Tag Archive for Hooping Practice

6 Tips To Make Your Hooping Practice Count

6tipsforhooping by Katie Sunshine

Is there anything better than spending a sunny afternoon or quiet evening at home with just you and your hoop? One of the things I’ve always loved about hooping is that practice doesn’t feel like work. It’s energizing, enjoyable, and rewarding. But are you getting the most out of your hoop practice? Whether you’re a new hooper wanting to nail down some new tricks, or a seasoned performer practicing your routines, these six easy tips may be just what you need to take it to the next level.

1. Warm Up. There’s a lot more to it than you might think. A good warm up increases your heart rate slightly, gets you breathing more heavily, and increases your body temperature – hence the name. And get this – if your body is warm, then your muscles are warm. Warmer muscles have a lot more elasticity in them. They’re not only less subject to strains and pulls, warm muscles have more range of motion for reaching, pulling, and stretching your hooping body. You might just take that hooping move farther than you ever have before, literally. I also highly recommend stretching if you’re going to attempt some kind of acrobatic hoop moves. Stretching comes after a warm up, when you’re muscles have more flexibility. Some good warm ups can be non-hooping activities like walking or aerobic stepping, or they could be simple hooping movements like waist hooping to warm up the core, and passing the hoop in your hands around your body to warm up your chest and shoulders. Need more warm up ideas? Check out 9 Great Warm Up Exercises For Hoopers.

2. Wear Something That Exposes Your Skin. As you may already know, those skimpy little outfits you often see hoop performers wearing are not just to get attention. Many tricks are much easier to do on bare skin. The hoop sticks to bare skin in some cases, where it might slide or slip right off of regular clothing. So when you’re practicing, choose an outfit that exposes as much skin as possible. When I first started my hoop journey, I would always practice in a sports bra and gym shorts because I often found the secret to unlocking a new trick was trying it on bare skin. Even now, after five years of hooping, I still plan my performance outfits to expose the following areas: arms, shoulders, and legs. So whether you’re in public or practicing in the privacy of your own home, consider donning that tiny bathing suit and start practicing!

3. Listen To Music You Like. For me personally, listening to good music while I practice makes all the difference in the world. Practicing with music that inspires you to dance and move also helps you find your flow with the hoop. Good music encourages you to move rhythmically, and if you’ve got your hoop then your discovering ways to incoporate the hoop into that movement which is key to unlocking a fluid dance sequence. And if you’re listening to music you already know and love, you already know all the spots that the tempo changes, things speed up, the right spot for a dramatic hooping moment and more.

4. Record Yourself. Having the ability to watch yourself hoop is invaluable. Many times I’d be following along with a tutorial and I would think “I’m doing everything like they say, but it still doesn’t feel right. Am I doing it right?” At that point, out would come my camera. I’d use the back of my couch as an impromptu tripod, punch up the video function and record myself doing the trick. Often times, when I watched the video back, I would see that I was, in fact, doing the trick correctly and that gave me the confidence to keep going. Alternatively, I’d sometimes see that I wasn’t doing the trick correctly, and I could see what I needed to fix. I’d say to myself, “Oh, Ok, I need to get that hand out of the way to land this trick.” Recording yourself also has the added benefit of documenting your progress. Weeks or months or years down the road you will have a video diary of all your progress and accomplishments.

5. Get Inspired. Nothing motivates you to practice and try something new like that wonderfully yummy feeling of being inspired! For artists and hoopers alike, inspiration can be an idea that compels you to create, that motivates you to get up and do something, and makes you say “I MUST create something beautiful right this very MOMENT!” There are things you can do as a hooper to encourage this feeling too. Something I like to do before a hoop practice session is what I formally call “research.” Research roughly translates into binge-watching all the videos on hooping.org. It’s actually a great way to get inspired. You might see a trick, or transition, or combination of moves you really like and think “Oh, I really like that! I bet I could get that with just a little practice.” Watching videos may also inspire new ideas for videos of your own – and there you go! Congratulations, you are now inspired!

6. Practice With Friends. This tip goes hand-in-hand with number five. There’s nothing more inspiring than being around other hoopers. Just as a painter or sculptor can get inspired by watching or being around another artist, we do too. When you see someone do something you like, you can say “Wow! that was cool, can you teach me that?” Nine times out of ten they will! Conversely, you can do the same if someone says to you, “Wow, that was really cool, can you teach me that?” It’s not only a great confidence booster, but teaching others new moves gives you a better understanding of them. Where you live may make this a challenge, but set a goal to hoop with others once a week, once a month, or as often as you can.

