Archives for hoolafit

Hula Hoop Teacher Training, St. Pete Florida

St. Pete Training

Whoo Hoo! Registration is NOW OPEN for our next teacher training!  Join us at Hip Expressions Dance Studio in sunny St. Petersburg, FL on June 18 and 19.  In the meantime, we are so excited to announce the launch of our new Facebook Group, the Hoola Fit Fam.  This is a space to ask questions, share inspiration, and support one another on our teaching journeys. We’re kicking off the group launch with a special event, too! On Friday, May 6, 2016: Hoola-Fit Founder Abby Albaum will be hosting a LIVE Q&A to answer any questions that you may have about the program and upcoming teacher training.

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Full Circle Retreat: Costa Rica Highlights

What can I say? The Hoola-Fit Full Circle Retreat was more magical than I ever could have imagined.  Getting to Indigo Yoga Resort was an adventure in and of itself!  After landing in San Jose, I met up with Casandra and Marlys, and we took a shuttle to Tambor.  From there, we hopped on a ferry.  Then, two shuttle rides later, we arrived at Indigo Yoga Resort.  Hungry and tired from our travels, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then turned in for the night.  The rooms were so cute – complete with our own kitchens, balconies with hammocks and private, outdoor showers.

The next morning, we met up with our host Caroline.  We put the finishing touches on retreat plans and anxiously awaited the arrival of the rest of our crew.  Carissa, Chris and Meagan soon joined us, and the next few days were action-packed.  We began each morning with breakfast and yoga (taught by the amazing on-site instructors:  Angela and Randy).  After a quick rinse in the pool, we came together for masterminding and professional development sessions.  What an awesome group of people!  The conversations were informative, transformational and inspiring!

Lunch was next, and then hoop classes each afternoon.  The retreat center was just a short distance from the beach, and we were so grateful for our sunset hoop jams every evening.  Mal Pais is truly a special place.

Chef Randy did an amazing job preparing breakfast and lunch for us each day, and then we’d go offsite for dinner.  The food in Costa Rica is nothing short of spectacular.  The fish is especially fresh!

A few of us opted in for surf lessons on Day 3, while others chose to hang poolside.  The surf lessons were definitely a highlight of the trip for me.  Learning a new skill oftentimes brings up a bunch of different emotions.  And the waves in Costa Rica are no joke.  I fell – a lot, and I also experienced success!  The feeling of riding a wave into shore was so exhilarating, and every time I fell, it gave me an opportunity to re-assess what worked and what didn’t.  It was as mentally challenging as it was physical, and I loved every minute of it.  In fact, those of us who surfed had such a great time that we decided to rent boards and go again the next day.

Casandra and Meagan did a great job facilitating their circle discussions, too.  In Casandra’s class, we created mandalas and discussed conscious community building.  And Meagan led us through some business coaching exercises that helped us get clear on where we wanted to go and what we aimed to accomplish.  Mine was all about multi-level instruction – and then Casandra and I came together on the last day of the retreat to lead a discussion on “Integrity in Business.”  The open format of our circle discussions allowed for everyone to share, bond, and connect.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more!  I even had a chance to lead a kids class, and Caroline brought in some of the locals to participate.

All in all, Costa Rica was amazing, and I can’t wait to get the wheels in motion for next year…  I think I’m going to take some Spanish lessons in the meantime (I had a funny moment when trying to order a vegetarian dish… instead of saying “sin carne” (which means no meat), I accidentally said “cien carne” (which means 100 meats)!  Lesson learned 😉  So, I’ll leave you with some photo highlights from our trip.  Until next time…  Happy Hooping!  XOXO, Abby

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Taking Chances

Dear Friends,

In just a few days, I will be packing my bags and heading to Costa Rica to host my first flow arts professional development retreat, Hoola-Fit Full Circle.  I’m so excited to be in this experience with some of the most inspirational people I know… people who are taking chances in order to live their bliss.  They are the DREAMERS and the DOERS of the world, and they lead with their hearts. We’ve got life coaches, creative visionaries, missionaries, world travelers, hoop dance & yoga teachers and event planners.  I can’t wait to share space with this beautiful group of people to INSPIRE, MOTIVATE and SPREAD JOY.

