Carolina Climente is spinning a movement meditation and she grabs her hula hoop and takes us somewhere very special. Praia da Galheta is a wild beach only accessible by trail located on Santa Catarina island in Florianopolis, Brazil. Filmed by Felipe Guerrero and edited by both of them, Carolina spins single and double hoops in the hills and on the shore and the end result is stunning and truly magical. Don’t miss this one! The soundtrack for this is “Monsoon Malabar” by Bombay Dub Orchestra and you can get a copy for your own hooping meditation session over on iTunes.
Caroline Sanchez, otherwise known as The Hula Hoop Girl, spins up an “embodied movement meditation practice that guides women to reclaim their own natural born rhythm while feeling empowered to self-resource and self-express through the transformational power of play.” We’re mesmerized by the beautiful sunset, the strong meditative message, and Caroline’s gentle, whimsical flow. She lives in La Jolla, California, USA, and the soundtrack for this is “Kyio” by Deya Dova and you can get your own copy of it quite easily on iTunes.
Michael Mickler is a fan of starting his morning with a meditative hoop dance jam and we know first hand it’s a great way to start the day! Making his Hooping.org debut here too, he finds fabulous flow in his backyard and spins it up to something classic. He lives in Savannah, Georgia, USA, and the soundtrack for this is called “Get Ready” by The Temptations which you can purchase a copy of on iTunes.
by Clair Ching
Silence does not seem to be common in my hooping circles. Defined as the lack of audible sound, or the presence of sounds of very low intensity, it is one of the key points of my hoop practice. While I fully admit that I play music more often than not while hooping, after all, music does get me in the mood, silence has a magic all it’s own. And I, for one, really need to have those silent sessions every so often.
When I am learning new things or exploring new movement, I’d rather do it in silence. When hooping in the noiselessness there is no beat to distract me, no rhythm that I feel the need to chase with my dance. I just have to let things happen. This means I can be in complete focus, even if just for a moment.
For me, hooping in silence is to be in the present, or the “now” as some people like to call it. It is my meditation. Maybe it’s all about hyper focus, but every second is amazing. It’s the time when I feel so bonded with my hoop. The moment it rolls around my body, the moment the hoop spins – I can take it all in while hooping in silence. I’m moving to my own rhythm and timing, and I can focus on my breathing if I choose.
Khan Wong once had a tutorial on breathing and hooping and how they’re related. I’d never thought about it before, that I could move to the rhythm of my breathing. Maybe getting introduced to yoga helped me a bit, because every inhale and exhale counted with every movement. Inhaling before transitioning into a new move and exhaling to execute it was helpful for me to learn, that I don’t need to rush. It has been most helpful to me when I’m experimenting with body movement while hooping too. Maybe that is another reason why I love hooping in silence: I familiarize myself with new things without expectation or demand, with nothing else to distract me. At the same time, the old and familiar becomes new to me. I can experiment and feel it as something fresh and maybe even more authentic.
In this crazy high paced world in which we live, there are times I can find myself overwhelmed by sound. Hooping in silence is a beautiful way to rewind, find our center, to simplify. This weekend I hope you can give hooping in silence a try too. Tell me how you felt while doing it and if it helped you learn something new, if it helps you meditate. I’ll be glad to find kindred spirits who also enjoy the experience of hooping to our own beat and learning our own dance.
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.
I can’t remember if I played with a hula hoop as a child, but I tried hooping as an adult for the first time in July 2012. We had leased a home with our four children while we were renovating our own house. It was there that a woman gave a hoop to me for the kids. I played with it more than all four of my children put together! Naturally my daughter wanted to learn too and we had a few words as to who would play with it first! So I decided it was time to buy a hoop for me. That was the beginning of a passion and passions take a lot of time. You could even say that the hoop began to take over my life.
The hoop took a place in my family. I learned to make my own hoops and I made one for each of the other children. In winter in our home and in the summer in the garden, we always have a few minutes where we all practice. My youngest daughter is 20 months old, but she loves to play with one of my mini-hoops. And we laugh often when my husband tries to do some of the tricks he has seen in a video. My husband doesn’t laugh when he sees the whole family playing with our hoops at our new house though. The hoops are flying here or there. Okay, I have learned that I can’t try new tricks at home. I have to do those in the garden (or when he isn’t here).
