Tag Archive for Hoop Love

Hoop Love Stages and My Marriage to Hooping

Offbeat Bride by Katie Sunshine

I’ve been hooping long enough now that I am certain I am devoted, committed, and want to spend the rest of my life hooping. I’ve taken the plunge, tied the knot, and said “I do.” I’m married to hooping and just as with a real marriage, it has its ups and downs, its good days and bad. Veteran hoopers will surely understand what I’m about to describe. New hoopers, you may see yourself in one of the following stages of your hooping relationship.

When I was first introduced to hooping, it was at a music festival about five years ago. My “boyfriend” at the time was photography, so I was toting around my trusty camera snapping away at all the costumes, characters, creatures, and scenery. Then, right in front of the main stage, I saw her. A beautiful girl with one long peacock feather tied in her flowing brown hair, dancing with a hoop. She was twirling and spinning and doing tricks I’d never seen before, all the while with a smile on her face. Immediately I began snapping pictures. She was absolutely stunning subject material. She looked so happy and graceful and free. Then I found myself putting my camera down and just watching her, probably with my mouth wide open in awe. She was captivating. My thoughts went from “I want to photograph her” to “I want to watch her” to “I want to BE her!” I suppose you could call this stage one: The Introduction.

It wasn’t long after that festival I broke things off with photography and bought my first hoop. I spent the first little bit just flirting with it. I would have fun, we’d play occasionally, but I didn’t get too serious. I practiced keeping the hoop going around my waist, sometimes trying some spins and turns, but nothing earth-shattering. I was, after all, just having fun. This was stage two: Flirting.

I realized after some of time, however, that if I wanted to really get something out of hooping, I was going to have to get more serious. It would require practice, devotion, and determination. I decided I was up for the challenge. I started practicing more difficult tricks, watching hooping videos on YouTube (back then, there weren’t quite as many as there are now!), and learning about successful hoopers. I spent more and more time doing these things. I found myself becoming consumed by a hooping world I didn’t even know previously existed. Before long, I was swept away into stage three: Infatuation!

Infatuation is by far the most exciting stage! I couldn’t get enough of my hoop, practicing sometimes two or three hours at a time. I took my hoops everywhere I went, always ready to hoop at the drop of a hat. Even when I wasn’t hooping, I was THINKING about hooping! For example, while listening to a song in my car, I would be picturing myself hoop dancing to it. I would think to myself, “Now is when I would do this trick, and now I would do that move, ooh yeah, that would look really good!” When talking to others I would describe myself as passionate, fascinated, and totally obsessed with hooping. And it was the truth! I was consumed by hooping, mind, body, and soul.

What’s so exciting about the infatuation stage is that, for a while, it just seems to get more and more intense. When you see a new trick that blows your mind, it’s a vigorous desire, a lust. You will master it. And that feeling you get when you finally nail that move you’ve been coveting and practicing is most supreme. It only strengthens the bond between you and your hoop. The more you practice, the better you get, the more confidence you have, and, consequently, the more fuel you have to keep going! I felt unstoppable. Me and my hoop, we were something special. There were times during this stage I think my actual husband felt a little neglected!

Then, I moved on from the infatuation stage. Not by choice, really, but over time, just as with a human relationship, things change, feelings evolve. Of course, I’m still madly in love with hooping, but I don’t feel the need to hoop everyday, nor do I spend every waking moment thinking about it. I go through spells where I might feel like I’m in a rut, or get stuck just performing the same movements over and over. Marriages can be like that. We can all fall too deeply into our routine if we’re not careful.

That’s why I make it a point to keep things from getting stagnant. I spend a night here and there, “date nights” if you will, perusing hooping.org and YouTube for new moves and styles that might add some spice to my relationship. I spend time thinking of ways to create new energy and new types of hoops. Fortunately, with the hoop community being as wonderful and creative as it is, there is no lack of inspiration out there!