My main message is this:  Dreams are just dreams if they aren’t pursued.  Let’s put the wheels in motion to take INSPIRED ACTION and COMMIT to our visions.  In the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

With this in mind, I have big news to share, and I’m asking for your positive vibes and well wishes.  After the retreat, I’m headed straight to Miami to attend a children’s entertainment industry pitch convention.  It’s my dream to take Hoola Monster Kids to the next level by turning it into a children’s TV show.  The pilot episode has been produced.  We go to print on the pitch bible this week.  I have a full season’s worth of episodes on paper, and it’s “go time!”  I’ve been working towards this goal for three years now… please keep me in your  thoughts & prayers by sending some good juju!  There’s no better time than NOW to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

And I’ll leave you with three questions to ponder (feel free to comment below with your response): What do you wish for most in the world?  If you could turn any dream into reality, what would it be?  What’s holding you back?she-believed-she-could-so-she-did-quote1-1-1050x698



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Hula Hoop Teachers: Full Circle Retreat in Costa Rica

Hi, Friends!  Abby here!

I’m bouncing off the walls to tell you about something that’s been in the works for quite a while.  I’m headed to Costa Rica next month, and I want you to join me.  The FIRST EVER Full Circle Retreat is taking place Feb 18-22, 2015 and it’s a professional development experience for hula hoop teachers and flow arts educators.

This will be my first time hosting a retreat, and I’ve pulled together some of my favorite people to inspire, motivate and support you in fulfilling your heart’s deepest desires.  We’ve got Life Coach and Event Planner Meagan Ruppert of Return to Roots Gathering Ascending Circles, Casandra Tannenbaum of Florida Flow Fest & Monkey Dust Productions, and yours truly of Hoola MonstersHoola Monster Kids & Hoola-Fit, along with some big players in the hooping world who you’ll be delighted to connect with! 

We all have one thing in common:  We’ve taken risks and we’ve naviagted uncharted territory, in order to do what we love in life.  And we want the same for you.  This is the sole reason why we’ve joined our super hooping forces and have created this retreat.    

Here’s the deal… you have to take RISKS if you want FREEDOM. So make a commitment to yourself, and trust that you’re capabile, deserving and ready to live the life you love.  This retreat will be intimate, heart-centered and transformational… I promise you that.  So, if you’re ready to uplevel your skills and make 2015 the year you break the mold, consider joining us in Costa Rica this Feb.  

Payment plans are available but you have to ACT NOW to take advantage of it. Simply email me at and let me know how I can support you. I’m also happy to hop on the phone and answer any questions you may have. Bottom line: If you feel called to join us, we want you there!


2015 head shotSignature
*Stay connected and informed as all of the juicy retreat details unfold:  Facebook Event Page

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Hoola Fit Full Circle Retreat


This announcement has been a long time coming… Hoola-Fit is Costa Rica bound in 2015!  Not only are we hosting a full blown teacher training (spread over four days vs. the typical two), we also have an array of professional development workshops planned for hoop dance educators, taught by our amazing team of SuHooper Heros.

We’ve designed this year-one retreat to be somewhat small and intimate so we really have a chance to connect, bond and take full advantage of our beautiful surroundings.  Included in the ticket price:  Daily vegetarian breakfast & lunch, shuttle to/ from San Jose Airport, lodging at the brand spankin’ new Indigo Yoga Resort, beach & pool access, morning hoop & yoga classes, professional development circle discussions, and mentorship opportunities.  Retreat-goers will also have the chance to take advantage of our ACE-Approved Teacher Training, opt in for surfing and stand up paddleboard lessons, and join us for Envision Festival after the retreat.

Workshop announcements will be revealed this Friday (Nov 7).  And, we’ve launched the retreat with our rock bottom prices, but unfortunately we can’t keep rates this low (we would if we could).  So, if you feel called to join us, we highly recommend locking in your spot by this Friday.

Cruise on over to our Facebook event page to stay in touch, connect with fellow retreat goers and get real-time updates as plans evolve.  We can’t wait to see you in Costa Rica!


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Heather’s Inspirational Hoop Journey

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll let these images do the talking:

beforeafter  beforeafter2

Heather’s before and after photos are pretty amazing, aren’t they?  Her hoop journey began 5 years ago when she sought out fun ways to connect with her then pre-teen daughter, Hannah. Hannah was a natural at hooping and was eager to teach Heather everything she knew.  The duo looked forward to exploring new hoop moves together, and they grew closer as a result.

In addition to bonding with her daughter, Heather started to notice other positive changes taking place.  Her transformation was slow and steady at first, and she didn’t fully realize how much of an impact hooping would soon have on her health, happiness, well-being and even her bank account!

