Hula Hoop: The Ultimate Therapist

Hula Hoop Therapyby Megan Smith (Sati Flow)

Therapy is great for a lot of people, but it can be very expensive. You often have to drive across town and there never seems to be any parking. You pay an awful lot of money to someone to ask really important questions like, “So, how does that make you feel?” And when your 50 minutes are up. your time is over, regardless of whether or not you were in the middle of something revelatory and groundbreaking. Lately I’ve found myself a new therapist that I’m liking a lot and not only do you pretty much get a lifetime pass for less than the cost of a single session, I can bring myself and my problems to it whenever I feel like it for as long as my heart desires and my hoop makes me feel so much better in seconds flat. Well, most of the time.

Let me set the scene. It was a bad day in every sense of the word. I woke up early with out much sleep, spilled coffee down my shirt at work and had the most irrational customers to deal with. I couldn’t wait for the day to be over and when I came home my best friend and I ran head-first into a communication wall that left me even more frustrated and confused. That was when I realized I had a lot less money than I had initially thought I had too. Was that check going to bounce?

Throughout the day I had been looking forward to one thing and one thing only, hooping. So, when the time came I grabbed that beautiful circle, some water, my music and I ventured forth to spin away the cares of the day. And that’s when things got even more interesting. I started hooping, but I felt stuck. I felt as though I couldn’t remember anything other than moves I’d been doing for years. My body awareness seemed suddenly at an all-time low. I got dizzy, sweaty and annoyed all too quickly, and I, quite frankly, really didn’t appreciate my care free personal time becoming a chore.

To put it bluntly, at this point I really just wanted to walk away. And earlier in my hooping career when I spun into an emotional obstacle or block of some kind, that’s exactly what I did. We can hold so much past emotional energy in our body and when we hoop sometimes things spin their way to the surface. Within the past year as my hoop practice has become more necessary, more defined, and more flexible I’ve also noticed another interesting phenomenon starting to take place in my circle. My hoop always knows when I am being dishonest, whether it be with it, with my practice or even with myself. My hoop doesn’t let that dishonesty fly either, no sirree! It won’t let me leave my practice until I have come clean about whatever it is. Alright, while my hoop (unfortunately) cannot verbally communicate these concerns, it does have this strange, silent and overwhelming ability to pull anything and everything out of me. The centripetal force inside the spin does wonders in this regard as well.

Back to the scene in question, the moment finally came that the hoop and I had both been waiting for. A pot of water in my gut finally came to a boil spewing everywhere. I fell. I cried. I felt sick to be honest, and I felt as though a truth I had been avoiding in my life had smacked me right in the face, right in the middle of my hoop. So we sat together, my hoop and I, and (in my head and to myself) we talked it out. When it was over I thanked my hoop for being such a great listener, and I thanked myself for being open to healing, honesty and growth. From there, and it took longer than 50 minutes and nobody seemed to mind, we reconstructed from the ground up and I ventured forth into the world grateful to be alive and to face the next great lesson.

There are a multitude of gifts the hoop can give us: the gifts of honesty, connection, self-love. Without these things we wouldn’t be able and open to spin through these “break-downs” and we wouldn’t hold space for the new “build-ups” that follow. Through this physical act of self-expression that we call hooping, we sometimes transcend the boundary between mind and body, and we can commit to fully expressing our hearts through our tangible being. It’s a powerful thing. Is it any wonder there are those in our community who make mention of the hoop helping with and curing their battle with depression and more?

What’s the most rewarding part of it all? It’s just a plastic toy, right? I still have my money in my wallet. We aren’t on a time clock. I don’t have to leave my home. Through this vessel, this magical circle, I have learned to council and heal myself all at once. I’ve learned the importance of being true to myself. I have learned to be kind to my heart and to allow as much time as needed for great realizations. And, truth be told, there’s something cool about doing this on my own. Yes, I can thank my hoop, but I chose to pick it up. I’m choosing to commit, to learn, and to be present. So let’s pat ourselves on the back for choosing such an awesome learning tool that is not only so much fun, it’s oh so very good for every part of our being: mind, body and soul.

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Megan Smith Megan Smith, aka Sati Flow, is a poet, artist, yogini and hooper based in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. She has been hooping since 2011 and writing for as long as she can remember. Follow her hoop teachings, performances, writing and more on her website, satiflow.com!

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