Tag Archive for Abby Schwartz

8 Surprising Gifts Hooping Has Given Me

8 Surprising Gifts Hooping Has Given Meby Abby Schwartz

I returned home from a weekend at the Jersey shore to find a special gift waiting for me on my front porch. It was ten o’clock on a Saturday night in August of 2011 and I was perplexed for a second before realizing that the circular package wrapped in heavy brown paper must be the hoop I had ordered online. In the chaos of a weekend spent with family visiting from Florida I had forgotten about it, but once I tore into the wrapper and held that teal and purple striped adult-sized hoop in my hands, I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl.

Do you remember your first time? It was love at first spin, and I remember laughing and feeling like I was getting away with something. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: it blows my mind that something so fun can be so good for me, too. As I have learned more about hooping, met other hoopers and shared my own personal journey through Hooping.org, I have discovered that hooping has given me so much more than just a fun way to exercise. In fact, here are eight surprising gifts the hoop has brought into my life.

1. A way to meditate that fits my life. For years I’d been telling myself I really needed to start meditating. And I never did. But recently I realized that those minutes spent inside my hoop when I am not working on a move or consciously exercising, are moments of true meditation. When I lose myself in the simple act of spinning the circle on my body and my mind is quiet, I have achieved a key goal of meditation. And unlike carving out time each day to sit and focus on breathing, hooping is something I do make time for. I know that traditional meditation has value, but for now, finding my center inside the hoop works for me.

2. A passport into a whole new world. Sure, every time you take up a new hobby there is an opportunity to learn and grow. But with hooping I am still curious and fascinated by this previously unknown world of hoop dance and performance. One of the things I find so exciting about the culture of hooping is that it also encompasses so many different subcultures as well. If I could draw a circle and write the word hooping in the middle, from that circle extend lines out to countless sources of influence: burlesque, belly dancing, ballet, hip hop, folk music festivals, circus acts, yoga. It seems endless!

3. Connection to a community. There really is a recognition you share when you discover that someone else enjoys hooping too. Like you are both in on this really great secret and instantly, your obsession is validated. Hooping.org has expanded this sense of community for me, connecting me to fellow hoopers across the U.S. and across the pond. There really is something special about hoopers, too. Is it me or does this feel like a much more accepting and supportive group of people than most? Maybe it has to do with hooping being a form of expression. For me, it’s hard to be anything but welcoming and happy when my passion revolves around a childhood toy.

Learning to Hoop Comes in Four Stages

Learning to Hoop Comes in 4 Stages by Abby Schwartz

Learning to hoop is like learning to ride a bike. Sure, someone can explain the mechanics to you, and you can observe how others do it, but ultimately it comes down to you alone. There is a moment when you shift from thinking consciously about your movements, your body wobbly and unsure, to that instant when your mind clicks off, your instincts take over and suddenly you are moving under your own power, your motion is in sync with the bike. In that moment, there is magic. And it’s the closest feeling I can compare to the wonder of making that transition from “I just can’t get it” to squeals of joy when I finally master a new move. Whether you’re working on simply keeping it spinning for the very first time or conquering something much more complicated, I have noticed a personal pattern of learning for most of us and it breaks down into four stages.

Are You Head Over Hoop in Love?

Hoop Love by Abby Schwartz

Falling in love is life changing. At times it is all-consuming. You catch yourself daydreaming about your time together, counting the minutes until you are reunited. Your senses come alive and songs start to take on new meaning. That’s the way it is with my hoop and me. Yes, my hoop habit has blossomed into full blown hoopfatuation. I’m not sure of the exact moment when the shift occurred, but I believe we are now in a committed relationship. Are you now or have you ever been in hoop love? If any of these five tell-tale signs sound familiar, there may be no rotating back.

Top Ten List for December 8-14 2013

Top Ten List It’s time for our weekly Top Ten List where we count down the top ten most buzz worthy posts of the week (as based on reader response), starting things off at number ten and working our way up to the number one spot of the week. What was hot in the hoopersphere this go around? Here’s Hooping.org’s Top Ten List for December 8th – 14th, 2013.