Heather’s life was changing in a major way…

“Hula hooping was offering me much more than I could have ever imagined. I worked through an addiction, financial hardship, stress, stress, and more stress…  Through hooping, I found my true self (and a much leaner version at that)!

I spread the “Hoopiness” for about 3 years anywhere, anyhow.  If people wanted to know more about my newfound passion, I could’t wait to share information with them.  As I became more serious about my practice, I knew deep down that hooping was to be my new life path.  It became my form of meditation, or flow, and this “mindful movement practice” was transcending into all areas of my life.

So, I set my intentions, and I learned as much as I could about hoop fitness and the emerging art form known as hoop dance.  I was fortunate to discover that Abby Albaum from Hoola Monsters was also based in Florida and was offering a hoop dance teacher training program.  So, I eagerly signed up for Hoola-Fit in April of 2012.

That weekend training was so powerful, and it far exceeded my expectations. I came home and on the Monday following my certification, I proudly launched my sweet little business:  Peace, Love, & Hoopiness Hoop Fitness LLC.

I now reach more than 60 people a week. I have 5 active classes running and continue to be inspired by and through this “hula hoop.”  My 90-pound weight loss was really just a side effect of the real work that was happening on the inside.”
– Heather Leopold Kirkendall

Heather’s inspirational story of weight loss, family connection and business success is nothing short of spectacular.  She’s pretty modest about her 90 lb. weight loss and successful hoop biz, so we’re going to take the liberty of bragging for her…

Heather’s weekly classes are all SOLD OUT, and that’s no coincidence.  She’s an incredible instructor and community builder who is living proof that you can turn your passion into a thriving, heart-centered business.  She’s created a lucrative hoop dance company that inspires people to live happier, healthier lives, and Heather’s warm, caring nature shines through in every class that she teaches.

Take a look at this video, and you’ll see what I mean (You can literally hear the joy in her voice when she interacts with her students):

And speaking of students, here’s what one of Heather’s had to say about her recent experience:

“Thank you so much for inviting me to hoop class tonight.  As a person with multiple sclerosis and lover of hooping, I just wanted to express my gratitude. I’m a fan of how  you work with people.  I made new friends in your class, and it was so great to see people laugh, smile and work at the hoop until they got it.  Your passion is infectious.  I have to say, I was touched by the one lady who first had trouble hooping on her waist (due to balance and her fear of a falling hoop).  And by the end of class, you had her leg hooping and she was so successful!  I will go to bed thinking of that tonight… it was so inspirational to witness!  Thanks for sharing your passion and introducing me to new people.”
– Amy


Heather’s beach class


Sunset Smiles












Well, that about covers it for this week’s blog.  We hope you’re as inspired by Heather as we are…

Until next time,

Mark Your Calendars: Feb 19-22.  Hoola-Fit is Costa Rica-bound!  Join us for the “Full Circle Retreat” – an ACE-Approved Hoop Dance Training for Badass, Heart-Centered Play Professionals!

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More Hoop Teachers, More Joy Spreaders

Greetings, hoopers!  Abby here.

My mantra for this week is: “More Hoop Teachers, More Joy Spreaders.”  That is exactly how I feel, after facilitating a Hoola-Fit training this past weekend at USF in Tampa.  We have just initiated a group of beautiful, motivational, ambitious joy spreaders into our tribe of licensed and certified Hoola-Fit instructors.

Congratulations to: Kathleen Butler, Catherine Byram, Marlys Hersey, Susan McClory, Nick Minton, Dawn Waltonbaugh, Erica Whiteman, and Michelle Whitley.

Happy Hoola-Fit Grads

Happy Hoola-Fit Grads

Kathleen is a Tallahassee-based Chiropractor and hoop maker who looks forward to teaching Hoola-Fit to seniors.  Catherine is a ray of sunshine who is excited about building her hoop community in Port St. Lucy.  Marlys traveled all the way from Texas to join us, and she’s already rocking her local community with hoop dance.  Now, she’s on a mission to take her students to the next level, with this certification under her belt.

Susan was bit by the hooping bug and has been ON FIRE ever since.  It was beautiful to watch her step into her power as a hoop dance educator. I have no doubt that she will excel in her new role.  Next up: Nick.  Our FIRST MALE HOOLA-FIT INSTRUCTOR!!! Can you tell I’m excited?!?!  Nick is full of positive energy, and his wheels are always turning.  He’s constantly thinking outside the box and seeking out new and interesting movement ideas.  Orlando, get ready.  Nick Minton has arrived.

