December is the month of light, peace and generosity....so it totally makes sense for this month I share some hints on what to get the hooper in your life...or you can just leave these open on your computer for someone to discover and bam...happy hooper ;)
My first idea....it's about your banged up well loved hoop...she could do with a makeover I bet! Hoop tape is not meant to last forever...you might be super careful with it but chances are if you got 1 year out of it and it's not in tatters you are amazing.
Connect with your local hoopsmith and see what tape they have in stock. Know your hooper's favourite colours? Let your hoop maker get creative and come up with an original design! Depending on how crazy your design is the price could start from $20 and up. Want to speed up the process? Clean off your tattered hoop for your hoop maker;)
Every hoop dancer needs some tunes...you could go with something meditative, world beats, top 40...or if you're a bit lost a gift card for music is totally the safe bet.
You know what a total treat is? A large open space with awesome ceilings...especially in these dark, cold wintery months. If you could hook up a hoop dancer with a beautiful indoor space for an hour or two they will be your friend forever. Supply the water and music - hoop dance heaven!
New hoop clothes...this could be a tricky one...what does your hooper like to dance in? Has your hooper friend recently worn a hole into her leg warmers? Big toe sticking out of her ballet flats? Tank tops looking tired? Your favourite clothes shop probably has some workout gear - your local dance shop probably has some awesome leggings too...
I've saved the best for last...well I can think of several awesome things but this one made the cut...a hoop dance experience is by far the best thing you could give your hooper friend (or yourself). Either a class, private session, workshop or a full on retreat! The chance to fully immerse into hoop dance even for one hour is such a treat. Your hooper will love you forever!
Find out what is happening in your hoop community and book something for your 'friend' :)
I hope you found one of these ideas helpful for the hooper on your shopping list. There are still a few days left to get their special something!
This month I have some fun ideas for you...especially those of you who are closet hoopers!
I'm not looking to change you but I do want to offer some ideas about how to get connected, increase your confidence (if that's an issue) and have more fun in the hoop!
This month I'm exploring ways to make myself look better while hoop dancing. I'm not talking about hair and makeup or costumes...although those are FUN...I'm talking about grace and lines.
Over on my Facebook page I have a series of weekly posts rolling out this month where I pick one element for us to work on together. The challenge is to really focus on these during a song. You can add in a 2nd focus when you are ready - and if you are a total rock star then do all 5 at once...but I wanna see video of you! ;)
So here are my top 5 tips for improving your dance within your hoop:
This month I hooped it up with some beautiful hoopers in Charlottetown - Robyn of Hoop Bloom had a special workshop for us. It was all about mindfulness and our patterns. We discovered how we have these hoop dance patterns and how they can be broken - and how much freedom we can find in breaking these patterns!
The deepest message I took from this workshop was about the beginner's mindset. The idea is when we take this approach in trying a new trick, new sequence or skill, our minds take on a curiosity and openness. I thought that was so cool.
I've been hooping for 3 years and by no stretch of the imagination do I think I'm advanced...um no...one click on Youtube will shut down that idea fast! I have my my go-to tricks and I feel super skilled when I'm in that flow state just dancing. Well, I got to put this beginner mindset into practice during our workshop.
Here's how it all went down:
That ol' learning curve...
Sometimes it is steep, sometimes it's a nice gradual climb. It's those steep ones that feel intense! Like when I had to learn how to use my camera and make videos and edit them and holy the steps! Or that time I started hula hooping just for fun in my living room...had I known that there would be tricks and dancing involved...I had no idea what was waiting for me!
How are you doing with your learning curve? Have you plateaued? It's totally normal to hit those plateaus...and then the learning curve will start up again once you find a new trick you want to tackle. This has been my pattern - although I am only 3 years into Hoop Dance.
Here are my tips for avoiding frustration and staying motivated in my hoop dance practice:
Give one or 2 of these a go - tell me how you get along - remember that point about connection with our community;)
Are you getting my monthly emails of hoop love and wisdom? Better get on that!
