What started in a St. Petersburg backyard is now catching on throughout Tampa Bay as a path to fitness and serenity.
Abby Albaum rediscovered hula hooping in a friend's backyard a few years ago and got hooked. Her passion led her to further research
and practice at a weekly drum circle in Treasure Island
, and before she knew it she was teaching classes, designing her own hoops and leading a performance group of like-minded hoopers. Hoola Monsters
Albaum recently began teaching classes in Clearwater
, St. Petersburg
and South Tampa
that explore the fitness and meditative benefits of hula hooping. She performs at Casa Tina
restaurant in Dunedin
every Friday and with her troupe at the Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Pete
on a regular basis.
"It's a movement meditative practice using hula hoops," explains Albaum. "A mind-body-spirit practice as well as an aerobic activity that can burn up to 600 calories an hour. It's totally addictive."
Albaum makes and sells her own line of hoops, which are custom fitted to each individual.
"You can fit hoops just like a bicycle," explains Albaum. "It's based on height and body type. The hoops you get from the toy store are too lightweight for an adult. Ours are made of industrial-strength material with four different types of tubing. I always make sure they are outfitted with grip tape just like on a tennis racket or baseball bat."
So where did the name, Hoola Monsters, come from?
Albaum answers: "When I started hooping, my friends were giving me a hard time because it was so addictive. They said 'You've turned in to a hula monster!' I thought that would work really well for marketing."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Abby Albaum, Hoola Monsters