Tag Archive for HoopPath

Living Hoopily Ever After

Hoop Dance Like Nobody is Watching by Theresa Rose

Last weekend, I had the incredible privilege of attending a weekend hooping workshop led by the gorgeous Ann Humphreys of Line and Circle. Like her mentor Baxter, the golden goddess from the HoopPath tradition holds a safe, trusted container whereby students can learn deeper aspects of hooping, exploring greater realms with our sacred circles while exploring our own inner spaces that are calling out for healing and empowerment. (We also learn mind-blowing techniques that refine and strengthen our hoop skillz, making our flow flow like butta.)

At the beginning of the workshop, we all sat in a circle within our circles to share our love affair with the hoop. As any hooper can affirm, there were lots of passionate exclamations of previously-undiscovered depths of joy, stories of dramatic healing, and diatribes on the profound spiritual transformations that can take place within the hoop (and that was just me talking).

This is not news to me. My Facebook feed is chock full of hoopers of all ages, shapes and sizes extolling the virtues of the hoop. One only need to take a peek at the posts from Hooping.org and local hoop communities like my homies at Hoop Twin Cities to see that the hoop has a powerful effect on those who are blessed to dance with her. (Sorry if I am offending any masculine hoops out there – I always see my hoop as a female. The staff can be male.)

But one comment from a participant in Ann’s workshop stuck with me long after the hugs had ended. She was a relatively new hooper, about a year into her practice and had characterized herself at the outset of being “just” able to waist hoop (JUST?! Hey, it’s a huge deal that
you are doing that! Congrats, sister!). She summarized her relationship to her instrument like this:

“I’m not shy in my hoop.”

I get that. I understand what it’s like to step into that sacred space and finally, finally, FINALLY shed the cloak of insecurity, fear, doubt, shame, and self-hate, replacing it with unbridled joy and kick-ass chest hooping. I understand how spinning can become addictive because it is the only place where one can feel truly beautiful. I understand the freedom that the flow brings.

But I also wish that my hoop brothers and sisters would feel more of those feelings when they are OUTSIDE of the hoop too.

Like it or not, we cannot live our lives solely within the confines of the hoop, or anywhere else that is our safe haven, whether it’s the gym, the office, the yoga mat, the basketball court or the house of worship. At some point, we must stop the action that is brings us infinite pleasure and rejoin the real world of jobs, bills, commutes, and dinner. Blech. The key isn’t to ignore those less-than-hoopy activities, but to find the hoopiness within them.

My advice to the schizophrenic hooper who is blissed out in the hoop but miserable outside of it is this: Just as you learned how to become an amazing hooper by constantly drilling your isolations, breaks and paddles, you can also become an amazingly powerful, joyful, and
successful person by drilling your confidence, belief and gratitude.

When you find yourself afraid to take the next move at work or in a relationship, ask yourself, how would your badass inner-hooper respond? Would she or he shrink at the opportunity or go blazing forward as if all five wicks were lit?

When you find yourself feeling insecure because you aren’t the hottest, skinniest or richest babe in the bunch, ask yourself, what would your badass inner-hooper think? Would she or he tell herself that she should just pack up her gear and go home, or would she decide to highlight the tricks she knows and do it with gusto?

When you find yourself wanting to shrink away from your power, ask yourself, what would your badass inner-hooper do? I don’t know what yours would say, but I have a feeling I know what Ann Humphreys would suggest: she would challenge us to engage the opposite, or the anti-point, in order to fully express ourselves.

The anti-point of our fear is LOVE. If we want to live just as joyfully outside of our hoop as we do on the inside, we need to see fear as our emotional contact point, and the love of ourselves, each other, and the earth as the anti-points of that fear.

To live happily and hoopily ever after, each one of us is invited to acknowledge our fears that pop up moment by moment and activate the anti-point by choosing to show ourselves genuine, authentic love and gratitude for the many gifts we offer the world.

My hope is that my new hooper friend will someday say,

“I’m not shy in my hoop. Or outside of it.”

As hoopers, we know what bliss is. Now it’s time for us to live that bliss whether we are spinning or not.