Ok, first of all - many of you are asking 'WHAT IS A HOOP JAM?'
A hoop jam is an informal gathering for all levels of hoopers - brand new beginner hoopers right through to super fancy advanced hoopers. Sometimes other flow toys show up (poi, staff, wand for example) and that's cool!
Some jams are held indoors which is great in winter or rainy weather. Duh. Outdoor jams have the advantage of a beautiful view and no ceilings. Attending a jam in a park often means there is no charge.
A Jam is a place to play, connect, explore your movement style and get inspired by other hoopers.
There is no official lesson given but hoopers by nature will tend to help you out if you are stuck and ask for feedback.
So what do you do at a jam? Usually there is music, probably there will be an extra hoop or two to borrow. It's always a polite gesture to check with the host. It is not cool to take your borrowed hoop home - this probably goes without saying - but I'll say it anyway - hula hoop materials cost money and time to create - you can ask your host about purchasing a hoop and they will be more than happy to hook you up!
For many a hoop jam is like recess - you get to let loose and do your thing inside your hoop! Hoop jams could be held during the day, evening or night (ooh LED or fire hoop jams are coming up at our retreat this summer!) Usually there are not any LED or Fire hoops available to borrow as these are costly investments and require safety!
Hoop jams are a happy space - not a place to show off or feel competitive.
In a class you can expect a warm up, exploring certain hoop moves or drills, tricks broken down and perhaps sequences of tricks. A cool down usually wraps up a class. With a hoop jam you get to determine your pace, intensity and what tricks you want to work on if any. A lot of hoopers just go with the flow and use this time to hang out and chat while waist hooping.
There are really no rules except have fun and be respectful!
I'm a list maker - if you could see my desk you would see countless post it notes, to do lists, notebooks full of important stuff (at the moment at least). I feel like I have to get it out of my head and on paper so I can remember it better...it's just how I process information - ah the visual learner! I'm sharing this because I recently was weighing the pros and cons of hooping indoors vs. outdoors. Now that I can get outside and practice I am reconnecting with some tricks that I haven't spent any time on because I've been stuck inside. I made a little video for you of 4 fun moves I like to bust out when I am outside - no ceiling limits - perhaps some wind or bumpy terrain to deal with but oh man! No ceilings! That has to be the biggest advantage to outdoor hoop dancing!
What do you like to do outside when hooping? Here is what my pros and cons list looks like for an outdoor hoop practice:
pro: no ceiling = big tosses, sunshine, beautiful locations, people see me and I get to spread the hoop love
con: hoop rolls away and it goes far, temperature / weather, surface challenges, strangers interrupting my practice, allergies
Have I missed any? Can you think of any others?
I hope you can join me this summer if you are in Charlottetown - so many fun things planned for our hoop community including a hoop retreat, a mindfulness workshop by Hoop Bloom, more hoop workshops in New London and some weekly park jams all through July and August!
Come get in on the hoop fun I dish out each month by email: http://eepurl.com/T_ZR5
I always want to look like a circus performer - perfectly executed tricks, no fumbles, impeccable timing and set to a killer song. Always.
Is this realistic? Um...of course not! High expectations for a perfect song or sequence of tricks is such a trap! And I totally know better - so I have come up with some tips that have helped me - and I hope they help you too!
Check in with myself - What am I doing here? What is my goal? A fun little play to a couple of songs? A drilling session on that trick I couldn't get last time? A workout for my core? My reverse direction? By getting clear with myself before I even start allows me to set clear expectations for what I hope to get out of my time in the hoop.
Make small goals - Perhaps you have heard the common strategy of SMART goals? Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (or some similar variation). What this strategy leaves out is the size of our goals! My goal is to be able to bend backwards and go from standing into a bridge. Great! How about we work on stretching first, perhaps do some yoga, look up a few back mobility tutorials? It all starts with one baby step and it's great to have a map of where to go next.