10. Coming in at number ten this week was this awesome video from Kenzie Lynn of Kansas (149 Points).

9. Next up we learned 5 Ways to Reignite Our Hooping Passion with Abby Schwartz (164 Points).

8. This great shot of Amanda Vietta Peach of Florida was very popular this week (171 Points).

7. We Learned Chest Rolls with Audrey Scherer of Florida and we were really happy about it (187 Points).

6. A sunset photo of Nuria Luna Llena in Buenos Aires, Argentina, proved to be a winner (188 Points).

5. Our top photo of the week by a point, however, went to Moonkitty in North Carolina (189 Points).

4. We were dazzled by some Acro-Hooping with Ashlyn Baum and Wayne Hoover in Australia (191 Points).

3. A video of Brent Doering’s Hoop Dance For Melanie in Missouri knocked it out of the park (288 Points).

2. Our top video went to this incredible performance by Caterina Suttin and Ciara Blossom – Spunshine: Meiosis from Texas (310 Points).

1. And at number one with a bullet was our story about one amazing hoop kid who lost her home in the Philippines and our quest to bring her and her family some holiday joy this season: Holiday Hoop Love for Jane Ann Arnado by Clair Ching (758 Points).

Top 5 Features

1. Holiday Hoop Love for Jane Ann Arnado in Cebu, Philippines, written by Clair Ching (758 Points).
2. 5 Ways to Reignite Your Hooping Passion by Abby Schwartz (164 Points).
3. Hoop to Survive the Holidays by Roberta Cervantes Garcia (127 Points).
4. Morgan Tsu-Raun and Nathan Kepner on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno by Philo Hagen (105 Points).
5. Me, I Want a Hula Hoop: The Chipmunks Song by Philo Hagen (95 Points).

Top 5 Videos:

1. Spunshine: Meiosis with Caterina Suttin and Ciara Blossom in Texas, USA (310 Points).
2. Brent Doering: A Hoop Dance For Melanie in Missouri, USA (288 Points).
3. Acro-Hooping with Ashlyn Baum and Wayne Hoover in Brisbane, Australia (191 Points).
4. Let’s Learn Chest Rolls with Audrey Scherer in Florida, USA (187 Points).
5. Kenzie Lynn in Kansas, USA (149 Points).

Top 5 Photos:

1. Moonkitty in North Carolina, USA (189 Points).
2. Nuria Luna Llena in Buenos Aires, Argentina (188 Points).
3. Amanda Vietta Peach in Florida, USA (171 Points).
4. Santia Nance in Virginia, USA (129 Points).
5. Olive Marie of Michigan, USA, performing at SWhoop in Bristol, UK: (128 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List and Top 5’s for this week and remember if you see something you appreciate here (or on any of our social networking sites), it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment and share the hoop love, and you get to make someone’s day while you’re at it. YAY! Each like, share, note or comment is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten. And with that, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr if you’re not already doing so and we hope you had a very happy hooping weekend everybody!

5 Ways to Reignite Your Hooping Passion

Why I Love Hooping Challenges by Abby Schwartz

I’ve been hooping for a few years now and recently came to the realization that the honeymoon is over. Don’t misunderstand, I still love hooping. How could I not? But what was once the source of endless distraction and preoccupation, the thing that had me head over hoop in love, has embered to a quieter warm. Succumbed to the real-life pull of job, family, and even a bit of complacency that comes with familiarity, it dawned on me that what is true in love and passion must also apply to other areas of life as well, including hooping. When love is new it is the best thing in the world. We can’t get enough of it. When it’s been around for awhile, well, sometimes it requires more thought and effort to reignite the flame and keep the fire burning.

When I first picked up a hoop as an adult, the novelty of hooping pushed everything else in my life to the background. As crazy as it sounds, it was almost identical to the euphoric feeling of falling in love. I wanted to immerse myself in all things hoop-related. Hoop making, hoop tricks, web forums; I couldn’t get enough! I spent hours playing with my hoop, new bruises be damned. But gradually, over the course of months, then years, we became a part of each other’s lives. I got busy with other things. I wasn’t surprised and delighted to see my hoop, I knew that it would always be there. The truth is, I miss that hoop love. I miss the fire. So it’s time to reignite that flame again and bring back our hooping passion back.

1: Define what makes you happy. While the novelty of hooping can never be replicated, the passion that it inspired absolutely can. It starts with slowing down, getting quiet and thinking about what we originally loved about hooping. Hooping was an activity I enjoyed as a kid. When I rediscovered it as an adult, I was thrilled to learn that it was a legitimate workout. Maybe it is my Capricorn brain, but for me, any activity that has a productive benefit provides the permission I need to indulge without guilt. Hooping actually produced a real shift in my thinking when it came to exercise. It taught me that there are alternatives to running on a treadmill, and that losing myself in this incredibly fun activity could benefit me physically, as well as mentally and spiritually. I loved — and still do — the physical feeling of hooping. I love the feel of the hoop on my body and when we take the time to get together on a regular basis, I always have the same thought: I’ve missed this. Taking time out to actively reflect and remind ourselves why we fell in love is the first step strikes the match.