Hooping and I lasted through the blindingly wonderful infatuation stage and emerged more in love than ever before, but it’s a deeper warmth, a connection that isn’t going anywhere. My feelings have evolved past pure, lustful obsession into appreciation, gratitude and happiness, in short: true love! So when hooping popped the question, I said yes, and I am thoroughly and happily secured in stage four: Marriage. It’s been an amazing hooping journey so far, and I’m still very excited to discover what stages I haven’t even made it to yet. But one thing’s for sure for, it’s me and my hoop…’til death do us part!

(Photo of Aerial Meadow Stallings of Offbeat Bride in Seattle, Washington, USA).

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Katie Sunshine Katie Sunshine of Katie Sunshine Hoops has spun up more of YouTube’s most watched hooping videos than anyone else with millions of views and spun her hooping passion into a way of life. She lives in Conway, Arkansas, USA.

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.

Jane Ann Arnado thanks the Hooping Community

Jane Ann Arnado by Clair Ching

When Typhoon Haiyan hit, many areas of the Philippines were terribly ravaged. Maybe you recall that one of our fellow hoopers, Jane Ann Arnado, one of youngest members of our hooping community in the Philippines, was affected greatly by the storm. Her family practically lost their livelihood in San Remigio, Cebu, Philippines, and their home was destroyed. When she returned after Haiyan, as you can see in the photo, her home no longer had a roof.

Isn’t it amazing how circles work though? When the tragedy didn’t stop Jane Ann from using her hoops to give other people something to smile about, we here at Hooping.org wanted to give her something to smile about over the holidays too. Circles are symbolic of the hoop community from all over the world who cared enough to do something for one of our own. Our call for hoop love for Jane Ann and her family manifested in a fundraising effort. When we learned it would cost 25,000 Philippine Pesos to repair their home and put a roof back over their heads, Philo told me, “That’s about $550.00 American. It’s totally doable. Let’s make it happen.” And thanks to everyone who helped spread the word, chipped in and generously shared in the holiday cheer, we were not only able to meet our goal of Php 25,000, we were nearly able to double it! Over the holidays we raised Php 44,260.86 to help the Arnados fix their home.

Arnados Jane Ann and her family are so thankful for this and the love that was shared by the hooping community in their time of need. They’re hopeful that within the month their house will be fixed and it couldn’t have happened without the generosity of individual hoopers and hooping communities from all over the world. Here in the Philippines we also organized a Hoop Jam For a Cause and gathered local hoopers together to raise money too. Hoopnation Philippines and Hoopaholic Cebu came together at Quezon City Memorial Circle for a 1.5 hour workshop, a raffle and more. I’d like to thank Bernadette Yu of Hoopaholic Cebu who volunteered to act as our fiscal agent too and presented the money to the Arnados with all of our messages of hope and love and everyone who contributed in amounts large and small. The end result is that the Arnados will have a home again very thankful for everything that we have done for them over the holidays.

Jane Ann, and her father Joselito, express their thanks in their language, Cebuano, one of the many local languages of the Philippines. The translation is as follows:

Jane Ann Arnado: Hello everyone! Thank you God for giving me this talent, and everyone who supports it. Thank you to those who helped us, this will really make a big difference.

Joselito Arnado: Big thank you to the Lord for giving my daughter her talent. Also to Bernadette for facilitating this. To Clair Ching for helping us get back on our feet. She was the one who initiated this fundraiser through her article on hooping.org. To all hula-hoopers who donated, thank you all so much Once again. Thank you. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Don’t you just love a happy ending? While there is much work to be done here in the Philippines for so many, thanks to the generosity of the hooping community one girl and her family are on their way. We leave you with a video of Jane Ann fire hooping at the Sunrise Festival, a benefit for the survivors of typhoon Haiyan.

