I joined my local Soroptimist group, Soroptimist International of San Ramon Valley a couple of years ago and for the second year in a row taught a hoop dance class to Middle School girls at our annual signature project event, She’s All That.
It is always a treat to see the girls light up in the hoop–even the ones who are shy at first–and forget about everything but having fun. I have learned over decades of being at war with my body when I was younger, that if you want to feel good in your body you must do things that you enjoy–make that LOVE–and look forward to doing. Back at the peak of my personal struggle to starve and excessively exercise my physical form into ‘shape’ I had never heard of hoop dance. Even if I had, I’m not sure I would have believed it could possibly deliver the goods… With age comes wisdom. I eventually learned to trust my body to show me what it needed in order to comply with my wishes. I would never, ever have imagined that hoop dance could make such a profound difference in my body, heart and mind. But hey, I’ve lived it. Bodies are wise beyond our imagining. Truly. Hoop dance opens the door to creativity and self-expression, promotes grounding in the body and for many of us, sends the spirit soaring. I don’t know any girl or woman, young or old, who couldn’t benefit from exposure to more of those kinds of experiences. So many of us grew up with issues about our bodies and it seems that today the girls are bombarded with negative messages about how they look and what they are going to have to do to simply be acceptable. Yikes.
Maybe some of us who have lived through the hell of hating our bodies (particularly certain parts–you know what I’m talking about) and come out the other side can model a positive, healthy alternative for these girls. I know that a hoop is not the answer to everything but it does offer hope that we can all find our way back to feeling the joy that is always right there within us and spread it around.
She’s All That happens every year in February. There are workshops and classes for Middle School girls and their moms, designed to inform and enlighten them about topics that are helpful in navigating those challenging tween years with a little more grace and wisdom.
As I look back on this video a couple months down the road I can still feel how sweet is was to be hooping with the girls. Have you hooped with a girl, lately? If so, you know that they will show you more than you can show them. If not, why not give it a whirl.