Belly dancing in Destin


I have a beautiful and amazingly talented friend, Claire who is a belly dancer. She teaches, attends workshops and even planned part of her wedding around belly dancing. (Best wedding ever!) She is affiliated with Fat Chance Belly Dance which has studios all over the world. This is her in the middle of a dance:

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Considering the grace with which Claire dances, it can be a little intimidating to want to try belly dancing. However, when TheXperience posted that they were hosting a belly dancing class on the first Fridays of each month, I had to give it a try. I’ve already conquered the fear of working out, so why not this?

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I showed up in just yoga pants and a workout top. The studio let us borrow the jingly scarf to properly learn the moves. I totally bought my scarf to bring home and practice. Some moves needed additional work when I wasn’t ready to fall over.

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(My partner in belly dance, Susanna showing off her scarf.)

I had worked out with Karna that morning (hello 5am!), so I was a bit sore going in. I thought the class would be easy-peasy. Silly me! It was as much of a workout as my morning class, so my already sore oblique muscles were screaming. An hour long class and by the end, I had worked up a good sweat and a healthy respect for my hip swinging friend in Texas.
There were approximately 9 ladies there, including Michelle who you might remember from the kids yoga class. I expect there will be even more ladies in attendance at the next class. Hopefully with time, I can work up to Claire’s level of expertise.

Checking out TheXperience’s schedule, I am trying to figure out what I should try next. Any suggestions?

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this blog post and all opinions are my own.

Yoga for Kids


20130823-204728.jpgRiley practiced his relaxation pose.

Recently I won a giveaway on Okaloosa-Walton Macaroni Kid for a kids yoga class at Studio E in Destin. I love yoga and have been looking for ways to incorporate it into my routine and expose my boys to it. I was thrilled to bring them to a class.

Prior to attending the class, I messaged Studio E on Facebook to make sure that I could bring both kids and what items I needed to bring. They assured me that I could bring the kids and that we didn’t need to bring anything. Mats were provided and there was a water cooler in the studio.

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We got to the studio a little early and the boys were excited to check it out. I met Michelle and her son Cade. Riley was pleased to see someone his age. Michelle was very welcoming & friendly. She assured me at the beginning of the class that it was a kids class. As such, if the younger kids were more interested in exploring than in participating, it was ok. That really did set my mind at ease as I was sure Gavin was only good for maybe 5-10 minutes of yoga.

Michelle started the class off with breathing exercises including morning sun salutations. We transitioned to energetic breathing and learned the difference between the two. Then we tried out several poses that were new to me. One was similar to a warrior pose. We also did a few partner moves, which were awesome. I partnered up with Riley and Michelle partnered with her son Cade. By this time, Gavin was exploring and off in his own world.

Riley liked doing the moves together and one of his favorites was Lizard on a Rock.

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Many of the moves in class had animal names. We also did Rabbit and Turtle poses. After going through the series, Michelle read the story of the Tortoise & the Hare to the kids. When we reached a point in the story where one of our moves was mentioned, we paused the story to do the move.

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After reading the story, we laid back on our mats for Savasana. Michelle led a great guided relaxation that even chilled Gavin out. (I think he was afraid of falling asleep though since he skipped his nap today.) Afterwards, Riley didn’t want to get back up, he was so calm.

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After class, Gavin tried out the Surfset boards. If they had a class for kids on those, I bet he would be first in line!

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Would I go back? Absolutely. I may leave Gavin home for a bit until he is older and more interested in yoga. It was a great bonding experience with Riley and something I can see doing again.

Studio E offers more than just yoga classes for kids. They also offer Surfset, Pilates, Aerial fitness, SUP Pilates, belly dancing, and more. The fall schedule is going online soon, so check them out! You may even find me trying out a class or two!