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Clair Ching Columnist Clair Ching is from Manila and she is an active member of Hoopnation Philippines. She found hooping in 2012 as a great way to keep herself active and physically fit. She blogs about hooping, crafting and food on Being a Crafty Cat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for quick updates on her hooping life.

For the Joy of Hooping All Year Round

Hoop Grinch 2013 [Hooping.org wishes everyone the happiest of holidays and we will return from our holiday vacation on Monday, December 30th, to countdown the best of 2013, get ready for our New Year 30/30 Hooping Challenge, our 2014 Hoopie Awards and a whole lot more. Hoopy Holidays!]

by Philo Hagen

We hoopers have our own version of holiday cheer and best of all, it can be enjoyed the whole year round. Sometimes, however, we can all lose sight of it. Over the years a particular quote has been mentioned so many times it’s pretty much become part of our hoop community vernacular. I’m talking about the ever-so-catchy – “It’s impossible to hoop and not have a smile on your face.” It’s such a great little soundbite it’s no wonder so many of us have used it – and quite often it’s the truth, leaving the reporter or the friend or the family member instantly envisioning all of the joy filled happy hooping faces. Perhaps, they too, could find a smile of their own, they wonder to themselves, if only they had a plastic ring of their own to play with. And adding to our hoopiness smile factor is all the “hoop love” being spun up in our hooping community. Hooping.org is happy and proud that we have been spreading it online since 2003 and wow – now there is this incredibly wonderful and inclusive world-wide hooping community that we dreamed of when we launched, and we’re just so chock full of hoop love as a result that we just can’t help but share it – but what do we do when we’re really just not feeling it?

Hooping.org’s video team watches lots of hooping videos, more than probably anyone, and we’ve noticed in recent years, and with increasing frequency, that not only are hoopers not smiling as much anymore, there are those who look downright unhappy to be hooping – or at least to be doing so in front of a camera. It’s as if the Grinch stole their hoop joy, cause you know that they had it at some point. And when you read the information they’ve posted about their video, it’s often a windy apology. “I’m sorry I didn’t hoop as well as I normally would, but I was tired and…” “I’m sorry this isn’t edited…” “I’m sorry I made mistakes…” “I’m sorry I suck so bad…” If all of this isn’t sad enough in and of itself, it has become increasingly rare that anyone comes along to love that hooper back into shape too. They might get a comment like “Your move at 2:52 was good” – but is the reader to imply that the remainder of their five minute adventure wasn’t? Has the commenter lost sight of their own hoop joy enough that only a couple wow factor seconds felt noteworthy? It’s had me wondering what happened to all of the beaming faces. When did hoopers start getting so down on themselves? Is our hoop community in need of a Christmas miracle? And, how do we get that hoop love back not only for ourselves, but for others everywhere?

Lisa Loo For the record, I know there are amazingly sad hooping videos out there that are incredibly beautiful. I think we’ve all been touched by an unhappy one with someone hooping through their grief after losing a loved one, or a parent. There are those who can pack a lot of emotion into a hoop dance, even to the saddest of songs – and boy do we ever love them for it. These tributes to life’s more challenging emotions are not really what I’m talking about here though, primarily in that the hooper is genuinely involved in hooping with feeling. I’m more curious about what I can only refer to as the less than happy hooper trend, those who appear to have, well, flatlined. It’s not that they’re feeling down. It’s as if they’re not really feeling much of anything at all. So, what characteristics do our happier hoopers appear to all have in common? Let’s take a look:

1) Authenticity: The happier hooper tends to be much more focused on hooping for his or herself, rather than hooping for an audience. Somehow they’ve managed to divorce themselves from caring very much about what other people think. They’ve chosen music that speaks to them and their hoop dance, whether it flies as being cool in the hoopersphere right now or not. And whether they’re a hippie or a raver or a hottie or a mother, they’ve got something going on that is authentically them.