2. Shake up your routine. I admit it: I’m a creature of habit. And in most cases, having a routine I can count on works for me. It keeps me organized (yup, Capricorn) and gives me just enough of a framework to move through my days without feeling overwhelmed. But this also has a downside. When you do the same thing every day, you stop seeing what is around you and you start to take it for granted. So to spark some excitement around hooping, shake things up a bit, break up your hoop day a little differently. I have the advantage of working from home so I can choose to start my morning with hooping or take quick little hoop breaks throughout the afternoon. The important thing is to create space to spend time together and to be less predictable about it when we do. That’s why I set a new goal to experiment each day this week with a different approach to hooping and see what grabs me. My hoop and I will be getting together at a new time, changing up our music playlist, spinning it up in a different room, maybe even doing it outside. What’s key is being playful.

3. Set new goals. When I first started hooping, I had a long list of hoop tricks I was going to learn. I remember the excitement of finally mastering shoulder hooping and my elated shouts when I figured out how to grab the hoop from behind my back and lift it off my body into a halo without dislocating my shoulder or marking my ceiling with hoop scuffs! I remember feeling like I had scaled a mountain when I finally got the hoop to climb from my knees to my waist (hint: wear shorts). But in my relationship with my hoop, we’ve been hanging out for quite awhile doing a lot of the same things now. It’s been a long time since I set any hooping goals for myself and there is nothing like a challenge and learning a new skill — whether you are talking hooping, cooking, technology, home improvement, or more — to bring a fresh rush of adrenaline and enthusiasm. Often that new skill will lead to a quest to learn ten more and when we’re going somewhere together there is excitement. Does my hoop need a sparkly, fresh, new tape job? Why yes, I believe it does, and I think I might need a new outfit to wear with it.

4. Seek inspiration. I work in a creative field and every so often I go back to the basics and do what I did in art school to inspire fresh ideas. I fill my brain with words and images from other sources and let it all marinate until I feel inspired to communicate in my own personal way. In the beginning of my relationship with hooping, I was open and soaked up inspiration like a sponge. Happily, submersing oneself in it again is simple. It could not be easier to find sources of hooping awesomeness online and Hooping.org has endless articles, videos, photos and tutorials with more new content rolling in daily. And if you really want to try igniting some passion, why not take some photos or movies of your very own? Nobody has to see them.

5. Just do it. With apologies to Nike, there is merit to this over-used saying when it comes to reigniting your hooping passion. Hey, the experts (sexperts?) always suggest this when advising couples on how to reignite their marital passion too, right? Why not apply it to hooping? Get together and do it. Once you start doing it you’ll probably want to do it again. That’s why I’ve committed myself to hooping for at least 20 minutes a day to kickstart my hoop romance all over again and get prepared for Hooping.org’s 30/30 New Year Challenge that happens every January. From there, who knows, anything can happen!

When it comes to bringing the romance back into our hoop lives, take time to remember why you fell in love in the first place. Get together with your hoop in new ways that keep things from becoming too routine. Create new goals and adventures for the two of you and seek out inspiration from others to open your mind and your life to all the possibilities the two of you can have together. In the end, when you get away from it all for some quiet hoop time alone, it’s going to be a beautiful thing and if you’ve found ways to keep the hoop love alive in your life, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Hoopy Holidays everybody!

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Abby Schwartz Hooping.org Columnist Abby Schwartz has been sharing her hoop journey with readers almost since it first began back in 2010. A freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and fitness, we’re delighted to have her on the Hooping.org team. She lives in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA.

Top Ten List for June 16-22 2013

Top Ten List Hello Hoopers! We hope you all had a the hoopiest weekend possible, because we certainly did! In fact we were so busy hooping our weekly Top Ten List is a little late this week where we count down the top ten most buzz worthy posts of the past week (as based on reader response). So we’re starting things off at number ten and working our way up to number one. Are you ready? Here we go! Here’s Hooping.org’s Top Ten List for June 16th-22nd, 2013.

10: We kick things off this week with a mysterious video from Catherine Simpson: Harlequin Hoop Dance (90 Points)

9: Our announcement about expanding our team here at Hooping.org generated a lot of excitement! We’ll be getting back to everyone soon, promise! Join Our Circle as a Team Member (98 Points).