The hoop also became a career. It wasn’t in my plans to teach, but I leased a room for another activity and wasn’t having the success I’d hoped for. I paid for the space, didn’t know what to do with it, and a friend who had seen me hoop dancing said that if I decided to teach this, she would like to learn. That’s how teaching began and I already have a class for children and a class with adults. It is, however, very difficult to find people who are interested in learning to hoop dance in my area. Nobody knows what is it and they have to see it to become inspired to want to learn. So, I began to perform! I’m often not payed for this, but I see it as a training opportunity, as an experience and in doing so I find students for my classes.
The hoop is my meditation. I’m a Shiatsu-practitioner and we know how precious meditation can be for our body and mind. I learned I can improve my Shiatsu too by meditating. But there was a problem, I don’t really like sitting quietly pondering my navel. I just can’t stay seated and do nothing. My teacher knew this and he said there were other ways to meditate. With the hoop, I’ve found my way to do this. I know I can play with the rhythm of my dance as others meditate with tones. I learned to hoop with eyes closed and to be open to connecting with the Universe. Finding my own flow has become such a great meditation!
The hoop helps me to meet others. I’m not from Germany and I don’t know a lot of people here. With the children I don’t really have time to do a lot of things. But hooping is something I can do everywhere and it’s a very good tool for meeting people. As a result of my teaching and performing I’ve met others who have decided to live their dreams too. I’ve also “met” a lot of lovely hoopers thanks to the Internet. I feel that hoopers build a special community made of love, sharing, and openness.
The hoop helps me find happiness. I don’t know what life has planned for me, but I really enjoy the way I already live. I don’t know if I will be able to dance with my hoop my whole life, so I want to make a lot of the experience and time I have with it now. Perhaps the hoop teaches me to enjoy the present. I’ve learned that I have to enjoy all the happy moments in my life, because I really don’t know what will come tomorrow. Hooping teaches and helps me to find my happy place here and now, because my place is where I am and not anywhere else.
The lovely and talented Flavie Steelandt of Floop di Hoop is a columnist and contributor to Hooping.org. Originally from France, she is currently living in Nersingen, Germany, where you can typically find her hoop dancing for hours, performing, and sharing the hoop love with everyone in her community.
Kate Zaborska is combating her pre-job interview jitters with a special hooping session to get her back in the center of her own rotation. She says, “I was getting nervous about this interview, so I thought that instead of wasting time tripping, I’d build my confidence with a little Omar LinX. His lyrics always pump me up.” So she grabbed her hoop and did just that and all we can say is that whatever job she was applying for, we certainly hope she got it because we think she’s a total winner. She lives in Ontario, Canada, and the soundtrack that she’s building her confidence with is by Omar LinX and you can find it on Soundcloud.
by Philo Hagen
When you’re brand new to hooping it can very exciting. I personally found myself wanting to hoop every day, all the time. When I wasn’t hooping, I was most likely thinking about it. It really didn’t take long for my new hoop love passion to color the my world too. Songs on the radio began being listened to as potential hooping soundtracks. Driving across town I started seeing all the parks and places I could bring my hoop, places I’d never even noticed before. Yes, my early hooping life found me pretty much hooked and loving every minute of it with a great big smile on my face. Finding that level of joy and excitement in the hoop more than a decade later, however, can be something of a challenge. It’s been my experience too, something I’ve confirmed over the years in my independent, casual and random surveys of hoopers from all over, that the biggest obstacle to getting there has little to do with the hoop, and everything to do with the mind. That’s why I’ve really been embracing Shoshin hooping lately.
Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “Beginner’s Mind” and it refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts which is why I think it relates all too well to my hooping practice. Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, author of the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Saadat A. Khan suggests that “Beginner’s mind embodies the highest emotional qualities such as enthusiasm, creativity, zeal, and optimism. If the reader reflects briefly on the opposites of these qualities, it is clear to see that quality of life requires living with beginner’s mind. With beginner’s mind, there is boundlessness, limitlessness, an infinite wealth.”