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Katie Columnist Katie Wilson, better known in the hooping world as Katie Sunshine, is a teacher, a painter, a performer, and above all a proponent for the powerfully positive change hooping brings to one’s life. She picked up hooping in 2009 at a music festival and she hasn’t put it down since. A Hoopie Award winner with many YouTube viral videos, Katie lives in Conway, Arkansas, USA, with her wonderful husband and her two lovable dogs.

5 Tips to Help Spin Your New Year Revolutions

NewYearRevolutionby Heather Hughes

As we move into the new year, our thoughts inevitably turn toward progress and change. We ask ourselves: what will the new year bring? Who will we be as we begin another journey through the seasons? How will we grow? What will we accomplish? What are our goals? We welcome to opportunity to take stock and re-vision

At the same time we brace for the inevitable bombardment of “new year–new you” advertising. Because, let’s face it, transformation is big business.

With the pit falls of elaborate 8-week plans and February-neglected vows in mind, here are some thoughts on how to turn your New Year’s resolution into a New Year’s revolution. Because, let’s face it, hooping is all about staying in orbit. The following suggestions offer simple ways to focus your hoop-journey as you revolve into the new year.

1. Chose a mantra. In its most basic form, a mantra is a word or short phrase you repeat to yourself to connect with your purpose or vision. You might sing it to yourself while you are spinning, shout it out every time you drop your hoop, or hang it in cheerful letters in your practice space. To discover your mantra, brainstorm a list of words that you hope to embody in your hoop-journey this year. Flow. Patience. Confidence. Joy. Read through your list a few times, repeating each word out loud. Pick one that resonates.

If you want to up your game, you can create an “anchor” for your mantra. Imagine a time when you embodied your mantra. Picture it in vivid detail: where were you? What were you wearing? How did your body feel? How was the sunlight shining? Live that moment over again. Then speak your mantra. Next, make a small gesture, perhaps holding a hand over your heart or lifting your hand to the sky. The gesture should be something simple that you can do without feeling awkward, ideally something you could do while hooping. Your word, your gesture, and your memory become an “anchor” that can reconnect you to your mantra. With some repetition, that anchor will become natural and will allow you to tap into your mantra even during times of stress and struggle.

2. Re-vamp your practice space. Even if your hoop-space is that one corner with enough room to pass the hoop around your body, it’s nonetheless a sacred space. It’s the place you return to, to hone your craft, to reconnect with your hoop, and to play. As you move into the new year, take some time to clean and organize your space. Clear out the clutter. Rearrange the furnishings. Dust out the old and welcome in the new. If you have the resources, consider finding a small piece of art to decorate your space or building yourself a new rack for storing your hoops.

3. Keep a Hooping Journal. Circles of Joy offers a fantastic break-down of how and why to keep a hoop-journal. In its most basic form, a hoop-journal is a small notebook dedicated exclusively to recording your hooping journey. You can write your big goals in the first pages, list out goals for each month, and keep notes of the discoveries you make along the way. A journal will help keep you focused throughout the year and also help you preserve your epiphanies.

4. Clear out your hoop stack. Do you have hoops collecting dust in a corner? Is your favorite hoop battered beyond recognition? Take some time to give your hoops some love. If you have supplies on hand, you can re-tape a battered favorite. If you have hoops you never use, consider passing them off to a friend. Not only will you free up some space, but you might find yourself a new friend to hoop with! Alternatively, you can take time to experiment with hoops you don’t typically use. Give that big ol’ hoop a fresh spin and reconnect with your core. Rustle up two similarly sized hoops and give doubles a whirl.

5. Make hooping a priority. This is probably the most traditional “resolution” on the list. With that said, commitment to consistent practice is an important part of nurturing any skill. The trick to successfully establishing a practice is to take an honest look at your time. If you have a hectic, rotating schedule, the commitment of 30 minutes a day may not be logical. If it is, even if broken into smaller segments, be sure to join our 30/30 Hoopy New Year Challenge with others who are spinning up a daily practice for 2015. For others, you could commit to practicing 2 hours per week. For others, perhaps 10 minutes a day may be more ideal.