8: A video from Valerie made a lot of viewers very happy – Stay with Valerie Hoops (99 Points).

7: A Yo Yo Bounce Isolation tutorial from Gennie Garvey got people learning (108 Points).

6: Amanda Syryda spun up 4 countries in 3 months with 2 hoops for a big winner (118 Points).

5: Ailona rocked it hard and scored big with our highest rated video of the week – Ailona: Foxy Lady (120 Points).

4: This awesome photo of Rachel Baldwin at Bonnaroo is in fact amazing (128 Points).

3: And this great shot of Hannah Hummingbird came in as our highest rated pic of the week (155 Points).

2: Abby had a few confessions to share and a whole lot of readers identified. Confessions of a Casual Hooper (219 Points).

1: And at number one this week we have some very valuable info from Philo on Hula Hoop Bruising: What It’s All About (265 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List for this week and things should get back to normal tomorrow, and remember that if you see something you appreciate here (or anywhere online), it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment so share the hoop love and make someone’s day. YAY! Each like, share or comment is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten. With that, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr if you’re not already doing so and we hope you had a very happy hooping weekend everybody!

Confessions of a Casual Hooper

Confessions of a Casual Hooperby Abby Schwartz

While I enjoy The Hoopie Awards and Hooping Idol as much as anyone, I have a few confessions to make. During those hazy, romantic days when I first fell for my hoop, I was filled with hooping aspirations too. There were countless videos to study and tricks to master. I started making and gifting hoops, thinking in the back of my mind that this would be a fun way to make some extra money. Maybe set up a table at a local craft fair and spread the hoop love to my community. It was a whole new world that I discovered and it was all I could do to pry my attention away long enough to take care of my day job and to spend a few minutes a day with my husband and daughter.

A fellow hooper recently told me that some of her friends were hesitant to give hooping a try because they “weren’t a super hooper like her.” That really struck a chord with me. One of the feelings I had to push through on my first trip to Hoopcamp was the worry that I did not fit in because I was not a performer and enjoyed a more casual relationship with hooping. That experience, combined with my exposure to a broad mix of people as a writer for Hooping.org, has taught me something worth repeating here. It is okay to be a casual hooper.

While my enthusiasm for hooping remains high, my aspirations as a hooper: not so much anymore. Is it okay to confess something like that on a website that is devoted to all things hoop-related? Well, yes, it is. Because among our devoted Hooping.org members and site visitors there are others like me. Those who love watching others perform but have no plans to do so ourselves. Those who thrill from learning something new with the hoop, but are equally happy to spend a blissful 30 minutes waist hooping with their beat-up old hoop (yes, a big hoop). To you, my fellow casual hoopers, I offer the following confessions.

8 Surprising Gifts Hooping Has Given Me

Hoop Gifts [Hooping.org columnist Abby Schwartz has hooped up some unexpected gifts.]

by Abby Schwartz

I returned home from a weekend at the Jersey shore to find a special gift waiting for me on my front porch. It was ten o’clock on a Saturday night in August of 2011 and I was perplexed for a second before realizing that the circular package wrapped in heavy brown paper must be the hoop I had ordered online. In the chaos of a weekend spent with family visiting from Florida I had forgotten about it, but once I tore into the wrapper and held that teal and purple striped adult-sized hoop in my hands, I couldn’t wait to give it a whirl.

Do you remember your first time? It was love at first spin, and I remember laughing and feeling like I was getting away with something. I’ve said it before in this column, but it bears repeating: it blows my mind that something so fun can be so good for me, too. As I have learned more about hooping, met other hoopers and shared my own personal journey through Hooping.org, I have discovered that hooping has given me so much more than just a fun way to exercise. In fact, here are eight surprising gifts the hoop has brought into my life.

1. A way to meditate that fits my life. For years I’d been telling myself I really needed to start meditating. And I never did. But recently I realized that those minutes spent inside my hoop when I am not working on a move or consciously exercising, are moments of true meditation. When I lose myself in the simple act of spinning the circle on my body and my mind is quiet, I have achieved a key goal of meditation. And unlike carving out time each day to sit and focus on breathing, hooping is something I do make time for. I know that traditional meditation has value, but for now, finding my center inside the hoop works for me.

