The first few times I heard Jesse Styles talk about hooping I didn’t really get it. In my mind hula-hooping was something you did with your friends in the driveway after hopscotch and before hide and seek. Once I saw what it really was I knew I had to try it.
My first attempts at hooping were pretty much exactly as I remembered from my childhood: three times around, then it falls on the ground. I did that numerous times in the one spot of my house that’s big enough; one step too far and I’m hitting the couch or the entertainment center. Somehow I got better.
May 1st I signed up to do the Spring 30/30 challenge on Hooping.org – 30 minutes of hooping a day for 30 days. When I started I had very few moves. Waist hooping was getting easier, but I couldn’t yet shoulder hoop, and I was certain my “girls” were going to be a hindrance when it came to chest hooping. But I did my 30 minutes every day.
Finding the right music was actually a challenge. I found a few old school Jennifer Nettles songs that really did it for me and I found ways to move the rest of my body with the music without dropping the hoop. Stevie Wonder, Steve Vai, Tool and Volbeat also provided sufficient grooves for hooping. With the right music, and when totally alone, the hoop flies around on and off my body.
I found myself watching lots of YouTube videos of people hooping, mostly tutorials but also some that were purely performance. Some people just explain things better than others, and some can be encouraging in the way they share their hooping journey, so I watched multiple videos of each “trick” I aimed to learn. But ultimately the hoop tells you how it wants to move around your body. You just have to learn to listen and feel it.
Doing it everyday I got better quick. I’m no dancer and I certainly ain’t no gymnast. You will never see me standing on one leg with my other foot pointed towards the sky twirling a hoop with my toes. But I can certainly groove out and burn some calories. And that’s what I’m most interested in. Hooping does appeal to my theatrical side, I see lots of possibilities (this wooden ‘O’), but right now I’m focused on getting better at it and in a better shape than I have been. I’m burning the calories, the challenge is not allowing myself the extra candy or ice cream because I burned so many calories hooping.
As you will see in the video – filmed on a cold, rainy day at Cove Island Park – my “girls” and I figured out a way to chest hoop. And it was only the day before we shot the video that I figured out how to move my arms in and out while shoulder hooping. And it was the day of the shooting that I figured out how to shoulder hoop with sleeves. Every day I learn something new. I enjoy it, I feel better, I may have lost a pound or two and I’m starting to think if I keep hooping I can quit my antidepressants. How’s that for success?
So get yourself a hoop and give the 30/30 challenge a shot. And if you want someone to hoop with I’ll be at Cove Island Park.