If you resolve to keep a practice schedule, remember that missing a day or even a week is not the end of your resolution. On the contrary, most folks experience set-backs and slip ups. The key is picking the hoop (and your commitment to practice) back up off the floor. Instead of doing penance – double the time to make up for yesterday – or starting over from day 1, congratulate yourself on sticking with it. Hooping is not a contest; hooping is a practice.

However you chose to spin in the New Year, may it bring you all moments of dancing freedom and whirling joy.

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Heather Hughes Contributor Heather Hughes is an analytic English major by day and a cosmic dancer by night…when her children go to bed on time. At home in rural Missouri she coordinates Sedalia Spin Gypsies, a local performance group that focuses on community events and promoting hoop dance as part of the healthy, empowered lifestyle. Between teaching, creek-stomping, and devouring science fiction novels, she blogs about the good life at Tangle and Spiral.

Getting Ourselves Animated

Getting Animated by special guest blogger Johnathan Livingston Baxter

Like so many others, the entrance of the hoop into my life has been a cataclysmic force that has, quite literally, broken me open. I wish I could say that once the first crack in my shell appeared, that I pried it open like a wild animal and bound for my karmic freedom. Hardly. In the world of Seekers, I would imagine that I would be classified as “Reluctant.” In other words, I often rehearse decisions rather than make them on issues concerning my freedom.

Therefore, I am forever grateful to fate for the slow, slide-like descent into myself that the hoop provided, without its ever asking me to commit to it. In fact, my hoop and I didn’t have any promises to each other. It never promised me beauty eternal or offered me divine intelligence and I never promised it my eternal devotion. It was just there with me in the room each day and I with it: two objects.

Early on, I believed my hoop practice was a study of an object and, in some ways, it was. But ‘which’ of those two objects I was studying would become less and less clear as my Practice deepened. In the hoop practice, you learn a lot about *how* you learn. I think of it like catching fish with your hands in crystal clear water – our misses are caught in the reflection of us – as are our successes. I enjoyed the learning of my Learning. I enjoyed what I was seeing in the reflection of that water. I was seeing successes in spite of earlier failures. I was seeing challenge instead of frustration. I was also seeing a growing belief in myself that, with enough tries, I could achieve almost anything with the hoop. It felt good to be in that reflective space for once. It felt right. It felt, you know, spiritual. In the absence of any kind of dogmatic pressure, I chose it happily. Everyday. I was never haunted or taunted by the hoop. I wanted to do it. It felt good to me. I was the Prince of Doldrums then, so the time in the Sun was good for me. I was completely in my ‘is’.

Then, I started teaching. I felt the need to be able to explain some of this. It was then that I started the long walk called, “Why”.

As a devout Esotericist (or something), I was open to all sorts of understandings about why it felt so good to hoop or why I loved hoping so much. I still do. I have collected many over the years. Yet, at this moment, in this coffee shop, I think that I can sum up what I loved and love so much about hooping: mutual animation. I animate the hoop. The hoop animates me. And we, the hoop and me, are mutually animated by Flow.

To ‘animate’ is, “to bring to life”. My life with the hoop has opened up the word “animate” to a more broad understanding of the concept than I had ever understood.

At that time in my life, when I was without the hoop, I was just as inanimate as the hoop was. Yet, with the hoop, I was in motion, baby. I was dipping. I was turning. I was ‘feeling’ expression, rather than emoting it. I was moving energy around. In a word: I was ‘animated.’ In the personal development sense, I was ‘brought to life’. A relationship was born and Animation and I became friends who hung out almost daily.

Depression, on the other hand, is a phenomenal inanimate-r. I know. I have roomed with it my whole life. (I don’t know the latin or sanskrit roots of the word, depression, but I think it is surely something like, “to feed on the blood of your own isolation”.) All you have to do is nothing and Depression is amazingly effortless to hang out with. But, Depression is like that friend you have that never wants to hang out with you when you’re with your other friends. It’s awkward when they eventually do and you realize how much attention they need/drain from you. When my old friend Depression and my new friend, Animation, did finally hangout together, I never saw Depression again the same way. Honestly, Depression looked kind of dumpy and unappealing to me standing next to Animation. Animation was so easy to get along with, while Depression always wanted to talk about itself.. incessantly.