Dawn is a Brooksville-based yoga teacher, belly dancer, and hoop lover.  Oh yea, she’s a University Professor too!  One of her greatest passions is working with kids, and her playful nature shines when she’s teaching.

Erica was a little shy and reserved during the first day of our training.  And then we gave her a microphone…  She raised the energy in that room like nobody’s business!  To say that she did a great job would be a vast understatement.  This woman was meant to share her passion for hooping, and she’s a fantastic teacher.

Last but certainly not least… we’ve got Michelle Whitley.  Yes, THE Michelle Whitley of Hooplah Fun & Fitness.  She’s a pillar in the Tampa/ St. Pete/ Clearwater hoop community and has been a full time hoop dance instructor for 5 years.  It was an honor to have her join us.  Michelle knows her stuff. Plain and simple.  Her greatest passion is working with kids, and I’m on a mission to have her by my side when we roll out Hoola-Fit Kids (how’s that for a teaser ;)?

High Hoops

High Hoops for what the future has in store


Last but certainly not least, I have a few acknowledgements. Big thanks goes out to my right hand woman and SUPERSTAR, Sarah Christine!  She’s a Hoola-Fit “master trainer” to-be, and she helped out with the training tremendously.

Dorshae Bradley was a student in our very first Hoola-Fit training, and she’s been pitching in ever since.  Dorshae supported the USF/ TAMPA event with photography, videography, set up/ break down, food runs, encouragement and by simply being an amazing human being.

Last but certainly not least:  Casandra Tannenbaum: My partner in crime.  Without her contributions to the Hoola-Fit program, these trainings wouldn’t be possible.

So, I’m closing this week’s blog with so much love and gratitude.  Onward and upward we go… inspiring, delighting and motivating people to live happier, healthier lives through the art of hoop dance.

Until next time (which will be Friday – because we have a big announcement coming ;)…. Happy Hooping!


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Divine Play

Hi friends.  Abby here!

As we head into a Hoola-Fit training weekend, excitement is building and plans are underway.  We have an amazing group of people who are getting ready to embark on the journey of becoming hoop dance educators… including some who are traveling long distances to join us.

So, this week – we are going to keep the blog short and sweet, by sharing a brief recap and photo from Saturday’s Rasa-Lila Fest along with a beautiful message sent to Cyrena, from one of her students…

Abby Teaching Hoola-Fit under the mossy oak trees

Abby Teaching Hoola-Fit under the mossy oak trees

Rasa-Lila means “divine play” in sanskrit, and Rasa Lila Yoga Festival is an event that we look forward to each and every year.  I got to teach my workshop under the mossy oak trees, to a group of enthusiastic yogis.  The weather was beautiful, music filled the air, and there were smiles all around. Inspiring new hoopers is one of my favorite things in the world.  I love turning “I can’t” into “I can!”  The majority of the class had never hoop danced before, and many reported back that they were surprised at how well they did.  Large, handmade hoops and some basic instruction makes all the difference, and I was grateful to facilitate their breakthroughs.


Afterwards, I was ready to cool off with some Stand Up Paddleboarding (it’s my new addiction, and I had to bring my hoop, of course!).  Meditation, yoga, healthy food, drumming, and dancing followed.  We closed the event in style, with a fire show.  I performed alongside my beautiful Hoola Monsters team: Lilith, Cyrena, Salenna, and Sarah. It was the perfect day!

Fast forward to today:  I’m putting the final touches on plans for this weekend’s training, and I’m about to head out to teach Hoola-Fit at Sunken Gardens.

But before I do, I’d like to share a sweet message that Cyrena received this week, from one of her hoop dance students:

Submitted by Crystal Dukate:
“I just wanna share a little story about my love for hooping because I’m bursting at the seams! I’m almost 31 years old. I was bored. I had nothing to do in my spare time. I had no passions, no hobbies. I despised exercising, and everything was starting to annoy me. It was depressing how unmotivated I was to do anything.  I was lazy.

My life was boring. I needed something to do soooooo badly before I… well… killed someone! hehehe (that’s just a joke, in case Obama is monitoring this!)  I saw a lady at a pool party hooping and could NOT take my eyes off her. It was, literally, mesmerizing. My brain went off like a firecracker and I said “THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO DO!” I googled it, talked to people, and I was all over it!!!

