Thursday, January 8, 2015

6 Reasons Why I Hula Hoop

6 Reasons Why I Hula Hoop 

January 8, 2015 



Lately, I have been thinking to myself why do I hoop? It’s been four years since I first picked up the hoop. But it isn’t until recently that I have really thought to myself what is it about hula hooping that keeps bringing me back. Here is my list of the six reason why I hula hoop.

Hobbies are important

DJing and hula hooping a Winter Solstice party. 


In Nick Offerman’s American Ham one-man standup he goes through his “10 tips for delicious living.” Number 5 on his list includes “Get a Hobby.” Similar to his role as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation in real life Offerman loves woodworking. Offerman says, “A hobby is an unfortunate word for something that has beautiful meaning in someone’s life.” Although the word hobby is horrible sounding it is a way to escape into what excites us. Hobbies are not your career but what you love to do. Sometimes such as in Offerman’s case those hobbies can bring you money since he does have a successful woodshop company in Los, Angeles. Similar to Offerman I too have found ways to generate income out of my hula hooping hobby. However with hobbies it isn’t about the money, it’s about the fact that you have found an activity that you make extra time for even if you are not getting paid. As Offerman says, “Whatever it is that you love to do that is the sexiest part of you.”

Express yourself

Giving a hoop performance at Grumbling Gryphon's Theater Camp. 

Hoop dancing is a performance art. By dancing with the hoop you are expressing yourself creatively. As someone who is always finding ways to be creative this is a facet of hooping I am always tuned into. The way you dance and move your body tells a story. You can hoop fast and crazy to convey anger or slow and sensual to show sadness or love. Using the hoop you can make shapes, create an illusion and trick the mind. Hula hooping becomes your physical mood ring. I find it very fulfilling and empowering. 

Meditation

LED hooping in Kent, CT. Photo by Ian Abrams

There are many ways to meditate and hula hooping is one of them. Have you ever heard of the Whirling Dervishes? It’s an ancient Sufi practice of whirling in circles to connect with god. The Whirling Dervishes spin for up to hours in big skirts to achieve enlightenment. There is something about the act of spinning that centers oneself inward and calms the mind of any story or chatter. I believe by spinning one can simply reach a new mode of consciousness that leaves the mind content and at peace. When I reach that level of ecstasy when hooping there is nothing like it. It’s a natural high.

Exercise

Hooping on the beach in Martha's Vineyard. Photo by Nedjra Manning 

For many years I was a runner. I ran cross country and track growing up. I used to run for miles with my team and by myself. However when I tore my meniscus playing basketball I got knee surgery and never really ran the same. Although I am fully healed I still run with a slight limp. I soon stopped running and quickly lost my runner’s body. I started hula hooping because it seemed interesting but also because I knew it was a form of exercise. Talking to my doctor I learned that hula hooping is a great cardiovascular exercise. It tones and body and increases your heart rate. When I hoop I use all parts of my body and improves my hand eye coordination. I never have been one for going to the gym. I love hula hooping because you can do it anywhere all you need is your hoop.

Because regular dancing isn’t as fun anymore 

Hooping at the Lantern Inn Wassaic, NY. 

This one sounds silly but is so true. I have gotten so used to dancing with a hoop that if I dance without my hoop I don’t know what to do with my body. I just start doing hoop tricks pretending like I have an invisible hoop it’s weird and awkward. When you start hoop dancing the hoop becomes your dance partner and an extension of yourself. It’s hard to go back to dancing without a hula hoop once you’ve seen the other side.

Connects you to new people

My local hoop group at Bulls Bridge in Kent, CT. 

Since I have started hula hooping I have made new friends through the hoop. Every time I hoop in a public place people will come up and say “Hey how did you learn to do that" or  "I am a Hooper too” then we will start geeking out about hoop related topics. I don’t know what I would do without my local hoop tribe. In the warmer months we meet on a weekly basis and have hoop jams together either next to a river or in an open field. We hoop, play music, laugh and just hang out. It’s nice to have that camaraderie and it’s a great way to learn new tricks from other people instead of watching hoop tutorials all the time. 

It's fun!  

Minis at sunset on Skiff Mountain. Photo by Sara Morales

There is no better way to say it hula hooping is just fun to do. I love discovering a new song and then rocking out to it with my hoop. It brings me joy to be able to dance and express myself through my body. If I am having a bad day all I need to do is spend 30 minutes hula hooping and suddenly anything that was worrying me disappears. You learn to find your flow and you dance because it makes you feel good. 

Photo by Sade Joseph
Happy Hooping!

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