That was hugely important for me. It was like I realized that Depression and I were not soul-mates and not destined to see each other exclusively for the rest of our days. The dates I went on with Animation everyday during my Practice were metaphorically raising my eyes from my feet. I was looking up, as it were, toward my more distant path and observing with a discoverer’s delight just how very big and very open the world in front of me really was. It was in the openness of that new space, that fresh perspective, that I even began to work on my relationship with Depression back at home. Instead of going drinking together, D and I would have coffee together and music shop. I don’t know if I ever would have understood the need for a rhythm change with Depression, had it not been for my time with Animation.

I don’t want to get too bogged down in continuing to personify emotional states or conditions, but let me lastly say, that Animation went on to introduce me to many of its friends and therein lies the real impact of hooping in my life. Before hooping, I believed that I had met all the emotions of the world and seen all the Beauty those emotions could offer me. It seems crazy to me, now, that I could have been so arrogant, but my world view was stuck on the inevitables (sickness, change, death) and disinterested in the intangibles (beauty, laughter, connection). I saw my life at that point as a type of jail sentence I was living out, rather than as a substance out of which positivity could be created. That shift from passive endurance to active assertion not only launched the HoopPath, it launched me.

I suppose the greater lesson in all of it that informs me almost daily is the question, “What animates you?” What art, or force, or song, or Spirit brings life to you? Will you allow it to move you? Will you allow it to introduce you to new things? Or will you just wait your time out in-between life’s inevitables?

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Baxter Baxter has hooping his way into the center of his circle for many years and is the founder of The Hoop Path. The first inductee into the Hooper Hall of Fame has received community honors include Hoopie Awards for Instructor of the Year and Male Hooper of the Year. He lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, USA.

30 Days of Hooping with Sari Mah

SariMah Sari Mah rocks out 30 days of hooping in a row as part of her hooping practice. She says, “I wanted to focus on my health for 30 days, and I thought it would be really interesting to focus on this transformation through a sped up, time lapse while maintaining a gluten free diet, and taking Chromium.” While we’re sure the benefits were most excellent, cause hooping is so good for us, whatever the result we totally love it – with appearances by some of our younger hoop friends. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and the soundtrack for this rockin’ video is “Crazy On You” by Heart and it’s available for you to get a copy of on iTunes.

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.

The Joy of Solitary Hoop Dance

The Joy of Solitary Hoop Dance by Renee Kogler

It’s true and now I can admit it; I am a solitary hoop dancer. What does that mean you may be asking? Well here is the long and short of it. I began hoop dancing several years ago and like many star-eyed hoop dance enthusiasts I was eager to get my hands on everything and everyone who knew or explored this glorious new world. Fortunately it was wide open and I jumped in with both feet; eager to bask in community, ritual and music. I was a willing and eager student. My approach to hoop dance, even in the beginning, was one of spiritual growth and expansion. I was excited to share this new tool with the people that I knew and more than overjoyed to attend weekly community hoop jams. I was a religious devotee preset at every local flow jam I could find.

For a while, a long while actually, all of it, every single part of it felt amazing. I loved the people, the music, the energy, the on-lookers, and most importantly the sense of community. However, as time passed I began diving deeper and deeper into my own hoop practice, finding that the greatest enjoyment and satisfaction I received was during the precious moments and hours spent hooping all on my own. The quiet and focused attention granted me the opportunity to really get to understand my dancing language; allowing it to be completely and deeply personal. This new found understanding also helped me to become a more effective instructor. Even though I had always appreciated movement and the power of dance; the practice of dancing alone seemed to open new doors of clarity and understanding. The joy of solitary hoop dance is an incredible gift. Here are just a few examples as to how:

1. Alone Time. Spending time with yourself in a creative space is an immeasurable present to yourself that bleeds into every area of your life. It’s restorative and is a step in the direction of truly loving yourself. Get to know you. Learn your own body language. Connect and explore your heart, mind, spirit and body. You’re pretty amazing and so completely worth spending time with all alone.

2. Not Performing, Just Exploring. When you commit to a solitary practice the only person that you are dancing for is yourself. Sure, I would like to think that I am the kind of person who can just be in my zen when I am dancing at a hoop jam, but seriously, if I am being honest, I know that there is a little performance energy in there. The perk of hooping all on your own is that you can genuinely check your ego at the door, open your heart and let the movement flow. Explore your own movements without any watchful stares. Figure things out and grow in the privacy of your own true safe space.

3. Design Time and Space For Your Own Growth. We ALL connect with music. That’s why we dance. However, we are not all connecting with the same kind of music. The perk of committing to your solitary hoop dance practice is that you decide. You get to choose all of your favorite songs and sounds that speak to you. You have the opportunity to create the perfect soundtrack to your own authentic rhythm. You get to choose the space that speaks to you and your spirit which might change from day to day. How cool is that?!

My solitary hoop dance practice has allowed me to connect with myself at a level I didn’t know was possible. The hoop continues to reveal lessons and teach new truths in my life. It has become a time of joy and wonder in my life that does not diminish the joys and wonders of community hoop jams. In fact, it enhances it. When you can come to something as powerful as dance with an honest real understanding of yourself; that energy bleeds into the energy of the people around you. Suddenly everyone is elevated because of it.

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Renee Kogler Columnist Renee Kogler is the founder and creator of Cleveland Hoop Dance and The Inner Fire Project. Both created with the belief that dance is a true healer and revealer. Her holistic hoop dance goal is to connect others with their own unique rhythm and unlock their own dynamic power. She’s from Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Transcend Your Hooping Plateau

Transcend Your Hooping Plateau by Bonnie MacDougall

Has your hooping gotten a little stale? I know that there have been countless times that I have reached a hooping plateau and felt like I’ve gotten stuck there. While I gaze longingly at the next glorious path up the proverbial hooping mountain, my feet feel like they are in quicksand, sinking deeper into a rut. My movements in the hoop feel repetitive, in a continuous pattern, and nothing I can do seems to be able to break the feeling of monotony. It’s as if my dance partner and I have become almost too familiar. Yes, there is flow, but it is not spontaneous and born out of love and passion, but rather dull and lifeless, streaming in from a far different place. If we’re not careful our hooping can level off into a dreary and uninspiring chasm of yuck. And whether you call it a plateau, a rut, or simply a stall in your progress, it can feel like you’re not having any fun at all. So what’s a hooper to do? Let me share these ten easy tips that have helped me move through those inevitable impasses and gain greater perspective and freedom in my movement.

1. Hoop! Don’t give up. One of the first things many of us are inclined to do when we’ve hit a plateau is to put the hoop down and walk away. Don’t do it! Pick your hoop up, embrace it, and have confidence that this is just temporary and you will move through it. Then follow some (or all) of these other tips.

2. Remember you are not alone.  In my 11 years of hooping I never met a hooper who did not at some point find themselves stuck in a hooping rut. You are not alone! You will get through this! Don’t be afraid to talk about it, and hear the experiences others have had. You may learn something, as well as wind up feeling supported.

3. Change your music. Often something as simple as changing your music to a slightly different, or perhaps dramatically different, genre can effect the way you dance with your hoop you wouldn’t imagine were possible. A change of tune can often produce the opening in your hooping portal you’ve been searching for.

4. Drill, drill and then drill some more.  Work on things you already do well and refine the movement. Spend part of you hoop practice drilling a specific technique over and over and over again, bringing your attention to each part of the process. What are my feet doing, my breath, my hands, shoulders, my head. Be very aware. There is no such thing as perfection, so you can always improve and develop new skills, but drilling is often the time when breakthroughs arrive.

5. Hoop in your non-dominant direction (second current). It is important to stay balanced on both sides of your body, but often hoopers forget to hoop in their second current. Spend a song, or entire hoop session working in your second current. Hoop on your waist, shoulders, legs, or anywhere on your core in second current and see what opens up. Likewise, with off body hooping, switch hands so that you are hooping with your non-dominant hand. This type of focus not only shifts perspective, it balances your body and range of skills.

6. Hoop blindfolded. When you are blindfolded there are no distractions from the outside world, allowing the hooper to go deeper into his/her own practice and work on the intricacies of their movements with the hoop. It can also take us into having a more meditative hoop practice. When one sense of the body is removed, other senses become heightened too, allowing us to connect with our hoop in new and exciting ways.

7. Hoop with other people. The energy that is created when people get together to hoop is bound to put a smile on your face again. Hooping with others creates an opportunity to also learn new skills and build community.

8. Teach someone else! Whether you are teaching someone else how to waist hoop or a more advanced skill, teaching others is a valuable way to realize how far you have come. Giving back to the community can help you break moves down in simple steps that may improve your own hooping too. Teaching others often will open up your own hooping to new movements and improve your current repertoire and skill set while reminding you that even if you’ve hit a plateau, you’ve certainly come a long way, baby!

9. Find a class.  If you live in an area with local classes, sign up for one! This is great way to learn new ways of moving within the hoop that can help you climb up that mountain. Not only will you learn new material, but you will have an instructor there to give you one-on-one help and feedback with your hooping. If classes aren’t possible, look at the 466 free online tutorials here on Hooping.org that can also teach you something and add to your library of moves.

10. Do something creative outside the hoop.  Write, bake, paint, draw, sing, play an instrument, dance without your hoop, and the list goes on! Opening your creative channels in other areas can foster a positive influence on your hooping when you step back into the circle. So whether you hoop then take a break to do another creative exercise, then hoop again, or set the hoop down for a day and create in a whole new way, just remember to keep creating, holding a space for your unique potential. Creativity breeds creativity.

Remember that reaching a plateau in your hoop journey is more or less a right of passage. There are reasons that we find ourselves in one. How else will we be able to look back and assess how far we’ve come? It is a time to take what you have learned on this fantastic road trip in the spin and then rejoice at the possibilities of what is to come. It is all in the perspective of how you chose to look at it. Stay positive, keep spinning, and know that you will have stronger hooping skills once this milestone is crossed. You’re likely to emerge on the other side with a new perspective, brightly shining in a way that only comes from hooping through the fear and overcoming the challenge. And when you look back at that plateau with your new found perspective, who knows – it might even end up looking more like a gift than a rut.

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Bonnie MacDougall Bonnie MacDougall of HavenHoopDance has been in the spin since 2002. She’s an Assistant Editor here at Hooping.org and she lives in Detroit, Michigan, USA, with her two boys. When she’s not dancing madly with her kids, she sells custom made hoops and teaches local and regional hoop dance classes and workshops.

Hooping Publicly and Privately

Public Private [Hooping.org columnist Casandra Tanenbaum examines her public and private hooping.]

by Casandra Tanenbaum

Hoopdance is an experience of movement for the partner of the hoop. Certainly the hoop is important, but focusing on the hoop leaves out a pretty large territory to play with – our bodies, our selves. My body, as both a visual and sensory being while hoopdancing, answers to the call of the music, the tones requiring it’s full attention, not just the part of me that is holding on to my hoop – or at least that is the case when “on display”. Hooping in public, whether in front of a crowd or just one person, puts a different SPIN on it. Super self-conscious of how I look to my audience, it is hard to let ANY body part get lazy, yet when I’m alone in the dubious privacy of the fitness studio, I am often aware of the fact that at any given moment most of my flesh is not in direct contact with the hoop. It is intriguing that so much of my personal hoopdance practice involves working on specific tricks and techniques related specifically to the hoop, rather than to me.

Sometimes when I’m practicing it’s as though I’m saying “Hey! Left shoulder, right lower leg: you are not particularly important right now, it is really all about the hoop, so… take a break!” The result looks like a banal accumulation of forced drills with a lot of trial and error, and a constant clattering of drops. In public I feel an obligation to be the consummate representative of the beauty, grace and strength of hoopdancing. I almost can’t help but undulate my hips purposefully as I spin the hoop above my head, twirling in dizzying patterns to impress the casual observer, so why do I not give myself a complete and total experience when I’m alone? Since noticing the vast chasm between these two approaches, in practice and in public, I have been purposefully reversing my roles to interesting results.

Ask Hoopalicious: What Helps You Stay Committed?

Ask Hoopalicious Dear Hoopalicious,

What’s the one most valuable feature, attitude, mindset, complimentary practice….that one thing that helps you stay committed to your hoop practice religiously or compliments your hooping bad assery abilities?

Thank U hoop mama of ALL hoop mamas ;o)
Suni Shine

Hi Suni!

Thank you for your great question. I struggled for YEARS to get myself to have what I considered to be a regular practice or to, as you say, “practice religiously”. Discipline has never been my strong suit! I am convinced that the reason I have hooped for so many years consistently is my innate love for movement and community. My best hooping moments and most powerful practice times have always been at a jam, a party or generally in social environments. This is likely because I got my hooping start in the music festival scene, so Hoop Dance has a very festive and social connotation for me. Knowing this about myself has been hugely beneficial because it means that I know the environments in which I shine the most! Then I just need to be sure I get myself out to hoop-able environments or invite people over to hoop often enough to be hooping at least a couple of times a week.

I do have a goal (resulting from being inspired by the Aerialist community) to hoop regularly in a dedicated practice that doesn’t need to be social. It is certainly a shift and there is TONS of resistance! How I am handling this is embarrassingly simple… as it turns out. Ha! I am committing to myself to hoop everyday for at least 30 minutes, and hopefully longer, everyday. When it comes time, and I am feeling all that resistance, I just… DO IT ANYWAY. What always happens next is I get in my hoop (after a good amount of stretching), and after a few minutes of complaining in my head I begin to enjoy myself and all is WONDERFUL! Resistance is nothing other than a thought form we take too seriously (not to be confused with real intuition, but you will know the difference). And through this simplicity I am finding my way (even if it is kicking and screaming) to a disciplined, regular hooping practice. YES!

As for the general bad-assery, I attribute my passion for dance and inherent sensual nature to my ability to rock the hoop. When I hit my groove I am feeling nothing other than my enjoyment of the music and the feel of the hoop on my body. After some time in the “hoop zone” new patterns of movement begin to arise spontaneously because of the space of flow. My mind is in the co-pilot seat instead of the lead.

SO, long answer to a short question, but the short of it is know yourself. Where are your favorite places to hoop and how can you bring more of that into your life? What are your goals for hoop dance? What is your relationship to discipline and the resistance to it? When you hoop are you allowing your passions to rise and REALLY enjoy it or has it become a “task”? I hope this rabbit hole of inquiry will help you create a powerful practice that is just right for YOU.

In hoopiness~
Hoopalicious

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Hoopalicious Need some advice from Hoopalicious? Anah “Hoopalicious” Reichenbach has traveled the world teaching and performing and is highly regarded as the founder of the modern hoop dance movement. In fact, her Hoop Revolution™ curriculum is the foundation for most well-known hoop dance curriculums out there today so if you’ve got a question just ask at hoopalicious@hooping.org. Anah appears in The Hooping Life documentary and was our first inductee into the Hooper Hall of Fame. She lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Nurturing a Hooping Habit

Habitual [Hooping.org columnist Abby Schwartz breaks down ways for the rest of us to nurture a hooping practice too.]

When Hooping.org announced our Fall Integration Challenge back in October I thought, “Cool, a new 30/30 Challenge!” After all, I had come close to completing the earlier ones, but for one reason or another I did not make it to the finish line. This time I was going to be on board. I had a clean slate and would kick butt. Cut to three days into the challenge and I found myself at the end of the day having failed to hoop for 30 minutes, and instead of just picking up and continuing on the next day in the spirit of getting right back on that horse, I gave up. There is something about obligation that can transform a loved activity into a chore, at least in my experience, and it hasn’t just been about hooping either.

I love to read. I devour books. Yet several times I have tried to join book discussion groups and almost immediately found myself rebelling against having to read an assigned book, even one I would have chosen for myself. With hooping, I’ve noticed that once I got past the honeymoon phase, which lasted a surprisingly long time, “real life” started to tug on me again. While my enthusiasm is still there, my level of commitment to daily hooping has begun to ebb and flow. While I used to hoop every day without even giving it a thought, now my hooping session varies depending on my workload, my family’s needs and how I am budgeting my time.

And yet, hooping is one of the few activities that consistently keeps me grounded. I know from experience that 30 minutes a day, even broken up, of physical activity keeps me from getting too overwhelmed with stress. And that’s on a good day, when stress is coming from positive sources. Hooping adds another dimension to exercise as well. There’s that calming, meditative effect that happens almost immediately when I pick up a hoop. It is rhythmic and soothing and primal, and when I skip it, I notice. It shows up as knotted muscles and cranky moods. My family apparently notices it, too. There are days my husband will ask, “Did you hoop today? You should go hoop for a while.” I know that I want to get back in the hoop habit, but how can I accomplish this without falling into that mental trap of obligation? I decided to explore a little more about habits and how to nurture one.