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In Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA) there is a very lovely bellydance and yoga teacher called Lauryn Peterson. She works at Zanzibar, a great studio that I’ve mentioned before, here here and here.  In fact in the first of those links I mentioned a Yin Yoga and Shimmy workshop which was the very first time I had encountered Yin Yoga.

Tribal Fusion bellydance, via Zanzibar, first got me interested in yoga several years ago and I’ve now tried many styles – Flow, Power, Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Swasthya are the main types that spring to mind.  Yin Yoga holds the poses for longer than the other forms I’ve tried (2-5 minutes is normal in Yin) and works on the connective tissue more so than muscles.  It prefers to work with cool rather than hot muscles.  I really enjoyed it when I tried it last year and was keen to do it again on this trip to the States.

Due to scheduling conflicts I wasn’t able to attend the Yin/Shimmy workshop Lauryn was teaching at Zanzibar so we made arrangements for a private Yin Yoga lesson.  She tailored the session to my specific requests and gently guided me through a practice I feel comfortable taking home and working through by myself.

The necessity or otherwise of yoga with bellydance is something I want to come back to later, but I do believe the body awareness and mindfulness that yoga encourages, in addition to the health benefits, improves my dance practice greatly.  And having now taken a full term of Ashtanga yoga I have found that the body awareness and mindfulness that bellydance can encourage has helped me there too.  The feedback between dance and yoga is interesting to me, and I do have a post more specifically about this currently percolating through my head.

But the bottom line is that I really enjoyed my private lesson and am definitely looking forward to continuing my Yin practice at home.  If you’re interested in this (or bellydancing) and in the Chattanooga area I thoroughly recommend Lauryn for both types of lessons, both public and private.  Her teaching style is respectful, knowledgeable and often fun.

You can get more information both on the Zanzibar and the Asala Center websites (and the other Zanzibar teachers are also wonderful, just so you know).


I had a lot of fun at Lauryn’s Level 2 class at Zanzibar last night!  It is soooo awesome being a student, Lauryn is a lovely teacher and the other students were super friendly.

To start the class we all stood in a circle and introduced ourselves with a little bit of our dancing background – this was novel to me and was a really nice way to begin a session.  Group bonding can be such a huge part of a class – I know I enjoy and have enjoyed classes much more when I feel connected to the other people I’m learning alongside (as well as having a connection with the teacher). Read the rest of this entry »

I had the great pleasure of being a student again at Zanzibar Studio, Chattanooga.  Lacy Dickerson took the Level 3 class which began with a little bit of pilates and some yoga mainly focused on our core and low belly, before we put the mats away and got our boogie on.  It was so different from the classes I’ve taken in the UK, both because of the yoga/pilates emphasis and also due to the movements that are considered ‘fundamental’ – the four points of the Umi/Omi/Oomi were our starting place, which we smoothed out into the full, tilted hip circle.  To this we added beautiful “floating arms”.  It was something else to see the studio jam-packed with ladies all circling their hips and gracefully moving their arms in unison. Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure of taking the Yin Yoga and Shimmy workshop facilitated by lovely Lauryn Elise Peterson Higgins of Zanzibar studio.  As well as teaching bellydance Lauryn and leading her own troupe, Mirabai, is a certified yoga instructor and also, in conjunction with her mother (who was at the workshops) is a constructive living instructor.  Read the rest of this entry »

Happily I arrived in the States without too much delay yesterday.  I’ve got the prospect of a yoga and shimmy workshop at the lovely Zanzibar studio tomorrow, and I’m hoping my jetlag doesn’t kill that the way it’s been zapping my bounce today.

For your viewing pleasure here’s a short video of some of the lovely folks from that studio:

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