2) Flow: Happier hoopers also seem to have found what we like to call “flow”. Where did they find it? That’s a good question, because we tend to find it most when we have lost all thought of even looking for it. Not thinking, just being and connecting with your hoop, the sound, the moment. There also seems to be a correlation between those who spend more time hooping on the body vs those who spend more time hooping off of it. Back in the day, we all spent a lot more time body rockin’ that hoop and it’s pretty powerful tool when you do in the art of letting go. Off body hooping, as beautiful as it can be, can have a tendency to take us into our heads, rather than out of them – particularly while learning – cause that is where our quest for precision lies. But here’s the news flash: Perfectionism is not only a miserable way to live, it’s a miserable way to hoop, and the only perfection there is in flow is the feeling you get when you find yourself in it. There’s nowhere else you’d rather be doing anything else other than being right here, right now. If you’re thinking about what you’re doing, chances are you are most likely no longer in flow. I think Flow is a gift of joy and holiday cheer that is available to everyone in Whoville, I mean Hoopville. Hoopers that get caught in the perfection game rarely give themselves any credit for the progress that they’re making along the way too, usually because they’re so busy wishing they were somewhere else in their practice than where they are. They forget that the joy is in the journey. They forget that the sound of the hoop hitting the floor means we are growing. We’ve stepped out of our comfort zone and we’re on our way.

3) Spirit: While not exactly a rule, it does seems to me that a higher percentage of happier hoopers also have some semblance of spiritual focus – regardless of what their personal faith might be. These hoopers tend to pay some attention to their spiritual condition, and by that I guess I really mean the condition of their spirit. Whether you believe in a higher power of some sort or not, I think we all know when our spirit is on the proverbial rag. And usually the needed refresh comes from retreat – some alone time in meditation, with or without our hoop, stepping away from the critical types in favor of loving voices. We might need a quiet chat with that beloved friend, a trip to the spa, or an hour alone with some favorite trash TV. Whatever it is, if it gets our amusement about life and hooping back and puts a smile on our face and a spring in our step, I think it qualifies as inherently spiritual in my book. Often in order to find ourselves again, we need to take that step back and see exactly where we may have left our self somewhere along the way.

4) Generosity: The last characteristic of the happier hoopers I’ve noticed is that they seem to be generous. They’re generous with their time and energy. They bring the sound system and/or extra hoops to the hoop jam. They’re the ons teaching someone how to do something cool that they were asked about. They’re posting a free tutorial just because. They’re also generous with their love and support of other hoopers. They “Like” a lot of stuff, leave comments, and share a lot of hoop joy. They know everyone in this community is valued and important, that we all need a little validation from time to time, and that Liking doesn’t cost a dime. And guess what? There’s an unlimited supply of it available! Paradoxically speaking, the more we like and love one another too, it seems the more we find the like and love in ourselves and our own hooping. It’s true, I swear! So why practice random acts of love and kindness when we can practice deliberate ones daily right here in this awesome hooping community that we are all so lucky to be a part of.

Getting out of ourselves and giving it away not only puts a smile on someone else’s face, it’s also the secret ingredient when it comes to keeping it fresh. Giving the gift of hoop joy helps us remember what it was like when we showed up at the hoop event and didn’t know anybody. What it was like when we wanted to learn that move. It helps us remember that even simply picking up a hoop for some is major cause for celebration and when you think of where that simple act may take them, don’t be surprised if a smile appears on your face as well.

So don’t let the grinch steal your hoop joy this holiday season. Being ourselves, turning off our heads and opening our hearts, taking good care of ourselves and wpreading the hoop love make for an excellent recipe for getting that hoop heart that feels like it has gotten two sizes too small to be big and bright and shiny again. It may not feel comfortable at first. You might not even feel the impact right away, but like hooping it is progressive and simple acts build increasingly with practice until one day you forget that it was ever an issue at all.

Hooping.org wishes you nothing but the hoopiest of holidays everybody, and the happiest of healings and joyful hooping celebrations this holiday season.

