Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.
It's the most wonderful time of the year could easily be sung as it's the most stressful time of the year. Much emphasis is placed on feeling joyful and happy around the holiday season, but in reality many people struggle this time of year for a variety of reasons.
My favorite way of combating stress is through fitness. There's nothing better than channeling stress energy into a physical workout. Not only does it help the body, but it also has a tremendous effect on the mind.
To me, there's nothing quite like dancing. Getting lost in the rhythm and letting the music take over, dance allows you to let go and feel free in your body. I've always gravitated toward dance-inspired workouts. I took dance lessons when I was a girl and when I wasn't reading, I would be in my room or in the backyard either practicing choreography or coming up with my own movement. I used to put on little shows in my grandparents' living room, and my grandmother would patiently watch me dance around and attempt to sing. I was the star and she was my biggest fan.
Of all the dance genres I've tried, nothing has spoke to me like belly dancing. I got my first taste from a fitness DVD, Suhaila Salimpour Fitness Fusion Jazz. I fell completely in love! Over the years, I've incorporated dance into my workouts and I always find myself coming back to belly dancing.
At the time of writing this, we're in the thick of the holiday season. The aforementioned stress combined with tasty treats and savory dishes can wreak havoc on our bodies and our minds. It's not uncommon to gain a little extra weight this time of year, and I myself have put on a couple pounds. I've given myself grace, realizing that all things considered, it's better to enjoy the moment and create memories than stress about my weight.
That perspective doesn't mean that I've thrown my goals out of the window. I'm simply choosing to spend my time enjoying life rather than beating myself up. It's taken me a long time to come to this realization and finding ways to continue moving my body has helped immensely.
This is where belly dance comes in to play. We're all so busy this time of year, but continuing to take the time for yourself, to move your body in ways that feel good, helps combat the stress so many of us feel this time of year.
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Not only is belly dancing a great way to workout, but it helps build confidence, offers a way to connect with your body, and helps you embrace your femininity. It doesn't matter what you look like and you don't have to be a dancer to give belly dance a try. Below I've outlined my three favorite YouTube channels for belly dancing. These are great for all levels and a wonderful way to keep moving this holiday season.
1. Leilah Isaac
I've been dancing with Leilah for many years. Her channel was the first one I came across for belly dancing. I love all her videos! She brings a youthful exuberance and has a contagious smile. She has a variety of content, from breaking down specific moves to actual workouts, perfect for any level. No matter the video, Leilah breaks down each move, creates a little choreography, and makes everything easy to understand. I always feel happy and refreshed after dancing with her!
Slow & Gentle Workout | Beginners Belly Dance | Low-impact | Leilah
2. Belly Dancer Diaries
I started dancing with Elisa this past summer. I came across her 100 Days of Belly Dance series and jumped right in! Each video was short and focused on a specific belly dance move. It was educational, helped me with my technique, and was a blast. In addition to that playlist, Elisa has a variety of content for everyone. If you're a beginner or just want to move, she has plenty of dance workout videos. If you are a dancer and want to learn, she has a bunch breaking down popular and traditional moves. Elisa is an absolute joy to dance with and I think everyone will love her videos!
HAGGALA DANCE WORKOUT
I'm a new subscriber to this channel, but after one workout with Joany, I was completely hooked! Joany is strikingly gorgeous and her energy is contagious. Her channel seems to be geared more toward women in their 50's and older, but I think her videos are perfect for any age. Like the other ladies, she has a variety of content and breaks down each move, making the dances beginner-friendly. Right now, I'm focusing on her 111 Shimmy series, where she focuses on a different move each day. I always add in another of her videos to my routine, though. I love how confident and happy I feel after dancing with her!
Core Belly Dance Workout - Tone Your Belly with Joany.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.