With both New Years Resolutions and The Hoopie Awards on your minds, you may be feeling some serious internal pressure to get better at hooping. Like yesterday. But realistically you know that nothing makes you a better hooper except, y’know, hooping more. That’s the general consensus anyway. And darnit that takes time! (Sigh.) Now before you go and give up on your imminent improvement before the year’s even gotten started, take a breath and read on. Here are four ways you can become a better hooper today. Not tomorrow. Right now.
1. Drink a whole lot more water than you usually do. And don’t go scrolling down because you think you’ve got this one. You don’t. Sure, you already know you need water and you should probably drink 8 – 10 glasses (or 64 – 80 oz) a day. That’s fine if you weigh 128 – 160 lbs, live in a mild climate, and don’t exercise. 8-10 glasses of water will totally keep you alive and uber-functional if you’re not planning on doing anything today. But you are. You’re going to be hooping today. At least. So go ahead and figure 1 oz. of water for every 2 lbs. of your weight. And that’s just your baseline. There are more factors to consider. Like how much alcohol you’ll be consuming, the temperature and altitude, your general health, and more. I love this about.com hydration calculator because it takes nearly every variable into account. When I tallied how much water I should take in today – at my weight, in a dry Texas climate, breastfeeding, and planning on 30 minutes of hooping and a couple glasses of wine tonight, I need to drink 146 ounces. 4.4 liters folks. That’s 18 freaking 8-oz glasses of water.
Why should you care? Because if you’re not drinking enough water, you’re impairing every aspect of your physiology. Your body needs water to perform every single one of its functions. No, really. You use one pint of water just to exhale normally. So eight glasses ain’t gonna cut it no matter how you pour it. Oh … you don’t like water? Symptoms of chronic dehydration include depression, lower back pain, dry skin, acne, dry cough, reduced brain function, slow response time, headache, stomach irritation, mood swings, muscle deterioration, and oh yeah … weight gain. So suck it up and find a way to deal. The hubby’s only H20 intake is LaCroix Grapefruit Sparkling Water. No sugar, but it helps the “medicine” go down anyway. We’re rural so I like mine distilled or from a spring (I buy and recycle the monster spout jugs). Put some lime or lemon in it. Strap on a camel back. I once put a chart on the fridge so I could indulge the Type-A thrill of checking off the glasses as I drank them. Not into lists or the math? Then follow the Burner Rule and Piss Clear.
2. Breathe Like A Baby. Breathing seems like a no-brainer, right? No breathing, no life. It’s an involuntary function, how can you screw that up? But the “expert” advice is so confusing. Seriously. Mouth? Nose? In, out, which is it? Getting oxygen in and carbon dioxide out is the point. That’s what makes your brain and muscles work the way they’re supposed to. And you’ll need those while you’re hooping. But stress has helped us “forget” the essentials. The fact that you entertain someone telling you “how” to breathe is a symptom of our cultural misguidance. Still. Yes, your lungs are in your chest. But if you can, breathe into your belly. Watch a baby sleep. Watch a baby breathe. The belly rises, not the chest. That’s ‘cause they don’t know how to have a panic attack yet. Or care about sucking in their belly fat for a crowd. Or for a mirror. They breathe life into their bodies, not just an organ. Babies know how to breathe. And so do you. Breathe however your body wants to. Just watch how it’s doing it. Being aware of how you breathe will eventually be enough to counteract the stress and inform your awesome.
3. Go To Sleep Before You Usually Do. For real. Just go to bed. You’re sleep deprived. And it matters. You’re not going to miss anything important. If you do, Facebook will notify you in the morning. Look, I know sleep is a complicated thing that many of us struggle with. But it’s sleep. It’s how our body and mind restores itself. If you don’t sleep, you’ll do wacky, wacky things. But not wacky cool things. If you have serious difficulty sleeping, seek help from those who can give it. If you’ve just got an overactive mind, try this. I name all the things I’m grateful for. From my ability to breathe and walk to my friends and family. I NEVER make it to the end of my list before caving to what my body really wants … time to recuperate and repair itself. Find a way to sleep. And thank me in the morning.
4. Break Out The Video Camera. Oh, you thought you were gonna get by with the common sense advice. Drink water, breathe, and sleep? OK, yeah, I’m totally serious about those. But I’m also serious about you being a better hooper today. And all things considered, that’s best accomplished by you actually taking a look-see at yourself. Not into videos? Stomach churning at the very suggestion? Chill. Nobody has to see it but you. But even if you’re your only audience, you should know. Maybe you just need to drop that shoulder to nail the move you’ve been struggling with. Are your hands helpless appendages when you dance? What if being a better hooper today simply means that you become conscious of what your fingers are doing. Do you hoop with your mouth open because it’s so awesome? (It is, but still …) Maybe being a better hooper today is as simple as putting a confident smile in the place of your O-Face.
Maybe you watch that video and realize you’re already a better hooper than you thought you were and you’re left to wonder why you waited so long to see it? Go ahead and look. If you’re hooping, you’re a great hooper. And if you’re hooping, you already know that. BUT if you’ve forgotten, allow me to remind you. You’re hooping. You’ve given yourself the permission to dance, to create, and to tell me and everybody else to stick their water, breathing, and sleeping rules where the dance don’t shine. Do what your body wants to do. And you’ll be a better hooper for it. Today.
Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. Beyond commenting here, you can also discuss this and other topics related to the Hooposophy for living in Hooping.org’s Hooposophy Group and Forum. Lara is also the planting and gardening force behind discovering our hooping community roots at The Hooping Family Tree Project.