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Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The Power of the Hooping Community

hoops by Bonnie MacDougall

Last week a hooping friend on FaceBook contacted me out of the blue and gifted me a piece of her handcrafted jewelry. She explained this great kindness in a message, “So I decided to GIVE to (you) my hoop community (and being a teacher is Hard work)…..funny how that changes it all up and makes the energy MOVE! Enjoy. I am wishing you happiness and hope to see you sometime in 3D.” Her act of selflessly giving left me contemplating the numerous times I have been assisted by my local tribe or the greater hooping community and the many stories over the years of hoopers helping our own. I began wondering how hooping has individually affected us to create a community where support exists between people whom have often never even met and may even live thousands of miles apart?

For The Love of Plus Size Hoopers Everywhere

fortheloveofplus by Shannon Herrington

Recently I was introducing myself and the woman I was talking to asked what I did for a living. When I told her that I was a hooper she responded, “You’re a big girl. That’d be a funny sight to see you hula hooping.” I was flabbergasted. While she is right, I am a bigger girl, should hooping only be for skinny people? I think not, though watching videos where most of the hoopers are toned and svelte, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it sometimes feels that way. Many in and out of the hoop world struggle with issues of weight, identity, and self acceptance. Not everyone in the hooping community understands what being overweight is like. Recently, while perusing a hooping teacher group, I was astonished to hear instructors ask, “Can obese people hoop?” It hurts my heart when those who are spreading hoop love in their communities aren’t aware of just how much help they can be for people who may need hooping the most. The hoop is such a powerful, transformational tool to help all of us on our journey in embracing ourselves, no matter what our size.

Hooping isn’t all about weight loss for us either. Hooping is about simply finding yourself inside the hoop. No one should be afraid of giving it a spin, or being the big girl at the jam or in class. My hooping journey has helped me a great deal. As a result I finally felt good enough about myself to post a video awhile back called “Big Girls Can Hoop”, dedicating it to all the plus-size hoopers in the world. How was it received? The response has been phenomenal with over 9,000 views and beautiful comments like, “I seriously thought this was impossible till now. You’re amazing!”, “That was such a cute video! I was smiling throughout the whole thing!” and “Thanks for this video. It’s inspired me to do it too!” One girl told me she was inspired to start filming her hoop experiences too after watching mine. And here I was afraid to post a video on YouTube, but by walking through my fear I not only found greater self acceptance, I found greater love and support. Which got me thinking, why don’t we see more videos from men and women of size? And how can we as a community be better in spreading acceptance of ourselves and our larger friends inside the hoop? Here’s what we need to do:

1. Have larger hoops for larger people. This may seem like a simple thing, but it can be really hard for some hoopers to find that goldilocks hoop. Whenever you buy a hoop on the internet, you have no clue if that hoop is perfect for your body. Some hoop makers may make the error of promising to make the perfect hoop for you without ever realizing what a larger hooper needs. I went through purchasing four different hoops online before finally making my own perfect hoop for myself. If you are a teacher or organize a hoop jam, make sure you have large hoops for your students or visitors who are struggling or plus-sized. And not just your definition of larger, but a larger we can really use. This Hoop of Self-Esteem will empower your students and it will be fun to boot! There is no limit to the size of a hoop. If the perfect hoop for you needs to be as tall as you, rock it!

2.Prioritize Your Practice. Everyone has potential to be great, but we can’t get better till we work on building the muscle memory needed to perform. Flight hours inside the hoop are imperative for all of us. If you don’t give hooping time, you won’t be able to improve. Plus sized hoopers may throw in the towel more easily because we’re often told we can’t do things. Sometimes we even tell ourselves that. Therefore it’s up to all of us to promote prioritizing practice. This will allow the body to get to know itself again and get used to movement. Half my day is spent tweaking arm movements and foot positions outside of my hoop. These movements don’t always transition into the hoop, but if I’m constantly moving, I’m forcing my body to make new muscular connections and comfort in movement means practice makes progress!

