remind yourself to do bse.

How to do bse: In the mirror check each breast, nipple and surrounding areas for changes in the shape, contour, size, or skin changes (dimpling, swelling, puckering, rash, redness or swelling.) Squeeze each nipple to check for discharge. Now clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. Next, press your hands firmly on your hips, bend slightly at the hips toward the mirror as you bring your shoulders and elbows forward; all the while looking closely for any changes.

Laying down (laying on your back is the most effective way to feel your breast tissue, this position flattens the breast and makes it easier to check) to examine the right breast put a pillow under your right shoulder, with your right arm behind your head.  Use the finger pads (not fingertips) of the middle fingers of your left hand to press firmly on your right breast. Examine your breasts in the same manner each time, in either a circle, up and down or a wedge pattern. Examine the entire breast area including the armpit area. Check the area above the breast, up to the collarbone and all the way over to the shoulder.

In the shower some women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is in the shower when their skin is wet and slippery. Use the same hand movements covering the entire breast. Lines start in the underarm area and move your fingers downward little by little until they are below the breast. Then move your fingers slightly toward the middle and slowly move back up. Go up and down until you cover the whole area.

Circles beginning at the outer edge of your breast move your fingers slowly around the whole breast in a circle. Move around the breast in smaller and smaller circles, gradually working toward the nipple.

Wedges starting at the outer edge of the breast move your fingers toward the nipple and back to the edge.  Check your whole breast, covering one small wedge shaped section at a time.

There is research that now supports the line or vertical strip method significantly increases the chances of finding any breast masses.

Report any changes or irregularities to your health care professional immediately!

Mayo Clinic : Breast Self Exams

National Cancer Institute


FEBRUARY IS WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH MONTH, HEART Disease is the leading cause of death for American factors, such as family history and age can’t be changed. But there are many lifestyle modifications that can minimize your risks and protect your heart from heart disease and stroke.

  • Have a cardiac risk assessment. Consult you doctor about your personal risks. Follow their advice about tests, lifestyle changes and therapies, which might include medications.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking more than doubles your risk for heart disease. Plus it increases your chances of contracting lung cancer. Lung cancer kills more women today than any other cancer.
  • Control your Blood pressure. Help control blood pressure by exercising regularly and eating right and limiting your sodium. Have your blood pressure checked and be sure to take medications if needed. Remember this is called the “silent killer” there are often no symptoms of hypertension. An optimal reading is less than 120/80…a high reading is 140/90. Alert your doctor if your readings are consistently over 140/90.
  • Control cholesterol. Limit foods high in fat. Saturated fats and trans fat in your diet can raise your cholesterol. Eat healthy foods and try to get no more than 30% of your daily calories from fat. Aim for a total cholesterol of less than 200. Aim for a LDL (bad cholesterol) below 100 (some docs say under 70). Aim for a HDL (good cholesterol) above 60. Have your cholesterol checked and take medications if needed.
  • Get Active. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens your heart. Moderate activity…household chores, dancing and walking are also beneficial. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity most (preferably all) days of the week. An easy way to determine your “target heart rate” is to subtract your age from 220 and work at 70-75% of that number. (For the majority of us) Example if you are 40 years old…. 220-40=180x.70=126 beats per minute. You can check your pulse at your wrist on the thumb side. You may count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6….
  • Manage Stress. Stress increases your blood pressure and rate. Take time to relax. Exercise helps reduce stress, too.
  • Avoid being overweight.If you are overweight, make the effort to lose those extra pounds.Obesity contributes to heart disease and stroke.
  • Recognize the signs of heart disease and stroke.
    • Chest discomfort, it can feel like pain, pressure, squeezing or fullness.
    • Discomfort or pain on other parts of your upper body including one or both arms, the back, neck jaw or stomach.
    • Nausea, hotheadedness or indigestion type symptoms.
    • Breaking out in a cold sweat.
    • Shortness of breath. This feeling can accompany chest pain but can occur before the discomfort.

Learn CPR for yourself and your loved ones. Log on to these sites to learn more.

American Heart.Org
Extreme Body WorkOut


Frequently Asked Questions FAQ


What should I to wear?  Anything you feel comfortable in! Most dancers use a jazz or yoga pant with a sports bra or yoga top.  Others like to dress up.

What level class should I sign up for? If you have never danced at all, come to the beginners class.  If you have belly danced before or are a returning student come to the intermediate class. If you have been attending Tuesday classes for several years, drop in on a Saturday class.

Do I have to bare my belly or be a certain size? No and NO! Some dancers never bare their belly, and I do a lot just so you can see me better. Almost everyone likes to tie something on there hips to seethe movement better.

Do I have to perform? No, not at all. But if you ever want to let me know and there are opportunities for that.

Can I prepay, or is there a class card?  Yes, of course you can prepay, with PayPal or a check for a block of classes in person.

Do you have any online classes or Skype lessons? Yes, there are Skype lessons and soon to be online classes!

Taking Care Of Ourselves

Remember to stay hydrated, our body is made up of over 70% water. It is essential to all body functions. If your lips are dry, you’re dehydrated.

Stretch frequently, if you sit or stand for long periods of time during the day it is a great stress reliever.

Do strengthening and cardiovascular exercises. While regular dances classes are great at some point in your life it will not be enough to maintain the same level of fitness or endurance (or weight!) You’re used to it ! Good case in point: even with ten shows a week I was ten pounds heavier!!!!

Eat well and wisely, take essential nutrients and vitamins.

Remember get regular health check ups: Mammograms, sonograms, thermographs. EKGS, blood tests, pap smears etc.   Crystal balls don’t detect cancer these tests do!!

Remember to honor and respect yourself and those around you.

Remember to feel you beauty.

Remember to feel your strength.

Kegel Exercises

Some say that the cradle of all civilization is somewhere in Iraq. I think as women we know right where it is!!!

The pelvic floor is made up of the band of muscles and connective tissue around the vagina and anus.

The pelvic floor controls both the anal and urethral sphincter- the latter being the muscle that controls the flow of urine and contracts during orgasm.

The pelvic floor is the supporting structure for all the organs between the pubic bone and tail bone.

Tighten your sphincter muscles, which surround the urethra, vagina and rectum. Do not tighten your but or abdominal wall. Hold for 6 seconds and release slowly. Repeat 6-10 times. You can use the visualization of a flower opening and closing to assist in this movement.

Tighten your sphincter muscles and then lift up between the vagina and rectum. Lift as far as you can, hold for 3 seconds and then gradually release one level at a time. You can use a visualization of an elevator going up one floor at a time and on release the elevator going down.

This is a gentle reminder for us ladies. We can easily incorporate these internal moves in many of our strengthening movements. Also learning to isolate the abdominal wall from the pelvic floor is helpful in learning to do some of the staccato belly release moves.

Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence, painful sex, and unsatisfying sex. the list goes on.

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