Tag Archives: belly dance as exercise

And It's September – time to get dancing again!

Yes, thanks, I have a wonderful holiday!  And now it’s time tog et back to work with both my sewing and dancing!
Have you signed up yet for your class of choice?  If not, please head over to my Schedule page and find one that works for you! I’m mainly offering belly dance through the City of Ottawa and Bellywood is being offered privately through me!
And register – details are with each class!!
Pushy, eh?
Well, I know I want to get creating some new fun stuff and I need lovely dancers to play with, so I hope to see you in a couple of weeks!

Some of my recent students in action!
Some of my recent students in action!


Back to work – well for some of us!

I completely envy the folks who chose this week to head off to warmer climates for a sojourn. Good call.
– 15C <Canadian> with a windchill of -24C means the snow pants and extra inner layers come out for any walkabout I do today.
But January in Ottawa, what do I expect?Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 6.46.48 AM
And now it’s also time to look ahead to both my week < tis Monday morning pre-7 a.m. after all> plus being the first Monday of January 2015, there is a little symbolism there since I pretty much follow the Gregorian calendar. Thus the “new year” begins.
For me, the new year actually starts in the fall, when classes resume and so this feels more like Second BreakfastSecond breakfast.
But French toast with jelly made from Campbell’s Bay wild plums < thanks Laura and Todd> will make second breakfast do just fine…
( In case you were wondering, Elevensies comes around April)
Annnd…back to work, oh yes.
So classes start in a couple of weeks – depending on enrolment, so of course here is where I poke you to be sure to sign up – take someone’s classes – get dancing!
Or sewing, as yes, I also have sewing classes on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings …
Print Me-SewingClubPromo2015
And I’m already booking custom sewing appointments this week so I hope you will keep me in mind if you have any design needs this coming year – weddings, costumes, anything pretty and fun will always catch my interest!
Happy first week back to work – or first week on holidays depending on your situation!
See you soon!

Wow- I’m so uncoordinated…I could never do that.


When I tell people I belly dance, that’s one of the “admiring” statements I hear.

And my brain says, “WHAAT?”

and my heart says, “sigh…”

I would love to write an inspiring post that would lift up the self esteem and belief systems of everyone who says that to me, so that they can see how belly dance is SO MUCH MORE than just dancing.

I would love to flick that switch in everyone who says, “I can’t do that”, to ” hmm, I want to  see how I can do that”.

The most I can do is continue to share my love for this dance form, educate those interested in learning more, and flash a small smile to those who might be on the fence and encourage you to give it a try.

It’s okay if belly dance is not your thing.  Maybe you are a runner, maybe yoga touches your heart, maybe walking is your happy place – and to all of this I say “YAY. you go!” And the best way to find “your thing” is to try out all of the potentials – when the right activity comes your way, you’ll feel it!

My approach to this dance form began with the phrase, “Belly Dancing For Fun” and I still use that to describe our performance group of rogue dancers, the nature of my classes and my general philosophy.  If it’s not fun, why bother.

Belly dance can be fun – when one chooses to:

  • accept that it’s a journey
  • smile and laugh with classmates/troupe mates/audiences
  • slow down { journey, remember}
  • no really, slow down
  • take that time to explore what CAN be done
  • revel in those moments of achievement – you are learning!
  • breathe
  • go within and focus on what you are doing, ignoring the grocery list
  • BE THERE –  in class, in the performance, in the moment
  • Slow down.

Belly dance saved me.

It brought me into a group of whacky women with whom I could not have found myself.

It brought me the courage to leave a deadend situation for a much better one { married to the AWeSOME @WTL since 1998!}

It allows me to play! Halyma has fun sparkly  costumes, has fabulous long hair, a sense of feminine empowerment that permeates all of my life!

And while I never considered myself uncoordinated { except for those moments when I am taking a workshop with a master teacher and trying to figure out, What the heck?!? – then I slow down…} I never thought I would be dancing for an audience….

Ad it’s so cool now that I do it for a “job”!


Reconnecting with a healthier me…

Just back from my morning walk, a new habit I am forming, and I composed a fabulous blog post while walking.  It’s just too bad that I cannot dictate it while I am walking, but I’ll try to capture the essence of it to share my journey with you all!