3. Get and Give Social Media Love: If you see an amazing hooper that does not have a traditional body, pass it on and spread the love. I remember reading the Huffington Post article about Philo’s amazing Gotta Hoop video and was distraught when one of the commenters said, “I’m a little disappoint­ed to find out someone can hoop so much and still have flabby abs.” Right or wrong, we might expect this type of behavior from the outside world, but in our community we need to support all hoopers no matter the size. We need to be a welcoming community for everyone so if you see someone who doesn’t necessarily fit the mold, for whatever reason, give em a hoop hug.

4. Celebrate Joy in Movement. Today you may be upset because you can’t learn that backwards scorpion twizzle stick move, but don’t be depressed. You are moving your body! In today’s world, most people hardly move. Even 15 minutes of physical activity can help increase your lifespan by three years. Movement in our lives is cause for celebration! We are twisting, jumping and letting our bodies be free! You are dancing to the music and have a partner that will never reject you. Enjoy 30 minutes to yourself. This is your time to move. If a hoop goal isn’t flowing for you right now, then just spin your way around it in your circle. Go for it. Feel like a kid again!

5. Love Our Bodies. If a body is larger it means we will have to make allowances for that, not that we’re out of the game. If knees are hurting, tone down the vigorous jumps. Move with your body and make friends with it. You have to live with yourself 24/7, not anyone else. Listen to what your body is saying. It will tell you what it needs. Now I don’t want to hear any excuses, so stop blaming your body. It wants to move, even if you are only hand hooping or waist hooping, just please keep on hooping. Hoop for yourself. This art form is supposed to be empowering. Lately I’ve been doing odd things with the hoop that aren’t graceful necessarily, but they make me happy. That’s what the hoop should do for you too. We don’t all start in the same place and all of us regardless of size learn at different paces. Love your body and it will help you learn.

One amazing and inspiring curvy hooper is Rowan TwoSisters of Punk Rock Hoops in Houston, Texas, USA. Rowan currently teaches classes and is one of the organizers of Hottie Hoop Camp which is coming again in March. There will be amazing classes on how to tailor clothes and costumes for a curvy body and she doesn’t believe curvy hoopers should get “married to waist hooping” either. The biggest keys for her are to be able to get the hoop off and on the body. After that, feel free to experiment. Rowan told me that even working mainly off body will help a hooper develop proprioception too, which will aid us in developing stronger muscles and body awareness.

We can all do our part to make sure that hoopers of all sizes feel more welcome inside our circle, but the greatest issue is probably visibility. If we don’t see others like ourselves hooping, how can we – or anyone – know that it is all possible for us? If you’re worried about negative comments you can allow only approved comments to appear on your YouTube channel, or post your video on Vimeo where such problems rarely occur. Peruse the Ten Easy Ways to Improve Your Hooping Video and go for it. The biggest tip I have taken to heart is resisting the urge to say something negative about my videos when I post them. Embracing hoopers of all sizes will help all of us show that one need not be the small girl in the bikini to hula hoop. Join me in doing something today to support curvy hooper visibility and inclusion. You’ll be glad you did. Now go get your hoop on and have some fun.

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Shannon Herrington Shannon Herrington/ has been spinning up the Hoop Love and helping all of us feel better about ourselves. You can find her at Undefined Hoopdance as well and she was a popular contestant on Season 2 of Hooping Idol. She lives in Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA.

A Hula Hoop Flash Mob Wedding Proposal

Hoop Love by Philo Hagen with photos by Green Land Photography

When Jo Mondy started Live Love Hoop, her hooping business, more than five years ago, her focus was more on the living and hooping parts of the equation, but little did she know then that love would be coming along for the ride anyway. Two years ago, as a result of signing on to teach a bunch of kids how to hoop at a small festival in the English countryside, Andy Broughton would suddenly spin into her life. “We were introduced by friends and I’d never really seen anyone hoop dance before,” Andy explained, adding, “I remember being transfixed by Jo as she hooped in the sunshine to the music. She was a vision of elegant flow and beauty.”

