Monday, 20 October 2014

Do the work.

I love my online hoop community. Being a mostly solitary hooper - which suits me fine - I still appreciate the interaction with like-minded hoopers on hooping forums such as Facebook. But sometimes I encounter someone who makes me shake my head. Like the young woman who wrote this message on a recent forum:
“I’ve been hooping for a couple of weeks and I’ve learned a few moves, but it frustrates me that I can’t hoop like [insert famous hooper’s name]. Can anyone tell me some tricks that will  give me flow?”

I've had a couple of students over the years who have said to me, I'm not interested in this waist-hooping crap, teach me to hoop like you.
First of all I do understand these hoopers' sentiments. I distinctly remember being a couple of weeks into my hoop journey and thinking, this feels so good but I wish I could really flow with my hoop. Followed by, if I keep working I’ll get there, eventually. I never wanted, or expected, a short-cut to hoop flow. If someone gave me the ability to magically become the best hooper in the world, instantly, I don’t think I’d take it.
Because hooping, like any practice, is a journey; and it’s a journey with no end-point. It’s that very journey that I love. I don’t hoop to become a famous hooper or to impress people [although I do enjoy inspiring people to take up the hoop themselves] … I hoop because it feels good, it gives me the ability to express things within me that can’t be expressed any other way, it teaches me about myself. I love the days hooping makes me feel graceful and powerful. I love the days when everything is effortless and I drop into flow almost immediately. I even love the days that I am low in energy – because I know I need to go back to the basics. And the days that I am frustrated - because I know I’m learning.
And guess what? The famous hooper that this newbie hooper referenced is still working on her flow, even after years and years in the hoop.
One of the great things about hooping, that makes it so accessible to anyone, is how quickly you progress. If you practise for 30 minutes every day for six months you will be amazed at how much you will learn. But you cannot expect to pick up a hoop and have instant flow.
You need to do the work.
Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Weekend, alone.

Last weekend my husband and my stepdaughter went away for two days, leaving me along at home with only my wee doggie, Monty, for company.

When I first realised I would be alone all weekend, the thought scared me. I used to be so good at being alone, and was quite comfortable spending an entire week in my own company. But since I got married I’ve become used to having other people around at [nearly] all times. What would I do with a weekend to myself?

But as Friday rolled around, and I got ready to head home from work to a silent house, I realised I was looking forward to it. Here was an opportunity to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without needing to take other people into consideration.

So this is what I did with my weekend alone:

I spent most of Saturday on the back lawn, in my pyjamas, hooping. [Pyjamas are good for hooping in, by the way.]

I stayed up till 3am Saturday morning watching all eight episodes of Outlander [sigh] and till 3am Sunday reading The Bronze Horseman [meh].

I ate Thai takeaways. I visited friends.

I did some spring cleaning.

The sun shone all weekend, so Monty and I went to the beach. He followed interesting smells all over the beach, and I paddled in the water and hooped.

Such a simple weekend, yet such a delight. I felt reacquainted with myself. I felt refreshed - like I'd drunk a glass of cool water on a hot summer's day.

And, of course, when my people arrived home Sunday afternoon, I was very happy to see them again.

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

Friday, 10 October 2014

Confessions of a bodyrocker.

Hurting my arm has turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. I haven't stopped hooping; but I have changed the way I hoop. I've become a bodyrocker!

In my hoop journey to date I've been - inspired by hoopers like Tiana Zoumer - an off-body hooper. By "off-body" I mean hooping that is driven mostly by the hands and arms, and incorporates jumps, throws, tosses, hand-spins, etc.

"On-body" - or bodyrocking - is the opposite. It's hooping that is propelled by the core: waist, hips, shoulder, chest, legs or head. Since I was over-using my arm by hooping off-body, it made sense to change my focus to on-body hooping.

Off-body hooping is definitely the fashion du jour, particularly for younger hoopers. And it looks incredibly cool. But, as I'm discovering, bodyrocking feels good ... and these days I am all about how hooping feels.

It's easy to get caught up in hooping's fancy tricks. There is so much to learn; the ways of the hoop are apparently infinite, and it's exciting to nail that move you've been practising for ages. I still get this feeling. But I'm also discovering the delight of a simple waist groove to a song I love - just me and the hoop in a perfect partnership.

What you don't get from all those fancy off-body tricks is the sensation of the hoop moving around the body. Isn't that what turned us all on to hooping in the first place? Do you remember that moment when the hoop rolled across your belly for the very first time and you thought, wow, I'm hooping, and it feels amazing? I'm re-discovering that feeling, and I love it.

As well as going back to the basics, I'm also learning some more difficult body grooves such as angled shoulder hooping. Wow. That stuff is hard! But it still involves spinning the hoop around the body ... oh, and it's giving me abs of steel, which I'm not complaining about.

More to come on bodyrocking soon!

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

PS. Here's an incredible example of on-body hooping from the goddess of bodyrocking, Anah Reichenbach: