Tag Archive for Hooposophy

Hula Hoops: The Next Big Wedding Trend


Crystal Darling-Ketcham

by Lara Eastburn

In recent years, the modern hula hoop has spread from its now decade-old origins at music festivals to local parks, gyms and dance studios, and even the covers of magazines. What’s the next unlikely place you’ll spot some grown up hooping? Well, it may just be at the next wedding you attend. In January, The Gathering Guide suggested soon-to-be-wed couples add hula hoops to their bridal mix as a sure-fire way to get everyone grooving on the dance floor. The article, “Hula Hooping: A Wedding Sport?” even includes hoop-making instructions and encourages hiring a hooping performer for the big event. Dare we say that hooping is carving out a place as the newest bridal trend? If it is, we expect that the spark for that trend began with passionate hoopers who didn’t think twice about including their favorite circle in one of the most important days of their lives. I reached out to some recent hooping brides to find out what the hoop brought to their big day.

611cashwedWhen Kimberly Adams Cash filled her wedding day with hoops in August 2009, the stunning photos by Lanier Star Photography caught the eye of alternative wedding blog Rock N Roll Bride. For Kim, it was a no-brainer to add hoops to the mix. “Hooping has been a special part of my life for a long time, so it was only natural for us to include that kind of fun at our wedding!” And she knew that hoops would go a long way toward alleviating the typical formalities and expectations that come with such a big family event. “We were hoping to create a more laid back, cozy vibe. Our vision for the day was that our family and friends would feel at home and enjoy relaxing and celebrating with us. Our reception included making smores around a bonfire on the beach and, of course, hula hoops! Almost everyone took a moment to pick one up. Hooping brings out the happy loving little kid in all of us and that was exactly the energy that we wanted to surround ourselves with on the happiest day of our lives.”


Natalie Sinisgalli Photography

The following year, Jackie Lew, who runs a hooping business in New York, was all set for her outdoor hooping wedding. “Because hooping is such an integral part of my life I couldn’t imagine my wedding without it,” she says. But with 2010’s Hurricane Earl barreling up the coast of New England, the reception moved to safer quarters indoors where the wedding party and guests alike hooped it up all night long. “Even though we were cramped on space – most of the time I was hooping on a pool table! – about a third of all the guests and staff tried it out. My friends, siblings, nieces and nephew, wait staff and even the photographers spent a good amount of time spinning it up.”

Crystal Darling-Ketcham

In the spring of April 2012, Crystal Darling-Ketcham, owner of Darling Hoops in California, was busy crafting hoops along with all the other preparations for her wedding. “I made hoops for my bridesmaids, our flower girls and the guests to play with!” It couldn’t have gone over better at the reception. “Not only were the kids hooping, but most of the adults picked one up, too, and hooped like they were 6 years old again!. Hoops make people of all ages smile and be a kid again. And that’s exactly what I wanted to be for my wedding day.”

Katie Herr

Katie Herr

Earlier this month, Missy Almanzar-Trautman‘s friend Zhina Kachina captured this photo at her wedding hoop performance. There wasn’t a reception, so Missy took the opportunity to demonstrate her happiness through hoop dance. “I hooped at my wedding to show friends how happy and full of bliss I was through movement with my hoop.”

That sentiment was shared by Katie Herr, who also wed this month. Yenra Photography caught some particularly special moments. “Nothing describes me better than my hula hoop. I wanted to add it to my wedding because it’s a very special part of who I am today. It is a very different aspect of myself that family and friends never get to witness up close! It was a lot of fun. I got to share a dance with my ‘hoop brother,’ and I’ll never forget it.”

silverbrideSo when May’s celebrity wedding between Dick Van Dyke and Arlene Silver included hula hoops, you bet former Hooping.org editor Ariel Stalling’s Offbeat Bride took notice. Rawtography recorded the couple’s nautical circus theme and captured some if its truly magical hooping moments. Arlene told me that she chose to incorporate hula hoops at her wedding because she wanted to have as many interactive elements as possible. But the new bride is also a self-described “amateur” hooper herself. She explains, “I had a couple of hoops on hand, so including them was also a reflection of my personality. I couldn’t believe what a hit they were! Everyone was trying it. Young, old, men, women, gay, straight, it didn’t matter.” One of her favorite memories from her wedding? “Watching my Mom hoop to ‘Walking on Sunshine’ in it’s entirety!”


Looking for a hoop-friendly wedding planner? You’ll find one in The Hula Hooping Bride, based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Joye Eggleston knows what the hoop means to you and will help you make it an interactive part of your big day. As for our readers who are already hitched, did you hoop at your wedding? You know we’d love to see the photos! And keep a look out at the weddings you’ll be attending this Summer. We expect you’ll be seeing some hula hoops and you heard it here first. Hula hoops are the next big wedding trend. Just ask the DJ.


larasquareLara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.

How the Hoop Came to Poland

How the Hoop Came to Poland by Lara Eastburn

Kicking butt in the democracy and freedom department since the early 1990s, post-communist Poland became a full member of the European Union in 2004 and is now one of its strongest leaders in human rights. With a mere 23 years of democracy under its belt, and freedoms mounting at break-neck speed, Poland has produced a new generation quite unlike its predecessors. So it’s no surprise that with the rise of hooping throughout Europe, we’re seeing the modern hoop’s first appearances in Poland as well. One of these new hoopers is Gosia Klamann, who hosts the Polish-language hooping website Hulajdusza.eu. She contacted me recently with excitement about the growing hooping community there, and turned me on to this gorgeous video she’s just made with her Tri-City (Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot) friends and Babz Robinson – filmed in Gdansk by Grupa Obiektywni and featuring Babz, Gosia, Marta Szotyńska and Justa Wicenty. I interviewed Gosia to learn more about how the hoop came to Poland and where it’s taking them next.

(Hula Hoop in 3City – Soundtrack: “The Dynamo of Volition” by fellow hooper Jason Mraz, available on iTunes.)

small The hula hoop craze of the 1950’s didn’t hit Poland until the 1980’s, Gosia told me, but she didn’t have one as a child. It was her friend Justa Wicenty who had loved hooping as a kid and first started researching adult hula hoops. It was during the Summer of 2010 that they tracked some down and spent every spare moment they could spinning on the “huge concrete wasteland” of the abandoned Gdansk airport that was once the center of their area around their flats. As their interest in hooping grew, they looked desperately for more information. “We started searching for local workshops or classes around  and for better hoops. But found nothing.” After discovering Hooping.org and YouTube videos, Gosia and Justa quickly realized they were among the first modern hoopers in Poland and that to grow their community, they were going to need a Polish-language hooping resource. The seed was planted, but little did our Polish hooping heroines know that two very important visitors to Poland were going to change everything for them.

The annual FROG festival, hosted in Gdynia, features jugglers and fire artists. And in 2012, the performance roster featured North Carolina-based hooper and performer Vivian Spiral. The two attended Spiral’s hooping workshops and met a handful of other budding Polish hoopers. The feeling of community inspired Gosia to get to work on Hulajdusza.eu, a hooping site and blog in her native language. “I wanted to tell my people about my own experience with hooping, share some tips with beginners, and bring together information about workshops or other events I could find. I wanted hoopers to find each other. I made the connection with hoopers from Warsaw, Poznan and Krakow! It worked!”

Gosia’s excitement hasn’t waned, though she admits that building the hooping community in Poland is a slow process. So when Canadian hooper, performer, and Hooping Idol Judge Babz Robinson made her way to Poland this year, the community got a much-needed boost. “I was lucky to meet her and we used the opportunity to hoop with Babz and learn from her. Her visit motivated us to come together and make this beautiful video highlighting Polish hoopers.”

(Ola from Poland’s latest)

Gosia may not be the only one in Poland that’s spinning things up. Over the past two years the rather mysterious “Ola from Poland” has been making videos and tutorials. She lives in Szamotuly, full name unknown. Joda from Poznan has also been in the spin, and earlier this year RurzOWA and Waglewski spun up the message of hooping on Polish Television. Monika is spinning things up with Hulala in Krakow, and Ilona is making things happen in Parczew, while Zosia is making it happen with Hoop Dance Warsaw.

Nevertheless, as the hooping world grows smaller in some ways and larger in others, I find myself deeply inspired by Gosia’s story. It is a reminder that the hoop is far from taking over the world and that there is still much to do. Every day, the hoop is discovered by someone for whom it is completely and utterly NEW. Resources like Hooping.org and Gosia’s native-language website do much to welcome each and every new hooper to the community, get them started, connect them with other hoopers and keep them motivated. And traveling performers like Babz and Spiral do an enormous service to our community by visiting locations that are just being introduced to hooping.


Lara Eastburn Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.

Tiffani Michele: Hoop Explorer

Tiffani Michele: Hoop Explorerby Lara Eastburn

Would you give up your lease and board a plane to Buenos Aires with a one-way-ticket, three children, an ex-husband, a handful of hula hoops, and not much of a plan? Hooping.org columnist and freelance blogger Tiffani Michele did. I sat down with her this week to get the story behind her bold 11-week family hooping adventure through South America, so grab a beverage and settle in for an exciting tale about embracing life’s inevitable changes, extraordinary family bonding, and hooping in another language across a continent that is not yet your own.

If you’re like me you want to know first what would prompt such an excursion. You won’t find that Tiffani lacks a sense of adventure by any means. But as with all great stories, there was more to it than that. She is primarily a devoted stay-at-home mom who unschools her three children – daughters Brooke, 16, and Dakota, 8, and son Carter, 13. Tiffani and her daughters share a deep connection in the hoop and after nine years of unschooling, they’d all carved out together a lifestyle that allowed for a great deal of freedom together.  With Brooke coming of age and Carter wanting to go back to school, though, Tiffani sensed big changes for her family on the horizon. Her answer? One last big adventure while her children were all still kids. Inviting her ex along for the fun meant her children would would get to share an unforgettable experience with their father, too.


Lots of birds, one big, epic stone. This is about the point in the story when I expected to learn that Tiffani was able to pull this off because she was independently wealthy or had some mad savings stored up. Nope, not at all. She just gave up her lease (and its California-priced rent and utilities) for three months prior to leaving. She lived with family and eliminated all expenses but the phones, which she enabled with international access. Good thing, because she was going to need them. Once the family landed in South America, they stayed in hostels and made their own meals, traveling through four countries in eleven weeks. Yep, with their hoops strapped to their day packs the whole way.

Backpacking with Hoops I was super curious about the local reaction to their hooping. I’d figured that, like in most places, people had seen a hula hoop, but not the kind of moving dance I knew Tiffani and eldest daughter Brooke to be capable of. But when Tiffani explained how common street performing is in South America, I realized she had more of a built-in audience than I’d suspected. Since people literally perform during traffic stop lights for money, she told me, this hooping family was immediately welcomed and accepted within the busking culture wherever they went. They never put out a hat for tips, but they got them anyway. In retrospect, Tiffani said, they should have taken better advantage of that! Without even trying, she estimates they earned about $2 a day, or enough for their favorite breakfast of coffee and pastries. Wherever the family went, people wanted to try the hoop. It made it easier for them to meet people and make friends along the way. So I was sure Tiffani was going to have at least one story to tell about losing, misplacing or hunting down one of hoops. But she chuckled, reminding me that she always had her eye on the three most important things in her travels- her passport, her kids, and her hoops.

When I asked about her favorite moments from the near 3-month trip, she didn’t blink before answering. Trekking around Argentina’s Patagonia mountains was near the top of the list. Especially the day they all accomplished a 22 mile round-trip hike. They divided up the food and water, each carrying what they could, stopping to picnic and enjoy one another along the way. When I asked how hoops fit into an all day-long hike through the mountains, she told me they’d hoop “on breaks. There was always energy for hooping,” she assured me. Here she was, proud momma, surrounded by the best of what nature had to offer and her family. It’s an experience that’s hard to top.

But they did top it on Dakota’s 9th birthday, atop Machu Picchu! Tiffani had been there before and it was a place she badly wanted to share with her kids. It’s the one tourist destinations they visited, preferring to mainly stay off the beaten track. But, as Tiffani explained, there’s a reason that every tourist makes their way to Machu Picchu. They hiked all over the terraced sides of the mountain, even sneaking in their hoops to get some stunning photographs. Tiffani was holding Dakota’s hand, looking down on the beauty below, when her daughter told her she’d want to be nowhere else for her birthday. Naturally, Tiffani’s got her work cut out for her to make Dakota’s 10th birthday as special.


As Tiffani was traveling with her family, she told me, she was also navigating the shift from parenting small children to parenting teenagers. “They’re so independent. I was missing the one-on-one time from when they needed me for everything. I was struggling with my role and purpose in their lives.” Against the backdrop of another culture, the family moved through these changes together. Thirteen year-old son Carter giggled slyly every time a server brought him a beer or wine glass. And young Dakota, who has strong personal boundaries, learned to accept and melt into the exuberant embraces of what Tiffani called the “huggingest culture.” And when the kids and their dad Todd went to the beach during the last two weeks while Tiffani headed to the jungle, mom felt how inescapable life’s changes can truly be. Even in the middle of nowhere, she sighed as she received texts from her eldest daughter Brooke, smiling in photos with handsome young men that had taken to calling her “Rainbow Panquque” because her hair and clothing were colorful and “pancake” was her favorite word in Spanish. After long days of hiking, picnicking and hooping, Tiffani would grab a glass of Argentina’s best wines with her ex-husband and reflect upon what wonderful lives they’d made for their children.

Peru Every time I gasped at the “amazing” nature of her adventure, Tiffani impressed upon me that this was a “true story!” It was her story, a story that stretches what one believes is possible. On the road she met nothing but people who were doing “impossible” things. People who had hiked from Alaska to the tip of South America. Another who was unicycling around the continent. A Frenchwoman who had hitch-hiked by boat across the ocean. It was something that required a radical change in one’s mindset. While she marveled at their accomplishments, they marveled at hers. No, they protested, traveling with your kids and your ex-husband is “impossible!” This was an entirely new way to push her limits – in a hoop, with her family, and for all the previously “impossible” things she could now imagine for her future.

For those itching for their own adventure, she gave me a list of websites that help families trade lives for a short time: LoveHomeSwap.com, HomeExchange.com, TheVacationExchange.com and Wwoofinginternational.org. But for now, Tiffani and her children are back home in California, not waiting for the signs of what’s next, but actively paving out their own way where “change” now signifies “possibility”. Wherever they go next, you can be sure there will be smiles on their faces and yes, there will be hoops strapped to their backpacks.


Lara Eastburn Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.

How to Protect and Respect Hooping Images and Video

Hooper Scraping by Lara Eastburn

Every day, hundreds of hooping videos are uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo. Along with hundreds more images of handcrafted hoops and stunning hoop action. It’s how we learn from one another and share what we’re doing with the growing hooping community worldwide. For most hoopers, our biggest worry about posting a video online is whether anyone will see it, like it, or notice it at all. Turns out, we’ve got more than that to worry about. Hooping videos and photographs that unexpectedly go viral owe their popularity to social media sharing. That’s the upside. The downside is that content “scraping” is becoming a real concern for more and more hoopers. What’s “scraping”, you ask? I’ll tell you what it is, why you should care, and the super simple steps you can take right now to protect everything you create from video villains and other content criminals.

So What’s Content Scraping?: Well, it’s straight-up stealing. Consider your video or other content “scraped” when it is downloaded and re-posted without due credit on another website, social page or media channel to create exposure, hits, and/or money for someone else. Along the way, your credit for having made the content is diluted – or lost entirely. Here are some examples.

Ali Fitzgerald Say you post a photo of the incredible one-of-a-kind hoop you just made. And then someone posts the image with no credit to their Etsy store. What? You’ve just been scraped. It happened to Ali Fitzgerald over at HoopMamas. In just one of the instances she’s dealt with, over 100 of her custom hoop images were copied to another Etsy store. When Ali asked the store owner to take them down, the culprit called her “selfish” and “unwilling to share with the hooping community.” Because Ali got zero assistance from Etsy either, the situation got pretty hairy for a while. It’s one of the most difficult things she’s ever had to deal with. But now Ali and HoopMamas fans are hyper vigilant. She says they spot stolen images at least once a month and calls it a “HUGE” problem for custom hoop-makers.

You know that original hoop art you created and shared on Facebook? Imagine your surprise when you find it being sold as a car decal by a major online sports company. Whoa. Scraped. Yep, it happened to one unsuspecting hooper who still feels so violated, she found it difficult to talk about with me. Remember HoopPretty.com? A sister design team that made some of the first creative hoop tee designs, and have since moved on to other projects, found their images being used as avatars for local hoop meetups and online groups. Which would have been great – if the image had linked to their store.

Katie Sunshine Say your uncredited practice hooping video just showed up on a popular video curating site and has 400,000 hits. Who IS that awesome hooper? Who knows! ‘Cause that sweet stuff just got scraped. Viral video phenoms and hoopers like Katie Sunshine know all about it. Because it happened to them and happens daily. Here’s just one of her countless scraped videos. It’s now branded with a website name, but it ain’t Katie’s. No sirree. You may recognize her because that video and others went viral practically overnight. But unless you read hooping.org’s interview with her, you may just know her as “Hot Chick Hula Hooping in Leg Warmers.” Nice, huh? Her videos now bring hundreds of thousands of viewers to monetized sites every day, with very little benefit to her or the hooping community.

Why You Should Care.  You already know stealing is just, y’know, wrong. So, the real concern for us hoopers is less obvious and two-fold. One, as an emerging and incredibly generous community, we’re setting ourselves up for this kind of piracy when we don’t take precautions against it. A few years ago, nobody was watching us but us. That has changed and we’re going to need to change with it. And second, many hoopers unwittingly spread stolen content because they don’t know what to look for. But keep reading, because we’re gonna fix both of these problems on the quick.

Before we move on, though, let’s clarify something that’s important to many hoopers among us. Because trust, inclusiveness, and “just sharing the joy of hooping” is such a central tenet of our community, I want to be clear that this article is not about protecting profit or names or brands, though I do think that’s important, too. At heart, it’s about giving due credit for innovation, creativity, time, contribution, and the expression of our souls and bodies. Our dance and content is authored and deserves all the deference we would give to a poem.

And it’s the law! You don’t have to apply for a copyright. In the United States, your work is automatically covered by federal copyright law when you publish it anywhere, even online. Here’s the official Digital Copyright Millineum Act (DCMA) definition: “Whenever someone creates something that is original and expressive and fixes that expression in a way that lets you read, see, hear, or perceive it, federal law gives the creator a copyright in that work.”

Now that we’re all on the same page, here’s what we can do as a community to protect our content and that of our fellow hoopers.

Protecting Images. Oh, hoopers. There is magical, FREE, Google-made software called Picasa. Not only can use it to make your images clearer, make collages and make borders, you can use it to watermark and tag your photos. It’s easy-peasy and doesn’t require photoshopping skills.

Picasa Tags

Use the “Add Text” tool in Picasa to put your name, URL, FB page, or media channel on the image itself. In this image, I’ve quoted one of Superhooper’s key phrases and watermarked it. Can people just download it and crop that out? Yeah, they can. You can play with the transparency and put it over the whole photo, but that’s kinda lame. So as a backup, TAG your photos by using the Tag tool to put in crucial key words. In this image of Hooping.org contributor Tiffani Michele, I’ve added her name and her blog site, as well as other keywords that will tell google image browsers that we created this photo. How cool is that?

Protecting Videos. So how do scrapers swipe your videos anyway? There’s tons of software out there that make it easy. Content scraping is against the user terms of almost any site, but the enforceability of those terms is unclear and unreliable. However, YouTube in particular has just integrated enhancements that can help you put a stop to that. It’s called InVideo Programming. This user-friendly feature allows you to “brand” all the videos uploaded to your channel with your YouTube avatar or any other custom 800×800 image. You choose the positioning of the photo (a small square) and when and how long you’d like the image to appear in the video. It took me all of 2 minutes to add Superhooper.org’s avatar to every single one of our videos. Bam!

YouTube InVideo Programming

While you’re at it, go ahead and verify your YouTube account – it literally takes seconds. Hoopers who prefer Vimeo will find several privacy options – including creative commons licensing and password protection – but each will cut down on the video’s ability to show up in search engines and be shared. So if you’re looking to share videos with a small community only, Vimeo is the way to go.

Care Before You Share. When you stumble upon a great hooping image or video that you want the world to see, pause a second before you click “Share.” Can you identify who made it? If you can’t figure it out, don’t help it along. You could just be helping someone else make money off the work of a fellow hooper. Leave a comment asking that the content be properly credited. Or flag it as stolen! There’s an option for that on YouTube. It just took me a few minutes to flag ten of Katie’s stolen videos on YouTube, alerting them that the user was a scraper.

And hey, why not go a step further and try to find the original source? That’s what our Visual Content Editors here at hooping.org do dozens of times a day. When we post a photo we always have permission from the photographer, give hooper credit and link to their social media sites. When a video goes up you not only know who is in it, you typically know who helped make it and even what song is playing. That way the hooping world knows who created that incredible piece of art and how to find out more about them. So now you know you can always trust content that comes from here. Go ahead and share that sweet stuff!

A Conscious Circle. The bottom line is that content stealing is hurting the hooping community in ways that will become a bigger problem as hooping grows in popularity. But it only takes our awareness to cut down on its impact. There is simply no more effective way to respect what each of us creates and contributes to the community. We celebrate and lift one another up when we credit our work and the work of of other hoopers in a way that benefits them when it takes off. As Hoopmama’s Ali puts it, “Do your thing with conviction. Harness your OWN unique, individual style. Do it without tempting shortcuts. And do it with pride!”  Amen, hoop sistah.

It’s a big world wide web, out there, folks. We can’t put an end to scraping, of course. But as with all things, each of us can do our part to help. And I know we will.


Lara Eastburn Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.

Learning the Lift

Learning the Liftby Lara Eastburn

That hoop is rocking all around your body. You’ve got this. You’re HOOPING. And now you feel an itch. An aching can’t-stop-it-itch to expand the reach of your hoop dance. First step? Getting that hoop in the air and spinning above your head. For many hoopers, moving the hoop from the body overhead to the hand is the first movement we learn after waist hooping. The Lift is a portal, a sort-of rite-of-passage into a brand new universe of what you can do with a hoop. Are you new to hooping and dying to learn how to do this? Or are you a teacher yearning for a new way to bring this initial move to your hoopers? Maybe you learned to lift one particular way and don’t know there are other ways to do it? Well, let’s dig in and lift our hoops and our spirits! Here’s to the art of moving the hoop from the waist to the hand.

Overhead Preparation. Lifting is one thing. Knowing what to do when your hoop is in your hand is another. So I like learning this backwards. Get a feel for what it’s like to have your hoop in your hand and over your head before it gets there. MAKE AN L with your dominant hooping hand. If you hoop to the left, this will be your right hand. If you hoop to the right, it will be your left hand. You make an “L” so that the hoop doesn’t slide down your arm. Your thumb keeps it safely in your hand.

Now take it down a notch. Your hand is smaller than your waist. That means you don’t have to exert as much energy to get it to go around. Relax your hand. It’s okay. Keep an “L” as you slowly turn the hoop over your head. Try lightly gripping the hoop every time it comes around, but you don’t have to man-handle it. You’ve got Centripetal force on your side. Does it wobble? Do you feel like it’s going to fall?  That’s cool. Let it wobble. Let it fall. Your arm and hand and fingers are learning. Be patient with them.

Ready to Lift? Once you feel confident overhead, you’re ready to give that lift a go. It can be a little intimidating, for sure. Are you gonna bop yourself in the nose a couple times? Yes, that’s probably going to happen. It’s gonna hurt a little. Are you likely to catapult your hoop 10 feet in any given direction while you learn? Oh, yeah. Make sure you’ve got lots of room to work with. Give yourself a mighty pep talk and go for it.

1) The “Classic” Lift. Get a good waist hoop rhythm going and hold your “L” fingers pointed down slightly to the side of the middle of your back closest to your lifting hand. Feel the hoop go over your hand each time it comes around. When you’re ready, use that hand to lift your hoop overhead. Stay loose – if you grip the hoop too tightly, it will stop moving and you’re more likely to bonk yourself. Repeat.

2) The Scoop. You can also lift the hoop overhead by using a scooping motion in front of your body. Make a “C” with your lifting hand and “scoop” up. Try either hand – one will feel more comfortable than the other. Some hoopers find the scoop easier at first. Success is the goal – but even if you dig the scoop best, I recommend learning both lifting methods for versatility later.

Now I know how much visuals can help here. So I offer you Jon Coyne of Hoop Smiles with this very clear tutorial.

Here’s what actually worked for me. Many can expect to pull off one of the lifts after 10-20 tries. Yeah, it took me a lot longer than that. I’m the type to focus on the instructions and try to make it perfect. In the end, though, my first successful lift came more intuitively. I stopped thinking about it. And here’s how. I was practicing at a gathering of friends in a big wide field. I was moaning and groaning as the hoop flew and I chased it, over and over again. Was I ever going to get this? Aaaaaargh!!! Then a guy walked by, stopped and looked at me for a minute. Then he said, “Just lift it.” In my head, I thought, “Yeah, just lift it.” And bam! It happened. It took many more times to do it again, but I knew it was possible. And found that every time I said to myself, “Just lift it” and didn’t think about HOW to do it, my body did it for me.

Practice makes permanent, so just keep at it. Each time, you’re teaching your muscles what to do, and they will remember! They’re so clever. With each lift, you’ll grow more confident. This is the mechanics. After you’ve got it, you get to spend lots of time “making it pretty.” Which you should enjoy tons. Happy Lifting, my hooping friends!


Lara Eastburn Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.

Hoopy Mothers Day

Two of a Kind by Lara Eastburn

On Mother’s Day weekend I always find myself marveling at the capacity of the human body to create movement and existence itself. What parallels lay between mothering and hooping! Just as our mothers’ bodies created life, our dancing bodies create art. From within our very cores, we offer a piece of ourselves to the world that will take on a life of its very own. It is an age-old question, after all. Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? When we hoop with our children, and when they hoop with us, it is unquestionably both. In this Mother’s Day Hooposophy, I interview a couple of mother-daughter hooping teams and mothers who hoop with young children as well. Go ahead and grab your tissues now. And since I know you’ll be inspired to hoop with your kids, your mother, or both, you’ll want to read to the end where I share my top mom-themed songs to add to your playlist this Sunday.

Maria Randolph is the founder of HoopME, TourME and HoopFest New England. She hoops in Portland, Maine, USA, with her adolescent daughter Devi, or Mrs. D.

Devi Maria: My daughter and I discovered hooping together on the same day, which is such an honor. It was amazing to be able to share this passion with her, but also a lesson in allowing her journey to develop very differently than mine. My daughter was just entering adolescence when we started hooping, and I was used to guiding and leading a child. Suddenly, I was not guiding a child, but someone who had her own style and her own dance that looked different than mine. This became a metaphor for how our relationship was starting to change. My daughter was not an extension of me, I was no longer guiding a child, but allowing for the journey of an amazing young woman. When I watch her dance, I am amazed at this original and beautiful creature.

Devi: I’d say I’m mostly grateful to have the chance to see my mom go through her own journey. It’s easy to get wrapped up in my own head as a teen, and that can disconnect me from her world. Having the hoop around shows me her journey and gives me the opportunity to join her! Also ‘cause it’s not just hers. It can be mine, too.

Two months ago, Tiffani Michele bought one-way tickets to South America for herself and her two adolescent children. They’ve been traveling and hooping all over the continent. Read her blog at freeplaylife. Here, she and daughter Brooke share their thoughts on hooping.

Tiffani: I hoop with my kids everywhere we go. And lately, we’ve been going to a lot of places! Hooping together makes us laugh, joke around, share tricks and moves, encourage each other, and dance/sing/play. It’s a lighthearted way to make and keep our connections with each other strong. When people see us together, especially my teenage daughter and me, they can’t believe we’re mother and daughter. People generally expect that teenage daughters and their mothers don’t get along or want to spend time together.  Although it may be true that many moms and daughters don’t hang out, I don’t think that it’s because neither of them want to. In fact, once when a group of 17 year-olds discovered I was Brooke’s mom, they all uniformly agreed that they wished they had something that much fun to do with their moms. I’m glad I’ve found that one fun thing to share with my kids.

Tiffani and Brooke

Brooke: Hooping with my Mother has been one of the better experiences of my life. She has given me so many things in life, and it’s so interesting looking back. We’re not particularly religious, so it’s interesting that we both started hooping in such a spiritual manner. Hooping is so much more than a physical activity. It’s a mental journey. Sharing that with her is something that is beyond words. We are such different human beings, but we share this one, powerful thing.

One of the most priceless moments of my life was at Hoopcamp 2012. Deep in the forest, during a thunderstorm and black of night, we got the chance to fire hoop. Lightning striking around us, rain touching the shining faces around us… we were lost in this spinning fire. But I looked over and there she was. My mom, engulfed in this fire, like a goddess, powerful and beautiful, everything I strive to be. She gave me everything I have. So I decided the best way to thank her in that moment was to share it. Reaching through the flames, I extended my hand, and she took it. Looking into her glimmering eyes, seeing the excitement and terror, feeling it all myself, I understood that we are just two human beings on this big earth, but feeling like the only two at the same time. Hooping has brought us so much laughter and bonded us more than I ever thought possible.

Hooping.org Assistant Editor Bonnie MacDougall of Haven Hoop Dance lives and hoops with her two small boys in Detroit, Michigan, USA.


Bonnie: As the boys grow older and we hoop and dance together for longer periods of time, I have realized that they are my greatest teachers in the hoop to this point. This is my biggest realization that has come from hooping with my boys. Through their playfulness and willingness to try most anything with the hoop, they have taught me to open myself up more to new ideas with my body and mind. To let go and play more. To not conform to such rigidity. To not be so afraid of judgment. I still have a long way to go, but I am learning and open to them as my guides.

Janelle Smith Wilfong is owner/artist at JaneticsInk and hoops a whole lot with her three young children in Proctorsville, Vermont, USA.

Janelle: I’m hoping to raise little flow artists. I was a very shy child and I use to dance alone in my room or draw. I’m hoping with our family hoop love, the kids won’t have to wait until they are 30 to get out and let the flow within inspire and delight the world around them. My eldest is pretty shy, but when she hoops she’s amazingly open.

Anabelle and MonicaMonica Hand Eastburn lives, hoops, and works in Lindale, Texas, USA, with her adolescent son and daughter Annabelle.

Monica: When I asked Annabella about hooping with me, she said it made her happy to see ME happy. Then she free-styled about circles spinning around bountiful hips, haha! Something I love about hooping with her, is seeing how she doesn’t have the insecurities that I have. I see freedom in her movements, and how confident she is when she tries something new. Most of the time she is happy for me to join her, but occasionally she asks for alone hooping time. Seeing her so open and engaged is disarming. It helps me to let my defenses down, and be willing to look silly. It allows me to connect with that part of myself that is untouched by fear and have fun again. This happens in our driveway, with the music she likes turned way up, and hoops spinning. I can’t think of anything else that does that for me.

