Why hula hooping?
I've long dreamed of hosting hoop classes here at Garden of Yoga - hooping has so many benefits and it's so much fun!!
I had a chat with our fabulous hoop teacher Donna Sparx about what makes hooping so special...
What do you love about hooping?
It's a toy and a tool. It's playful and it's deep. It's a circle and a guide. In all honesty, it's ridiculously fun and is great for fitness (the body), meditation and inner stillness (the spirit), neuroplasticity (the mind) as well as a fab creative outlet. It is a pathway to flow state and a mirror. It reflects back to me how I am travelling ,where I am at, how I am feeling and always, always brings me back to centre and makes me laugh.
What are some of the health benefits?
Hula hooping burns 10 calories per minute, strengthens and tones your core, improves coordination, improves digestion and circulation as the hoop massages our bodies as it moves, and it’s FUN!
Hooping enhances neuroplasticity, the brains ability to rewire itself. As we learn new movements we create new connections between our brains and our muscles, improving proprioception and co-ordination - and enhancing our cognitive ability outside of the hoop!
What are some of the emotional and mental health benefits?
Hooping provides a healthy release for tension and pent-up feelings of anxiety by incorporating movement, breath, repetition and giving you something else to focus on. I’ve hooped myself through intense anxiety and major stresses. There’s nothing quite like cranking up the tunes, dancing with a hoop and letting everything else spin away.
It also provides a sense of achievement By setting hoop goals and practising, practising, practising, you begin to notice progress. It never ceases to amaze me that, no matter how hard a new trick may seem, if I dedicate enough time to it, eventually I hit that can’t-believe-I’m-doing-it moment and I finally nail it. Experiencing this within the hoop has empowered me to set goals in other areas of my life.
I wasn’t born a hula hooper. I never did gymnastics or circus. I always looked those kind of people as different to me. Hula hooping opens the mind to new possibilities, people, thoughts, festivals and community. It challenges us to think of ourselves and the world around us differently.
Is hooping accessible or adaptable for different ages and body types?
Absolutely! That's what I love about it. My students range from 3 to 73, including a range of abilities and body shapes and sizes. It's also accessible and adaptable for a variety of moods and personalities too ;) With a supportive teacher, hooping is accessible for everyone!
What is your advice for someone who tried hooping and 'couldn't do it'?
When people say this, it's usually in relation to waist hooping. And, my response is generally the same. First of all, were you using the right size hoop for your body? For most people it needs to be at least 100cm diameter to even have a chance of it working. Also, were you making big circles with your hips? This will slow down the hoop and it will then fall down. You need a single directional push to keep the hoop spinning. Lastly did you practise? I actually prefer the term playtrise. It's my own word and it's a cross between play and practise. Because practise doesn't have to be gruelling. It can be FUN!
Sounds pretty awesome right?