Monthly Archives: November 2004

Waist Whittling

A lot of the buzz about hoops these days revolves (ha!) around hoops as a fitness tool to help facilitate weight loss. None of us here at are certified in any way to make claims about hooping and weight loss, but we can share own experiences, and ask others to do the same.
My observations are that while hooping is super aerobic when you’re first learning, the better you get at keeping the hoop going, the less you work up a sweat to maintain the motion. Hooping, like other forms of exercise, gets easier and easier the more you do it, and next thing you know, you barely have to move to keep the hoop going around your hips! This means that unless you start actively moving the hoop on other parts of your body (over the head, on the arms, etc), you’re going to get some seriously diminishing returns in terms of sweat.
There are some hoop manufacturers out there who claim that hooping can take 2″ off your waist in a month. If my waist is any indication, this is not true. I’ve been hooping for over two years, and while I gained a few new muscles under my belly, its still just as soft as it always was.
This is in NO WAY a discouragement from using hooping as part of a healthy lifestyle — it’s a great fun way to get your blood pumping and your body moving! Increasing activity levels is a component of weight loss. But if you’re looking for a miracle waist whittler, my inclination is to say you’re not likely to find it here.
But let’s open the discussion up to the hoopers — what are your experiences? Did hooping change your body?

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Effective Teaching

Good teachers know how to share their knowledge in ways that their students can understand. This goes for math teachers, yoga teachers, ESL teachers and yes: hooping teachers!
Of course we all want to share our tricks with each other — but sometimes it can be hard to explain what you’re doing. What are the best ways to show someone a trick? Talking? Demonstrating? Making them try it? Sometimes, while trying to explain what you’re doing, you can come off as sounding condescending … and when I say “you,” I think I mean “ME”! It’s a special skill to know how to encourage and teach people in a way that they respond to … and each person is different! Some people want very clear directions, while others simply want to watch and try on their own.
I’d love to hear from the hoop workshop leaders and teachers about the techniques they use to effectively share their skills with others. It’s a delicate science, and definitely one I haven’t mastered.

Article about poi and hoop spinner Isa Isaacs

The SF Weekly today has an article titled Poi Oh Poi, which focuses on poi and hoop performer and instructor Isa Isaacs, also known as Glitter Girl, owner of Temple of Poi in San Francisco. Isa is known in the hooping community for her poi-la-hoop moves in which she spins poi and a hoop at the same time, on fire or off.
The part of the article that I can relate to the most is the one where Isa talks about her learning curve.

Her own learning process, she says, was severely thwarted because she had no instructor. “I totally sucked,” she recalls. “I didn’t have a breakthrough for a year and a half. But I didn’t have a teacher and there really weren’t people teaching it at the time. Now, I have students who know more technically in 10 weeks of classes with me than I knew when I first got paid professionally.”

Philo and I experienced the same with hooping. Our own learning process last year was exponentially slower than that of new Bay Area hoopers who join us now. But at least even in the beginning we had each other to watch and learn from.
The article about Isa is inspiring from an entrepreneurial perspective. If you have ever thought about transitioning from a corporate career to a career that is all of your own making, this article should be a refreshing bell-ringer. And if you are interested in fire hoop making or fire hooping workshops in the Bay Area, check out the classes at Temple of Poi. contributor in NYTimes!’s own Stefan Pildes is pictured hooping in the New York Times this morning. Click Stefan’s picture below to view the full slideshow of Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

(you will need a free nytimes login to view)