There are times as the guy behind Hooping.org that I need to pull out and wear my “expert hat”, at least for a little while. A phone interview earlier today with a news agency about the benefits of hooping required me to do so. If we are teaching a class or performing for an audience, perhaps we need to put something like an expert hat on for ourselves for awhile as well, but when it comes to our own hooping practice, our individual hooping journey, ego, competition, fear and expectations can become our own most formidable foes.
The mind, typically thinking it is doing us a favor by protecting us and/or motivating us, likes to serve up a smorgasbord of musts and fears and limits, things that often have little to do with actual reality in the world in which we hoop. Shoshin hooping, however, spins us into a place that is boundless and limitless. In order to get there, it’s really all about the art of laughter and forgetting. In fact, you’re all cordially invited to join me in forgetting everything we think we know about hooping, so we can once again be open to the joy and wonder of it in our lives.
A friend of mine in the recovery community shared a prayer with me once called “The Set Aside Prayer” and I find it’s really great for helping with the concept of Shoshin Hooping. Adapting it for my hooping life and addressing it to the higher power of my own understanding, I spin it into a prayer that goes something like this:
God, please help me set aside anything I think I know about myself, about the hoop, about hoop dance, technique, flow, the hooping community and the people in it so that I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things. Amen.”
In Shoshin Hooping we have no preconceptions of what we’re supposed to be doing or be able to do. There are no expectations of ourselves or others. We step into the hoop as it is, in the moment and in present time. And rather than thinking about where we should be with our hooping, we find ourselves in the center of our own circle in a pretty powerful way. If the present moment truly is a gift, it can only be unwrapped when you’re in it. Shoshin hooping helps turn off the ego, turn off the mind, and reconnect us with not only the here and now, but with our inner child as well, a child full of curiosity, play and amazement.
While hooping is fundamentally a physical activity, what we think about it – at any given point in our hooping life – can profoundly effect our experience. With terms like “expert” and “master” being spun into the hooping world more and more, I’ve personally found that if I want to continue to love hooping just as much as I always have, I always want to be able to spin from a place where there’s so much more to learn and discover. In my hooping practice over the years the hoop and my hoop dance have continually revealed more and more to me in my personal revolution inside the hoop. Shoshin Hooping allows us to hoop from a place without limits, be open to our hoop dance and our flow in ways we never would’ve expected for and from ourselves. What does the hoop have in store for you this year? The possibilities, after all, are truly endless.
Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Why do you hoop? For fun, fitness or as a way to release your mind from everyday worries that hinder you from staying in the present moment? There is no right answer to this question. Over the years I have found that at different times I have hooped for all of these reasons. In fact, sometimes all of them simultaneously. What keeps me coming back into the hoop, though, is the peace I encounter with each spin. For me it becomes a type of movement meditation unlike any I have experienced before. I become lost in the cradle of the hoop’s touch as it rolls around my body. My mind sinks into a place where there are no thoughts but the present moment. I am in a state of mindfulness throughout the hoop session, and feel refreshed and calm when I am done. Sure I have frustrating times within the hoop, but when my goal is meditation, the hoop works wonders as a tool for this end. So how can you find this tranquility in your hooping practice as well? Here are some tips:
Hooping continues to spread like wildfire as another international hooper, Marília Coelho of senteovento.com, spins up some beautiful and mindful hoop dance choreography in her Brazilian hometown and boy, what a view! She truly brings out hooping’s meditative experience that has come along with hooping for so many of us all over the world. She lives in São Paulo, Brazil, and the soundtrack for this is titled “La Grande Cascade” by Rene Aubry and it really epitomizes the feel of the Brazilian countryside in this piece and it’s available for you to download on iTunes.
Baxter of The Hoop Path is here to teach us all about the Balance Technique, which is a pretty cool thing to learn with thanks to Jaguar Mary of Sacred Circularities for making this tutorial. Balance technique is a new expression of hoop dance meditation that Baxter has been developing for several years. We learn how this technique originated and how to begin our own practice, offering an opportunity to deepen our relationship to the hoop as a tool for focus and quieting the mind. They live in Carrboro, North Carolina, USA.