I’m going on vacation to Oahu in mid-May and decided to reinstate my daily hoop dance practice as a good way of getting back to looking and feeling my best in those warm weather clothes that I packed away last fall.
For the first couple years that I hooped, I practiced pretty much every day. For me, it was a no-brainier. The daily ritual of hooping month in and month out was a sweet refuge from the mundane musts and shoulds of life. The more I hooped, the more I wanted to hoop. Personally, I loved having this new creative outlet and watching my body respond and re-form so quickly. I was also taking a lot of classes to learn all of the basic moves so I could teach them with a measure of confidence and grace. I had a million reasons to make time to get into the hoop and no good ones not to do so.
Eventually, some life-changing things happened that broke my daily streak, though I still held on to the hope that I’d get back to it when I could. In December, I started working forty hours and commuting another ten every week. Since then it’s been something of a miracle if I find any time at all for practice. Most weeks the only time I hooped was when I was teaching.
Last weekend, with the days getting longer, the weather finally warming up and knowing I was going to want to tone up a bit before getting back into my Hawaii clothes, I decided to kick-off a new daily hoop practice. My plan: To hoop daily, (at least until we leave for Hawaii) ideally, for a minimum of thirty minutes. So far, I’ve hooped all nine days. Many of them for more than thirty minutes, because once I get going, I rarely feel like stopping.
Here are a few things I’ve realized after just nine days of daily practice.
When I hoop every day–even when I’m tired, even when I’ve had a terrible day and just want to space out, even when I don’t care at all about plans or repercussions of not following through–I reconnect with my Self aka my inner Goddess, the part of me that is creative and instinctive and wise and responsive and ALIVE.
I have always had the heart of a rebel, bucking the system in my own quiet way for much of my life. I was always a ‘road less traveled’ kind of girl. I don’t particularly care for most rules. From the beginning, the hoop facilitated an amazing revolution in my life. It gave me a vehicle through which to express the part of myself that needs to experiment and challenge the status quo–that will only be satisfied when I know for myself. The revolution of the hoop around the body has demonstrated to me, time after time, that by getting into my center and acting from there, the choices I make are aligned with my core values. When I push against the edges of that which feels comfortable and ‘safe’ the hoop is an instant feedback loop, showing me where I’m out of alignment or out of rhythm and need to make corrections in order for what I’m doing to work.
Just a few moments in the hoop and I feel like a kid, again. I don’t know about you, but lately the stuff going on around me feels pretty intense and some days the pressure is unrelenting. Stepping into the hoop spins all of that stuff out of my energy field and I feel my joyful spirit surfacing. I become ageless and buoyant and free.
Hooping strengthens the core and increases the body’s responsiveness. The benefits of this alone makes hooping one of the best exercise options known to wo/man. A strong core affords the body a beautiful, natural posture and good balance. In a regular hoop practice we become increasingly aware of our own rhythm and attuned to the rhythm of the hoop (or what is going on around us…). We dance with the hoop as we dance with life. In order to respond rather than react, we must develop our ability to feel our body from the inside and so we know when it is time to push and when it is time to let go, when to straighten and when to bend, when to hit hard and when to return to flow. Our ability to respond gracefully to life increases in kind.
Strength, resilience, patience, flexibility, grace, power, right action and fun. These are just a handful of the rewards of a daily hoop dance practice. You can do it. If you do, you will see for yourself a beautiful difference in your body and your mind. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with daily practice. Until then, hoop on!