TheresaRose Theresa Rose of TheresaRose.com is a nationally-acclaimed inspirational performer, award-winning author, and hardcore hoopdancer who is passionate about helping others to live, work and move in joy. Thanks to the hoop, she lost over 50 pounds; more importantly, they didn’t find her again. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

A HoopPather in Subtitles with Baxter

HoopPath Baxter of The HoopPath spins up something not only beautiful, but inspiring. Along with his own infamous hoop style come subtitles from the technique learned while on the path of a Hoop Pather. He says, “I added some subtitles so that this video could also be a kind of tutorial, since I NEVER make them.” He lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, USA, and the soundtrack for this is “First Light” by Living Light and you can download a copy of it for your very own over on iTunes.

Hooping With Aunt Flo(w)

June 28[Hooping.org Assistant Editor Natasha “Hoopsie Daisy” Young shares why every woman should hoop. Parental guidance suggested.]

Hooping does so many great things for us. It tones the abs, encourages laughter, creates friendships, and does a million other things. Today, however, I have something to share with the girls about another benefit of hooping people generally don’t talk about, one that you probably won’t see advertised on hula hoop company websites. Are you ready for it? Hooping made my cramps go away. Seriously. Did you know that working on your flow might make your time with Aunt Flo a little bit easier?

Back in college, my cramps decided to ratchet themselves up to a degree I hadn’t known was possible. The first day of my period felt like a 24-hour flu. In addition to cramps that had me doubled over in pain, I had the chills. One minute I was sweating and the next minute I was freezing. I completely lost my appetite to the point where even thinking of my favorite foods made me want to vomit. My cramps had me so immobilized that I could barely move. Sometimes I would sit frozen in place because I was convinced that if I just stayed very still, at the very least I wouldn’t feel any worse. Moving meant risking the pain getting worse. Sometimes I would call in sick to work so that I could stay curled up in bed with a bottle of water and a bottle of Advil. I tried all kinds of remedies, some of which are contradictory: avoiding dairy the week before, having extra dairy the week before, rubbing pennyroyal oil on my belly, exercising more, drinking more water, etc., but I couldn’t shake that day of feeling like I had the flu.

Hooping for Adults is Booming in North Carolina


Baxter: Photo by Carla Snow

“You have to laugh at yourself,” Maria Reynolds-Oosting of Charlotte told News Observer. “It’s kind of silly. You’re playing with a plastic circle.” Maria has been hooping for five years and is just one of the hoopers at the center of the circle in an epicenter of hooping. “There is no “hula” with this hoop. Adults call it a hoop, period. They engage in hooping or hoopdance, or they jam. They have fun. But it’s not a playground game,” Alicia W. Roberts reports. Dorne Pentes of Charlotte-based Spin Revolution picked up a hoop he saw lying on the ground at an arts festival in Asheville; now, hooping has become more than a way to exercise without feeling like he’s exercising. “It makes you happy,” he explained. “It’s kind of like a runner’s high, I guess.” Cara Zara, also of Charlotte, makes and sells her own hoops in the state as well. “Most of the ones you can buy at a retail store are made for the average 6-year-old,” she said. Meanwhile The HoopPath, based in Carrboro, sponsors retreats and workshops year-round. Founder Jonathan Baxter (pictured) picked up a hoop to help him recover from a shoulder injury. Today he preaches a curriculum that is equal parts spirit and sport and his seventh annual HoopPath retreat, “HP7: Sangha,” is coming to Carrboro in June. And an unaffiliated Hoop Convergence retreat, held every year in the Raleigh-Durham area, brings hoopers from all over to learn new skills as well.

Hooping My Way Through My Day

[Hooping.org Assistant Editor Bonnie MacDougall spins her way through life.]

by Bonnie MacDougall

If you’re anything like me your mind is a virtual hooping vortex sometimes, constantly spinning all things into a hooping metaphor, example, or way of being. I can be in the most mundane setting and find a way to turn my thoughts about the situation into a hooping scenario. Do you find driving boring or a space full of endless frustration? My alone time in the car is inevitably spent becoming fully immersed in the music playing through my iPod and imagining myself hooping to the rhythms. I literally feel my adrenal rush as the music changes, knowing how I would fly my arms and hands during that moment in the song, feeling my legs want to bend and groove with each beat, all the while fully engaged with my ever spinning dance partner. And then whoosh, the song ends. Where there once was just a deep love of music, now is an enhanced, deeper fuller appreciation of movement, of dance, even if it is sometimes just in my mind. Are you hooping your way through life as well? One friend says she does the same thing. Another thinks I’ve fallen off the proverbial “hoop” rocker. Just wait until I tell you more.