Alright now friends, wipe those tears and gear up for some Mother’s Day Hooping! Here are my picks for the perfect hooping playlist for the occasion. What are yours?

I’ll Always Love My Mama by The Intruders – on iTunes
Mamma Mia by ABBA – on iTunes
Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers – on iTunes
Mama Said by The Shirelles – on iTunes
Shake Whatcha Mama Gave Ya – Poison Clan – on iTunes


Lara Eastburn Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. She’s also the driving force behind Circumference with online and live business and marketing classes for hoop makers, instructors, and performers.

Discover the Unique Roots of Your Love Affair With the Hoop

Hooptree [Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn helps us discover our roots.]

by Lara Eastburn

The day you met the hoop, you began an intense and personal relationship. The circumstances surrounding that day, and that moment can provide you with meaningful insight about the emotions and desires that – just beneath the surface, and whether you are aware of them or not – continue to fuel, motivate, and direct the course of your hooping. Many of us can easily make a division between when we were not yet a hooper and when we became one. There was a “before the hoop” and an “after”. In retrospect, all of our greatest loves – people, places, activities – seem to have come into our lives at just the right moment. So what may have first appeared to be random when it was happening, we often realize later on was anything but chance. The events leading up to the moment that you fell in love with hooping can reveal much about what brought the hoop into your life, what called you to it and what attracted it to you. Here’s an exercise you can do quickly and easily to bring you back to that moment, no matter how far you think you’ve come, and can help you remember the agreement you two made in that instant.

Spring Break Hula Hoop Games

Hoopscotch [Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn spins up some hula hoop games for kids.]

by Lara Eastburn

It’s Spring Break at our house – the week when then kids are home from school and constantly wanting something to eat … and something to do. We’ve made play-doh from flour and chalk paint from cornstarch. The kids have painted one another and we’ve played with all our flow toys. And that was just by Tuesday. Now what?

In a hoop-making house though there’s no shortage of circles – so it was time to get creative with them. Here’s some hula hoop games you can play with your kids and you can even do all of these with cheap store-bought hoops, too. My daughters and I made up some games of our own with our hoops and later on we borrowed even more from the infinite parental guru we call Google. So whether you’re coming up on Spring Break too, or simply looking for new ways to entertain the littles, we’ve got some fresh ideas for you. Ready, set, gather your hoops, and get ready for some non-hooping fun with your favorite plastics and offspring!

Hoopscotch: It seemed like a no-brainer. Throw down some hoops of different sizes in any pattern you like and you’ve got a challenging course for growing legs filled with extra vacation sugar.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Hooping

All I Really Need To Know I Learned From Hooping [Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn knows the hoop is an excellent teacher.]

by Lara Eastburn

Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Kindergarten has had its fair share of off-shoots. Like All I Really Need to Know I Learned From My Dog, or equally amusing, From My Cat. So I thought it was high time we hoopers had a version of our own. After all, for many of us there’s a fine a line between our circular hobby-obession-practice and our “real lives” and the hoop has been a most excellent instructor.  Our time in the hoop has intimately informed our philosophies, how we think about ourselves and our relationships with others – whether we realize it or not. 

What has the hoop taught you about life and living? Here’s my list of what a decade of hooping has brought to me and I invite you to chime in with your own contributions below. Let’s co-create a library of hoop-wisdom right here to inspire not only all of us, but the generations to come.

Hooping For the Very First Time

Like a Hooper [Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn is feeling like a virgin – hooper that is.]

by Lara Eastburn

I’ve had Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” in my head all week long. I think it’s because I’m feeling deeply nostalgic about my own “first time” in the hoop. Now not everyone’s first time is sensational, right? So if you were the one cussing every time the hoop dropped for a month or so, then I’m talking about your first great time in the hoop – the moment you “got it” and knew it had come to stay. I’ve been hooping for over a decade now, but I still have vivid memories about the first time I put a hoop around my body. In my fantasy, I go back in time to that sunny August day, that initial rush of exhilaration, the moment I knew I had just fallen in love with the way my body moved in a super big circle of plastic. The memory rushes right up to and through me. It’s like thinking about that first kiss you shared with the person you fell in love with. Everything was possible. It was all new. And all I can think about is how can I get that feeling back … again?

It seems like I’ve tried just about everything over the years to recreate that “I can’t believe I’m pulling this off!” feeling. First, I tried training my non-dominant direction. That was literally like starting all over – except this time with double the expectations and about half the natural talent. Ha! I found the whole process so frustrating I never did truly master it. I know. Naughty hooper. Oh well, I’m the type that just isn’t going to do it if it ain’t fun.