I found Cyrena at Dragon Hooper and I can’t even express how much she (and the hoop) have, honest to God, changed my entire life. It has made me more positive and happy about things in general. Seriously. I needed it so badly. The “hooping community” is filled with fantastic people with such great energy. Even if you aren’t good at hooping – (I’m still totally a beginner myself) – they make you feel so good about what you’re doing! The encouragement is unbelievable. The excitement you see from other hoopers when YOU learn a new move is so amazing that it makes you even more excited about what YOU are doing! I hope some new people will read this and realize what a wonderful thing hooping truly is! I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Cyrena for helping me find my passion that I so desperately needed and was searching for. I’m just happy. happy. happy.” 

Well, I think that about sums it up. Hooping is truly “Divine Play.”


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Hoola-Fit Hooping on Daytime TV!

Abby and Sarah from Hoola-Fit are hooping on the Daytime TV Show, to promote Rasa-Lila Yoga Festival happening Oct 10 & 11 in Odessa, FL. The event includes yoga, stand up paddleboarding, drumming, belly dancing and more. Catch Abby’s Hoola-Fit class and be sure to swing by our vending booth to check out handmade hoops and jewelry!

WFLA News Channel 8

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Happy Hula Hoops: Morgan’s Teaching Journey

Morgan Kennedy

Morgan Kennedy

Hello fellow hoopers and flow artists alike! And  for those of you who are new to this spinsational world… welcome! I am a proud alumnus of the Hoola-Fit program and owner of Happy Hula Hoops, LLC. I was so fortunate to have been able to take part in Abby and Casandra’s very first Hoola-Fit Hoop Dance Teacher Training back in 2011. The program instilled the inner confidence that I needed in order to outwardly hoop shine to my fullest potential.

Since completing my Hoola-Fit certification, I have been able to share my personal joy of hooping with so many people through professional performances, custom hoop creations and of course, instructing basic and intermediate hoop dance in the Orlando, Florida area. I specialize in providing private hoop dance lessons on a one-on-one basis.

Over time, I found that while many people really enjoyed hula hooping, they just weren’t ready to step out into the world and hoop for all to see. Building hoop self-confidence is what I focus on with each of my students. It’s really a reciprocal learning process, and by paying attention to detail, I learn how to be a more effective instructor with every student that I teach.

For me, hula hooping is a way to share an expressive art form that translates outwardly from deep within oneself. Hooping is precious like a brightly shining pearl; it’s a way of life for me and to many of my fellow hoopers around the world. I was curious to find out what “hooping” meant to my students, so I asked for their participation in this blog post.

Ashley Painter

Ashley Painter

When I asked this of my very first student, Ashley Painter, she responded:

“Hula hooping has definitely helped me be more social. It has led me to making many new friends and reaching out and getting more involved with my community. It prompted me to start a club in my school as well as my local community and be much more social and able to put myself out there. Performing has also greatly raised my confidence. I used to be terrified to be up, in front of a crowd, but while hooping, it’s different.  Now, it’s one of my favorite things. I have also definitely seen the physical benefits. I’ve never been one to play sports or go to the gym, so finding something that is fun and a great form of exercise has been fantastic. I am now reaching out to other sources such as yoga and acrobatics to further tone my body to help with hooping. Hooping has become such a huge part of my life and a definition of who I am… I can’t imagine life without it.”

I am so incredibly proud of Ashley and her hoop transformation. Over the summer I had the amazing privilege of hooping with Ashley on stage at the House of Blues in Orlando. While on stage, I noticed how confident she was and how brightly she shines. Words can’t express how happy I am to witness her growth, and I am excited to see how her individual hoop path develops.

Jayme Mizelle

Jayme Mizelle

Another student of mine, Kristy Henns, expresses that, “Hooping really DOES make me happy!!” and I can’t agree with her more! Finding happiness through hula hooping is what started my personal hoop journey. My student, Jayme Mizelle, says “My hoop is my dance partner.

One point that I teach is that the hoop leads you; you don’t lead the hoop. Once you’ve learned how your hula hoop interacts with your body, you can  then work with your hoop to do some pretty amazing things. I am very proud and grateful for each one of my students, past and present.  I am especially proud of their individual courage in trying something new and different.

You can learn more about my personal hoop journey by visiting my website and liking my page on Facebook.

If you have any questions or are interested in hoop lessons or getting a custom hula hoop of your own, please email:

Happy Hooping!

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