Hoopcamp 2012: Movin and Groovin

Pema Osel Ling [Hooping.org’s Editor Philo Hagen believes we all have our 100% natural groove.]

by Philo Hagen

On my way to Hoopcamp 2012 this year I was in kind of a big rush, roaring up Interstate 5 in my 21-year-old Volvo hoping to make it to the redwoods in time to pitch my tent before nightfall. I had someplace I needed to be and in my big city hurry to get there, I soon found myself miles off course. Navigating a confusing highway construction area incorrectly I left Interstate 5, racing off on Highway 14 in the wrong direction. Eventually realizing that nothing looked familiar I consulted my iPhone and noted a road that could take me back to the 5 called the Pearblossom Highway. When I saw a sign for it I quickly made my exit, scurrying along even faster to get back where I needed to be and make up for lost time. But when I landed in Littlerock, population 1,377, I knew that I’d done it again. Between my ADHD, a lack of patience, my not being grounded and my reliance upon gadgets rather than guts, I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere – or at least anywhere I wanted to be.

Parking the car by the old water tower I took a deep breath, then I took another. I put the technology away and looked up at the sky. Starting the engine I changed course, listened within and immediately got a “that feels right” recognition. When I arrived at Pema Osel Ling, a Buddhist center located on 104 acres of stunning redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains, our home once again for Hoopcamp this year, it was already night time and I was hours later then I’d hoped. And yet, given that it was still the night before camp would officially begin everything was so peaceful. For the first time I truly saw what a magical and harmonious place it is when we aren’t there. Pitching my tent as the waxing moon rose to give me light, a deer appeared on the trail. It nodded as if to say, “Welcome. You are right on time”, and as it wandered off into the trees I realized my Hoopcamp experience had already begun several hours before on in Littlerock. It was about simply breathing, being still and listening to my inner voice. It was about rolling with the flow, rather than against it. It was about letting go.

Beth Lavinder: Inside The Hoop

Beth Lavinder Beth Lavinder remembers well the first time she saw Vivian, who would later become Spiral, hooping it up on the Weaver Street Lawn in Carrboro, North Carolina. She told Hooping.org, “It was about 10 years ago and I was the mother of a young daughter. Erica was around 4 or so at the time and we had been going to Weaver Street for their live music series because it gave me a chance to hang out and be with other people, particularly other parents.” Then one day this beautiful willowy woman spinning a large hoop on the other side of the lawn entranced her. “I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. At the same time I felt a little guilty for staring, because she seemed to be in such an introspective and meditative state. It was stunningly sensuous. I was a rather shy person at that time, so it speaks to the compelling power of the hoop that I finally went up closer to watch and she kindly offered me a hoop to try. It felt absolutely amazing and I was surprised I could keep the hoop up.

From that moment on Beth was at the Weaver Street Market every opportunity. She explained, “It was a while before I gave myself permission to hoop at home. It seemed a little indulgent and even selfish when I had so much to do. But I’ve now fully embraced being indulgent and selfish when it comes to hooping because in the end, it benefits everyone.” Her hooping has been known to make a whole lot of other people very happy as well. Nominated for numerous Hoopie Awards and dazzling everyone with her speed and grace and flow, Beth is truly a hooper to watch – and we decided to get an even closer look in a special interview with Beth Lavinder, our Hooper of the Week!

HoopPath 6: Blooming Through Grief

(Hooping.org Assistant Editor Bonnie MacDougall blooms, even through grief.)

By Bonnie MacDougall

At the first official event of the HoopPath 6 Retreat entitled “Bloom”, we were treated on Thursday evening to a scrumptious potluck provided by a local Mediterranean restaurant and the local community of HoopPathers who live nearby in Carrboro, North Carolina. After dinner, however, we broke into mini-tribes of 10-14 people where we spent some time answering several questions to get to know each other while sharing our hooping experience and expectations for the weekend. While I didn’t have any expectations for the weekend and was set to just go with the flow, one question really popped out at me – “What does Bloom mean to you?”. I thought of a lotus flower, a bloom which comes up from beneath the mud and muck below to produce a most glorious flower. The bloom may not always be visible beneath the darkness, but it is still there. And little did I know just how much this vision would apply to me in the coming days ahead.