“I was there to teach hoop workshops in the kids area,” Jo told us, “and I ended up camping with some of my lovely hoop student friends. Andy was camped with them too and so we got talking. He was intrigued by my hooping, so I taught him his first hooping trick – The Escalator, and he picked it up instantly.” Love began to escalate for them almost immediately as well. “We ended up spending the whole sunny afternoon wrapped up in conversation with each other. Sparks were flying,” Jo explained. Andy laughed, “Yep, we spent the rest of the day hanging out, flirting and being mischievous.”

Hoop Love Ever since Jo taught Andy his first hooping moves, both she and hooping became passions in his life. And hooping has continued to be part of their relationship ever since. Jo said, “When Andy started really getting into hooping, for his own sake, not just to impress me, I was amazed at how naturally he took to it. He’s got a beautiful flow, an original style and natural rhythm that is totally him. I can’t quite believe how incredible a hooper he has become in such a short space of time! Bloody annoying, if you ask me!” And despite her laughing frustrations at how much faster hoopers are picking things up these days, Andy has helped keep her love of the hoop alive. She explained, “His creativity inspires me every single day. I think the way we both approach the hoop – with joy, playfulness, adventure and a free spirit – is the same way we approach our relationship.”

Their approach proved to be successful, so much so that Andy began thinking about marriage, and when it came to figuring out how to ask her to marry him, things began to spin into an incredible idea. Andy told us, “I was daydreaming out of the train window on my commute home and I could visualise this big choreographed hoop routine to the song I was listening to. It involved many of our close friends and family. The idea was to show off in magnificent fashion, like a bower bird enticing its mate, to say ‘look how much I love you Jo!'” It wasn’t long before he started making his vision come to life. Andy informed us, “I first told Jo’s best friend Mel about the idea and her delighted response gave me the courage to set the wheels in motion. I phoned everyone individually to tell them about the grand vision and soon we had set a date for a secret practice session. The fun and loving energy that was there in the first gathering was truly inspiring and within two hours we had choreographed the whole thing and agreed the date of the proposal flash mob. Everyone managed to keep tight lipped for the week and on the day, Jo arrived for a ‘picnic in the park’, completely unaware of the magic that was about to happen.”

Andy told us, “When Jo said ‘Yes’, my heart soared. And everyone’s been crying tears of joy ever since! Before I met Jo, I didn’t know what hooping was, and I didn’t know true love.” What was Jo thinking when she saw him and realized what was happening? She told us, “As I was walking into the pavilion gardens, I spied a few of my mates sitting down and went to go say hi. My best friend Mel grabbed my hand and told me to sit down on a purple blanket that was laid out. I was really confused and then the music started. I had absolutely no idea what was happening. Since it was the day after World Hoop Day I thought, have all my students come up with this flash mob to surprise me? Why are they all in my favourite colours – purple and gold, and why is Andy at the front?” It took about thirty seconds for her to realize what was actually going on. She said, “When I started to hear the lyrics of the song, the penny dropped. I started shaking like a leaf! When he came through the hoop archway, the first thing I said to him was ‘What are you doing?’ – I was totally in shock! But I’ve never been so sure in my life that this is the man who I want to be with forever.”

Hoop Love

What has hooping taught Jo about love? She explained, “It’s taught me to follow my joy, to surrender to the uncertainty of life and to love fully and completely, without fear or resistance. I’m so unbelievably happy and I continue to thank my lucky stars every day for this amazing life that hula hooping has helped me create!” Their good friend Sharna Rose, mother of the UK hoop scene, created the engagement ring with Andy. It’s made of 18 carat gold wire and set with two amethyst stones. And with the ring came the man of her dreams. Jo giggled, “I mean, gold leggings, purple high tops and a glitter chest? YES!”

