|LIFE cover by Bill Ray|
My interest had been sparked again and before that trip home and I had seen some hooping videos of very talented people. I wanted to learn how to do that.
My dear friend not only insisted that I could do it, but that she could teach me during that quick trip home.
All I needed was a "grown up" hoop, she told me.
I was oh so skeptical. But she met us at the hotel room with a variety of hoops she had made. That time at the hotel was precious. My clumsy attempts at hooping and my son's natural ability to spin that thing around his waist in both directions. Oh, we laughed and had a wonderful time.
Yes, indeed, I only needed a hula hoop that was larger and weighed more than those tiny things sold at the dollar stores. I practiced with the hoops she brought and she sent one home with me. My friend, Heather, has since provided the written directions for a DIY hula hoop. Because I am a visual and hands-on learner, I found this tutorial with another gal making hoops with the same method.
Nowadays, hula hooping is just called hooping. It is popular among children and adults. It reportedly has many benefits including exercise, core strengthening, and sheer enjoyment. I believe those claims. Especially the claim of elevating mood.
Occasionally, I take my hoop to work. Some skeptics there insist that they won't be able to hoop. Almost always, they can hoop with my big old circle of plastic love. And we laugh and laugh. It's not as hard to learn as you think. I am not a hooping teacher but I can give you a few tips.
- Don't try to use those little toy hoops from the dollar or big box stores
- Do use a "weighted" or adult sized hoop - there are more expensive exercise hoops at sporting goods stores or you can make your own for a few bucks
- Make sure you start with one that is tall enough - standing on the floor it should reach your belly button (mine is a few inches taller than that because I did have such a hard time getting started)
- Experiment with sizes and widths of hoops
- Don't give up
- If you don't have a friend to teach you, use a tutorial online or buy an instructional book with a DVD such as Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program
- Figure out which way spins better for you - clockwise or counter clockwise - around your hips. You will have one way that is much more natural than the other direction.
- Practice - practice often and with your favorite music.
I don't hoop often enough. Now and then I move the chairs out of my teeny living room, I play some good music, and I spin that plastic around my hips. Every time I hoop I feel good afterwards. People swear there is a spiritual and healing quality related to hooping. I've come to believe them.
I imagine the day that I'll be able to do tricks with my hoops, because after all, I know now that I can.
Written by Dawn Rae
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