Make time to PLAY - It is great to be diligent and have a notebook to keep on track with what you want to accomplish in your hoop practice. Like, that is awesome and I wish I was that organized! What often happens when we go off the agenda and have a few play songs to really connect with just our dance or the song - not judging ourselves or checking to see how awesome we look in the mirror - to just dance and play for ourselves - that's when the magic happens! Making time to play as a part of your practice will allow new ideas to flow, new moves to be discovered (ahem...I have a tutorial for a new (to me) move I can't wait to share with you all!) and bliss achieved. And isn't bliss the complete opposite of feeling defeat and frustration?
Keep picking it up - Dropping is normal, it's learning, it's our body getting smarter and our brain developing new pathways. Reframe how you think about dropping the hoop! When it drops, use that as an opportunity to pick it up with flare! Get creative, use only your foot, try spinning when you pick it up, get groovy and bust out some awesome moves before you pick it up, as you pick it up and after you pick it up! We can't grow if we don't make mistakes and how we react to those mistakes can deeply affect how we see ourselves and our abilities. This goes for your hoop practice or for your career (yes, I'm a career counsellor too!).
Set it aside - Are you constantly missing that move that just won't click? Pissing you off to no end and then BAM you smack yourself on the bridge of your nose with your hoop? Oh yea...been there! Time to set that move aside and get back into that happy place - take a deep breath and re-centre. I have found that moves that just won't click after hours and weeks of trying to get it will magically happen with ease after letting it simmer for a little while. I think sometimes we want something so much it won't happen when we try so hard. Our mind and body need time to figure it out and by drilling and missing over and over we are programming the wrong muscle memory. So set that hard to get trick aside and come back to it after some time has passed and you will see how some simmer time can unlock a brilliant hoop move or two;)
I hope these tips help you in reaching a happier hoop practice, a healthier approach to those frustrating moments we all have inside our hoops.
I would love to hear your experiences with your practice and how you have saved yourself from the hoop - comment below, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/revolutionhoopdance) and follow on Instagram (@carronhoops) and subscribe to The Hoop Loop - a monthly email with tips, tricks, updates and all the goings on!
I find it is quite easy to get sucked into the quest for perfection in my hoop dance. To 'nail' a trick and even have a move synced up with music...it's like that's all I work for when I pick up my hoop. To feel like a professional performer even if it's just for 5 seconds...I catch myself doing this in my home office, my kitchen gets a lot of playtime, even the hallway gets to become my stage.
My intentions are automatic - pick up hoop, try to feel like a star. What usually happens, is something closer to: pick up hoop, look for phone to play music, walk around with hoop on my shoulder till I find one of the kids with my phone, negotiate with said child, find song, attempt Lisa Lottie style body roll down the back to catch with the foot while in a not so graceful arabesque, chase hoop into next room, serve hot dogs again for supper.
This is my life, trying to squeeze in a bit of imaginary stardom - once in a while it does work though! Most of the time I am recovering from a major blooper.
Did you know that a raw potato cut in half will unscrew a broken light bulb from its socket?
Did you know Mr Clean Magic Eraser cleans up walls, ceilings, kitchen cupboards and floors from gaffer skid marks?
Did you know that 8x8 is just enough room to waist hoop...and no other tricks at all?
Did you know that 37 inch hoops are just that much too big to do tricks inside the house standing up and kneeling?
Did you know that popcorn ceilings are really hard to clean / hide your hoop skid marks?
I know these from personal experience - all great lessons in there...and a lot of laughs too. If you have any bloopers come share them with us and let us laugh along with you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hooperbloopers/ is your safe place to post your awkward moves and hoop screw ups. Even Lisa Lottie shared a blooper ...we are all human...so ditch that perfection quest and enjoy the journey!
Carron is passionate about all things HOOP, improving your hoop dance practice and creating a hoop dance community!