Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What's the buzz about hooping?

Every hooper has their own reasons to love hooping, and today I want to share with you why I am so crazy about it.

I love how accessible hooping is. All I need to practise is my hoop and enough room to swing it. I don't need to pack a bag, wear special clothing, or be home from work at a certain time. I can practise in the living room while I'm watching the rugby league on telly and at work during my lunch break. Anyone who can stand on their two feet can hoop - it doesn't matter if you're young, old, male, female, fit or unfit, thin or fat.

I love how hooping makes me feel. It's great exercise that doesn't feel like exercise. I can put on some catchy tunes, pick up my hoop, and before I know it an hour has passed by. I'm not thinking about how my abs are getting a good workout or how my legs are being strengthened. I'm just rocking out and having fun.

If you want to be a good hoopdancer, you have to work hard - but it's a form of dance that rewards hard work. At the start of this year I took up adult ballet classes and although they were fun, after six months I had not improved my ballet skills at all. I could tell that any improvements, if any, would take a long, long time.

Hooping isn't like that. I remember, as a very green newbie hooper, looking at hooping videos on YouTube and despairing of ever being able to do those moves. Now, five months later, I can do most of them. I don't consider myself a good hooper - yet - but my skills over the past five months have improved more than I ever could have hoped for. And I know I'm not unusual in this. Lara Eastburn of Superhooper describes hooping as "not easy, but much easier than you think".

A lot has been made of hooping's ability to help women lose weight. Well, I can only speak from my own experience. I haven't lost weight - in fact, I've gained some weight since I began hooping. And yet, my clothes are noticeably looser ... people have asked me if I've lost weight ... most importantly, I feel better about my body than I have since I don't know when. Slowly, muscle seems to be developing in my body [which explains the thinner-but-heavier thing]. I even have abs - woo-hoo!

But none of these things would mean anything to me if hooping wasn't fun. I hate exercise for the sake of it, which is why you'll never see me running or on a treadmill. Exercise has to be fun for me to commit. And there's few things more fun in my life than hooping.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Hooping at Lake Rotoiti.

Yay for hooping with other people!!

We spent the weekend at a bach [summer house] at Lake Rotoiti, near Rotorua. We met my brother and his family, and my parents, there and spent the weekend cooking, eating, sleeping, reading and, of course, hooping.

We missed my sister and her family, who couldn't make it, and the weather was quite wet. But I still managed to do plenty of hooping. There was a lovely little lawn between the house and the lake which was a picturesque spot for hooping. My sister-in-law and one of my nieces were keen to give hooping a go and they were immediately addicted. My sister-in-law even bought some hoops online on Saturday night.

I'm used to my solitary hooping sessions in the front garden, so it was great to have other women to hoop with. And I really LOVE spreading the hoop love ... seeing the look of delight on someone's face as they discover for the first time that THEY CAN HOOP is nearly as much fun for me as hooping itself.

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Body longing.

I've been obsessed over the past few days with learning a series of spins in a video clip I watched on YouTube. You begin spinning within the hoop, then the hoop is lifted up at an angle and eventually comes to rest horizontally on the base of the spine, all the while continuing to spin. It's quite the optical illusion. I have watched that video clip over and over and over [some times even on my iPhone during my practice], trying to nail it down.

I think I've pretty much got it. I just need to iron out the kinks, as is usual when I learn a new move.

[And just as a side note, someone needs to write an encyclopaedia of hoop moves. I often have no words to describe the moves I'm doing within the hoop. It's frustrating.]

I've noticed that I often become obsessed with a move or combination of moves. It might be something I've seen on a video clip or it might be something that originated in my head. I get what I can only describe as a physical longing to execute that move, and the only thing that will ease the longing is to actually do it.

For example, a month ago I could not get the idea out of my head of describing circles with my hoop while spinning. I worked on this idea during my practice but still my body ached for that right move. Then one weekend, while doing the dishes with my stepdaughter, it suddenly popped into my head. I grabbed my hoop, ran outside, and began hooping - a series of circles alternating above my head and down by my knees, all the while spinning.

Perfect, said my body. And for the next week I did that combination of moves continuously, just because it felt good. Now my body has absorbed the combination and it's part of my hooping repertoire. It's a move I enjoy but don't think about too much these days.

Some days I'll be watching television and think, "I will self-combust if I don't pick up my hoop right now and do a J throw." Or I'm at work and I have to scoot off with my hoop for a few moments to do some elbow hooping. John is probably used to me jumping out of bed and hooping naked in the bedroom for a few minutes before I get dressed.

Just because I have to.

In other news, my participation in hoop30 is going really well. I'm hooping for between 30 and 60 minutes every day [ideally I'd like to get in 90 minutes but that's not always realistic]. I'm delighted I've had the motivation to be out hooping at 7am, or soon after, the past two mornings. The photo above is me hooping at 7am today. The hoop30 facebook book group is busy, lively and inspiring. It's so encouraging to hear about other people's experience of their hoop practice.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunny Sunday.

Today was an unseasonably mild day for August, with brilliant sunshine most of the day. Daffodils nodded at us as we drank our tea and an unseen riro riro trilled at us from the ngaio tree. The weather was no doubt responsible for me buying, while John and I were in town, a pair of Teva sandals. I wouldn't normally buy sandals at the end of winter but these were on special, and I've always wanted a pair of Tevas.

I tried them out while I was hooping in the back garden and boy am I glad I bought those sandals. I can tell I'll live in them come summer. They were great to hoop in - I hadn't realised I need good support for my feet until I actually had it. Jumping about was so much easier with them on!

Despite this, I didn't do so well with my hooping today. I hooped right after eating, and after 40 minutes of really fast hooping I felt like I was going to throw up so I stopped. Forty minutes is more than I needed to complete Hoop30 for today .... but in the weekends I usually hoop for at least an hour each day.

Today I was working on the corkscrew and an arm wrap I've just learned, as well as the sliding door, chest stalls and variations on elbow hooping.

Tomorrow I'm back at work. My work days are usually so busy I have to be well organised to fit my hooping in!

Saturday, 4 August 2012


Hooping is a solitary activity for me, except for the rare occasions I can persuade someone to hoop with me. I often wish I had a community of hoopers to jam with, share tricks with, and enjoy the journey with.

This is something I want to work on over summer, but in the meantime I've joined a Facebook group of hoopers called Hoop30. The idea of Hoop30 is that you hoop for a minimum of 30 minutes per day for 30 days, post something about your practice that day [if you want] and generally support and encourage each other. It certainly doesn't take the place of real life hoop buddies but it is great to be reading about other people's hoop journeys.

The group was started by Alicia and it's private so I can't provide a link to it. However, if you want to join you can message Alicia at her facebook pageand ask her to add you. Get hooping and join in the fun!