Hoop Love On a beautiful sunny day, Jo arrived in the Brighton Pavilion Gardens for a picnic with her friends. And then something magical happened. The hoop love that has come into their lives isn’t just about the two of them though, it’s about a local community of hoopers in Brighton, hooping friends throughout the UK, and hoop pals around the world. “The support Andy gives me is just incredible. In the uncertain profession of hoop teaching and performing, Andy has always been my biggest fan, my most ardent supporter and a great sounding board for my ideas, hopes and fears. Plus it’s great to have a partner who is equally excited about a new move or an awesome video or taking an inspiring hoop workshop as I am! Hooping has connected us with a community of incredible friends that continue to nurture us as a couple and as individuals. Just look at what they did for us – Brighton hoopers, you are amazing!”

Congratulations Andy and Jo! Everyone at Hooping.org wishes you both the absolute very best!

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Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Why I Love Hooping Challenges

Why I Love Hooping Challenges by Clair Ching

With the kickoff of Hooping.org’s Fall Fun & Fitness 30/30 Challenge tomorrow, I found myself reflecting on why I love hooping challenges so much. The very first time I participated in one was our New Year 30/30 challenge at the start of the year. Not only are these challenges great for fun and fitness, but they have other benefits as well, including a few that I discovered you may not have really thought about.

When I’m participating in a challenge I like to use the opportunity of hooping daily to explore different moves and techniques that I might not have tried before. To help keep a challenge fresh I can focus on something entirely different on any given day, including moves I have probably had a bit of difficulty learning. Foot hooping is something that my friends and I took on during a hoop challenge, some of us for the very first time. In my case I finally made some progress in this area thanks to the tips others shared with me. Who knows? You may even stumble upon new transitions along the way! A 30/30 Challenge is not just a great way to stay in shape and spin some fun into your Fall, it can be an opportuntiy for learning and discovery, and it is such a great feeling to be able to turn those “I can’ts” into “I cans”.

Another benefit of participating in a 30/30 Challenge is the opportunity it provides for documentation. If you’re reporting what you do each day, why not keep track of your learning? I personally love documenting my hoop practice and, just as the other hoopers keep telling me, the only person I’m competing with is myself. We can always spin our way into a better version of ourselves and taking part in these challenges shows and reminds me I can overcome fears and other issues I face in my hooping practice. Posting about it each day helps me remember what I have achieved at that moment. It’s an encouragement for me to keep going – and hopefully a reminder that you’ve got it in you as well!

The one thing that I love the best about hooping challenges too is that they can really bring hoopers together. Ever since Rayna Mcinturf kicked off our first challenge here on Hooping.org several years ago, we’ve had a new opportunity to spin together, even if we’re actually alone in our hooping practice where we live. I may not know everyone in the groups personally, but sharing our experience makes me feel even more connected with the community. The love and support of this community makes me happy to be a hooper, so if you’re not feeling the love, take the challenge!

While I never thought I’d have this kind of connection with people, considering that I am such an introvert, a 30/30 Hooping Challenge really helped me spin my way into making friends all over the world. Words of encouragement, tips on how to move and prevent injury, hooping together – even if it’s just for the duration of the challenge, bonds do form and sometimes they even get stronger. So let us find the time to do something for ourselves this October. Let us allow our minds to become open to learning and our hearts open to receiving others in our practice. Join us during the month of October for our Fall Fun & Fitness Hooping Challenge. We’re going to be spinning our way into becoming better individuals, inside and outside the hoop.

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Clair Ching Columnist Clair Ching is from Manila and she is an active member of Hoopnation Philippines. She found hooping in 2012 as a great way to keep herself active and physically fit. She blogs about hooping, crafting and food on Being a Crafty Cat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for quick updates on her hooping life.