Somewhere In Time

Somewhere In Time - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog Somewhere in time I felt and experienced life and my soul remembered.
Seeing what the soul remembers can change everything in ones life.
It all has to do with trusting the memory and knowing the path ahead is the right one.
Sometimes we see what doesn’t make sense but to the soul, it makes perfect sense.
How does the soul explain to the heart that what lies ahead is the right path?
How does the heart than explain to the mind that walking the path is safe?
How does the mind than converse with the emotions that are uneasy with the path?

My soul always seems to know when I don’t know.
She takes me by the hand and guides me through life so that I can remember. Read more

The Vision Quest

The Vision Quest - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogOne day years ago my soul spoke to me……….she was hungry. It was not a hunger that anything from this world could satisfy, it was a hunger that filled me and made me empty inside. When your soul speaks to you, she whispers in your ear constantly until you feed her. As the days passed I couldn’t rest and my nights were sleepless. I would wake up and look at the stars and moon wondering what was wrong with me.

I was told that I was shedding the old me like a snake sheds its skin and preparing for the new me. For my completion into the new me, I was told I would need to do a vision quest. It was believed Spirit wanted to talk to me and I needed to present myself to the Grandfathers.  This is not an easy task as I found out. I made Spirit pouches and each one had a prayer in it. The Spirit pouches were filled with tobacco and there were over 200 tied together to create a continual prayer and circle. I than had to go into the mountains and find my sacred space where I would present myself to Spirit.

To prepare for the presentation you fast and meditate, thinking of questions. My soul was so hungry that I had hundreds and hundreds of questions. I thought how could Spirit (God) answer all my questions?

The morning came when I was led to my sacred space following a Medicine man who was to watch over me through out my vision quest.I watched the Medicine man walk away and I looked around seeing only trees, hearing birds in the distance feeling naked and alone. Read more

Climbing the Queens Pyramid and Missing Time

Climbing the Queens Pyramid - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

When I traveled to Egypt in 1991 it was definitely a calling from the Heavens. It never occurred to me that I was really going for dance; I was going because the temples, alters, and sacred burial grounds were my calling. My first walk off the plane and down multiple steps was not exactly my finest moment. The obvious dancer in me missed the first step and I went tumbling down a flight of stairs and landed on my suitcases. A dance friend that went with me started to yell my name and burst out laughing. Out of nowhere a myriad of people appeared to help me untangle my arms from my legs. I made an entrance I never planned on making and from that moment on the excitement and unexpected twists and turns never stopped.

I’ll tell you all a little secret that I have kept for a long time…..maybe I’m doing this out of guilt but I figure at this point I might as well let the cat out of the bag. I met wonderful people in Cairo and one friend in particular was a very adventurous fellow. We all called him Jimbo and true to form he was a great traveling companion. One night we were at a pub called Pub 13 in Maadi, a suburb on the outskirts of Cairo when he got this bright idea for us to go and climb one of the Queens pyramids. It was around 2:00am in the morning and by this point we had drunk quite a few beers, a brand called Stella. In my right state of mind I would have said no, but I was in a happy go lucky mood and just about every suggestion sounded good to me at that point. So with an Indiana Jones state of mind we took off in a cab with the full moon as our guide. Read more

The Eternal Circle of Life

belly dancer leyla najma keeping your self identity in belly dance

I remember when I was learning about living in a teepee that there was an etiquette to sitting in the circle. I had to know my place within the circle which meant understanding the many stages of life. Coming into the teepee is comparative to being in the womb of life so as families entered through the oval door they gathered according to age, place of status and position. It’s something so simple and yet so meaningful because every night when the family and friends gather together they remind each other of how life evolves. The youngest are seated by the opening that is to the left of the circle and as the circle continues around the head of the family sits in the middle. As the circle continues around to the right the elderly according to their age complete the circle sitting towards the entrance because they are in the last stages of living life. Thus the eternal circle starts all over again from birth to death and death to birth. There is nothing sad about any of the positions within the circle, only an understanding of life and the acceptance of life’s ebb and flow. Read more

Practice Tip 1. For the Serious Student

Bely Dance Practice Tip #1 -  Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogRecently Daniel came to me and asked me if there were any tips I could share with dancers not only for their dancing but also for their practicing and drilling. So I thought about it and decided I would give tips that will help make a difference in the training aspect of dancing. It’s really in our preparation of dance that we start to understand ourselves so we can then go out and dance for the masses with confidence.

The tip that I am going to share with you is broad but it came to me because it is a common problem that we all have when we first start out dancing.  How we focus and work within our body starts out the habitual way we train. Most of my students won’t look at the whole enchilada (body) only a specific part of the body depending on what I am showing them. After you get the move down into your body then look at your image in the mirror and see how the rest of your body looks while you are working the combination or movement. When my students can’t see the whole body they have what I call “blinder” focus. It’s almost as if they are afraid to see how it looks in the totality of the body. Read more