2. A passport into a whole new world. Sure, every time you take up a new hobby there is an opportunity to learn and grow. But with hooping I am still curious and fascinated by this previously unknown world of hoop dance and performance. One of the things I find so exciting about the culture of hooping is that it also encompasses so many different subcultures as well. If I could draw a circle and write the word hooping in the middle, from that circle extend lines out to countless sources of influence: burlesque, belly dancing, ballet, hip hop, folk music festivals, circus acts, vaudeville, yoga. It seems endless!

3. Connection to a community. There really is a recognition you share when you discover that someone else enjoys hooping too. Like you are both in on this really great secret and instantly, your obsession is validated. Hooping.org has expanded this sense of community for me, connecting me to fellow hoopers across the U.S. and across the pond. There really is something special about hoopers, too. Is it me or does this feel like a really accepting, supportive group of people? Maybe it has to do with hooping being a form of expression. Maybe it attracts a more sensitive, compassionate type of person. Or maybe it is hard to be anything but welcoming and happy when your passion revolves around a childhood toy.

Top Ten List: March 10-16, 2013

Weekend Wrapup Hey Hoopers! Every Sunday we countdown our top ten most buzz worthy posts of the past week so you don’t miss out on anything. Our top ten list is entirely based on reader response, so what did readers think was the hottest stuff in the hoopersphere this week? We’re starting things off at number ten and we’ll be working our way up to the number one spot of the week. Here’s our Top Ten List for March 10th – 16th, 2013.

10: We kick things off with our top rated photo of the week. It’s Yoga Hooping with Brenda (91 Points).

9: Next up Lara shared her ideas for spinning up hoop fun for kids of all ages: Spring Break Hula Hoop Games (112 Points).

8: Spring also was responsible for a very popular video from France – Anossens: The Arrival of Spring (113 Points).

7: Anyone can make a hooping video, but Natalia in Mexico took hers to new heights: Natalia Oliveros Acuña at the Volcano (123 Points).

6: Abby shared her Adventures in Hoop Making (124 Points).

5: Seattle hoopers didn’t need the luck of the Irish to spin up a winner – A Hoopy Saint Patrick’s Day Hoop Dance (130 Points).

4: Shea shared her hooping breakthrough: Finding My Ohm Inside The Hoop (166 Points).

3: Our top rated video this week was one that left us all spellbound – Paola Berton: Dreaming Colors (202 Points).

2: Philo reminded us how smart kids can be and helped spin the clock backwards on our thinking: Hoop Like a Child (239 Points).

1: And at number one this week was Bonnie asked the magical question – Are You a Hooping Super Hero? (273 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List for this week, so if you see something you appreciate remember that it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment and share the hoop love! Yay! And every “Like” or tweet or comment, etc, is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten, so until next time hoopers you can always follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr and our community forums are open. Happy hooping everybody!

Top Ten List: February 17-23 2013

Weekend Wrapup Hey Hoopers! Every Sunday we countdown our top ten most buzz worthy posts of the past week so you don’t miss out on anything. Our top ten list is entirely based on reader response so what did readers think was the hottest stuff in the hoopersphere this week? Without any further ado we are starting off at number ten and we’ll be working our way up to the number one spot. Here’s our Top Ten List for the week of February 17th – 23rd, 2013.

10: We kick things off with a photo of Mbali Ngubane in South Africa (76 Points).

9: Followed by a gorgeous sunrise video with Australian hooper Coral Jade (79 Points).

8: In Finland, Taija Tiny hooped it up in the snow and ice: Taija Tiny: Ice Flow (94 Points).

7: And Swedish hooper Jelena Mitra dazzled us with her speed and skill (97 Points).

6: One of the most hilarious videos we’ve seen, possibly ever, is Marawa The Amazing: Love Thy Hoop spinning things up in Sydney (98 Points).

5: Bacon and Hula Hoops from Quebec. Need we say more? (107 Points).

4: Our top rated video of the week is none other than Anna Kimura (109 Points).

3: A reader asked Hoopalicious for her tips on breaking into the business: Ask Hoopalicious: How Do I Become a Performer? (129 Points).

2: Abby’s column made everybody happy: Learning to Hoop Comes in Four Stages (212 Points).

1: And at number one this week is our column from Lara, all about The Hoop of Self-Esteem (344 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List for this week, so if you see something you appreciate remember that it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment and share the hoop love! Yay! And every “Like” or tweet or comment, etc, is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten, so until next time hoopers you can always follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr and our community forums are open. Happy hooping everybody!