BellyFit® Classes at Bethune Cookman University

September 25th, 2012

When Brionna Benjamin of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority first contacted me in August to bring the TaraFit™ Daytona Beach yoga and belly dance classes to Bethune Cookman University, I was completely thrilled. Brionna wanted to bring something fun and different to the student activities for fitness. She said Zumba in Daytona Beach was very popular but wanted something different. That was my opinion too when local fitness directors encouraged me to get Zumba certified. In April 2012, I decided to follow my heart and mind in a direction closer to my belly dance and yoga roots. I made a trip to Toronto, Canada to get trained to teach BellyFit®.

The training was intensive and empowering! BellyFit® is a Holistic Fitness experience that draws inspiration and guidance from many elements, both ancient and modern. BellyFit® was created by a woman named Alice Bracegirdle who designed the program to create an opportunity for women to celebrate, love, honor, accept and nurture their bodies through movement, breath, awareness, intention, reverence, compassion and self love.

I had 6 months after my Instructor Training to complete 8 community classes in order to obtain my certification. Because of some personal setbacks and not enough self love/ motivation I procrastinated on what I needed to do. Brionna’s request was just what I needed to inspire me to get myself together and do the darn thing already, step up to the plate and finally complete my required service time!

I had almost an entire month after my first conversation with Ms. Benjamin to drill the BellyFit® program I had learned months before. I practiced the BFIT sample video at home, Anytime Fitness, Heavenly Fitness, and at Yoga Circle and Dance every opportunity I could. I wrote out the steps in a notebook, made flashcards to help me remember the sequence and visualized the movements when I listened to the music while I drove around in my car.

There was still an inner voice taunting me with negative self-talk filling up my head. Things that it told me were that I can’t dance, my rhythm was off, the girls were not going to like me and that I was going to fail. Finally the night came to teach the class and my brain blanked on the time I was supposed to be there! Thankfully, I arrived just on time and immediately felt welcome by Brionna’s warm smile. The class did start behind schedule because I needed to go to the bathroom to say a little prayer and give myself a pep-talk. It’s something that I actually have to do often. Breathe is what I told myself.

What a great number of participants turned out. I was nervous the entire time and messed up every section of the program. Talked too much during the meditation, my count was off throughout cardio. I consistently confused the up beat from the down beat. My ques were sporadic. I didn’t give enough time for cardio recovery, improvised the moves for core on the floor and over-compensated with the yoga moves. Fortunately, the young ladies didn’t mind and their beautiful smiling faces helped me make it through.

Despite all the mess ups, the girls did not criticize me harshly. Many of the participants came up to me after class and thanked me for coming out. They even wanted to see some of my belly dance moves and wanted to know where I taught my classes. Could it be that I am my worst critic? I’m looking forward to teaching moar BellyFit® classes in the near future. Check out my schedule page for more details on the when and where! Next class at Bethune-Cookman University is 8:30pm Monday, October 1, 2012 at the Center of Civil Engagement.

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