I am one of the oodles of folks who has had issues with weight since I born.  Much of it came from being called fat as a child, and then being bigger/ taller than everyone in my grade all the way through elementary school and even into early high school.  I was never super active, but I was not completely sedentary either, as I walked or biked everywhere as a kid/teen in our small town.  I delivered newspapers as my high school job – was not into babysitting at all – and until my final year when I was allowed to use our moped, I walked the route every day.

So, throughout high school I maintained an average weight of 160 lbs.  Briefly, I went down to 145, but mostly stayed at 160.  I am 5feet 8 inches tall and I apologize to all my metric friends for the imperial measurements – but that’s what I can relate to!

And I believed I was fat. I was cool, I was smart, I had friends, and great hair and funky clothes { it was the 80s}, but in my mind, I was fat. I was not fat – I know this now!

There’s another 20 years ish to cover if I was going to relate my entire weight story, but I’ll skip ahead and gloss over to speed up the process!

My late teens into early 20’s =  in design school and poor, so basically in shape

My 20’s = emotional roller coaster ride, lots of angry but walking helped keep that in check and my weight fairly stable – still in the 160-170 range.

My late 20s, early 30s = Major emotional shift to happiness and the right marriage = UhOh – happy newlywed fat crept in during the first 3-5 years of our marriage.

2003 = Seeing myself in a dance video from a friend’s recital, and watching my “disco ball” baladi dress creep up my thighs, as I was really too big to be wearing this dress…my weight had crept up to 225 lbs. This photo is of me in December 2002, a few months before the disco ball dress incident!

I was teaching 9 belly dance classes per week and still performing when I could, but I was not stopping myself from eating the huge pots of pasta, hot turkey sandwiches and fries and so much more.  I was also not alone on this journey into the world of excess – my hubby was right there by my side!  He was up to 270 lbs when we both made the decision that things had to change.


July 2nd, 2003, we embarked on our own version of the meal replacement/ calorie counting plan – the big one that has bars and shakes – cause they were on sale at our local grocery chainstore, and I still needed to have chocolate in my life!

By late December/ early January, I was back down at 170 and so pleased to finally be able to buy a pair of pants at a regular store again – as opposed to having to go into the large size stores!

This photo is from December 2003 – the layers poured off as we counted calories and reduced our portion sizes – along with using the meal replacement bars to get a good start on the process.

At that time, I decided I could actually feel comfortable enough with myself on video to produce Halyma’s Belly Dance Lesson One: Absolute Basics for Absolute Beginners. I felt great and really had so much fun doing it, that Lesson Two: Basic Moves that Move You was produced the following year! { advertising part over now}

Over the past few years, I have fallen into a new cycle of yoyo-ing with my weight and now want to explore settling into a good place and staying there.

The cycle goes something like this:

Less work = less stress = time to eat healthy, get into shape, take more care of myself…This would be the winter months mainly, with a break in August to try to counter bad habits incurred over the summer. I lose weight and feel pretty good about myself until….

More work = more stress = more take-out, less time to cook, etc.  This takes place from the late spring, through the  summer, and continues into the fall.

The Plan: Continue what I have started since January:

1-Counting calories

2-Doing it together with the hubby makes it so much easier and increases my accountability!

3- Walking more [ I am still teaching 5-6 hours per week, but I want to increase and change up my activity  options and walking I enjoy.]

4-Keep losing the pounds until I hit 160 – I have lost 13 pounds already since January 2nd, and am on track to reach my goal by mid/end of March. So yay me.

5- Stay within a 5 pound yoyo range – well, maybe 10 pounds, if I start to build more muscle – it could happen!

The main tool I am using are Lose it [Ipod Touch/Iphone app] but any tracking system that works would do it!  I have heard of Spark, and I used the MyCalorieCounter.com system for a while too – they all have good ways to encourage you to get healthy!

January 16, 2010

So, here’s where I am today: 174 pounds and walking 1 hour every morning for the past week and a half.

Thanks for reading – I hope this has given you some ideas!



How are you doing on finding the healthier you?

Or have you already done it and have some hints to share to keep on the path?

Feel free to leave some comments, mention any tools you are using, or what has worked for you!