aRound Anniversary JOY

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I didn’t always hoop. In fact,  I never even touched a hoop until I was 47 years old. Nevertheless, I have had abundant joy around me. With each passing year, each holiday, each birthday, each anniversary, each event, I reflect with more clarity. There is joy in my life. It’s a simple fact. Joy is there for the taking when we open our eyes.

After 33 years of marriage, I can REALLY see the joy everywhere in my life. Where it was hiding, how I tried to disguise it, when I let it slip away, who I felt it most with, what brought it around me the most and when I decided to let it take over. Joy became the most key element at some point and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

So, did the hoop have anything to do with this? Considering that I discovered hooping 23 years into my marriage, I can truthfully say “no”…I had lots of joy before I ever picked up a hoop. I think accepting the fact that I WAS around so much joy and being grateful actually allowed me to have my eyes more open to opportunities for more joy. Yes, you read that correctly. Joy led me to the hoop.

At some point after my youngest son graduated from high school, I just felt it was time to to not let the journey of “who I want to be” suddenly end. I knew feelings that were no where near joy. I had already experienced loss and many disappointments. So I decided to begin listening to those little happy feelings more deeply… and I would see what resonated with me most. What did I get a true sense of joy doing? That was how identified with hooping and knew I had to give it more than just a passing try. Sure glad I stuck with it. Did I have to seek outside my comfort zone, my family life and the day-to-day normalcy to embrace the hoop? Absolutely. Sometimes joy has a pull on your heart so strong. I knew this was something that would make me better in the long run, for my health and for my husband. It’s been a real blessing.

As I take a peek back into the past 33 years, however, I can say without question that I wasn’t always seeing the joy in each day. Marriage is always a work in progress. Raising children is THE HARDEST JOB in the world. I remember not being very happy on many days. Somehow, we made it through. Seeing the boys grow into real people, having their own way of doing things, being interesting individuals, THAT was when the bigger joy started happening. We taught them good morals and to care about others. We’ve accepted that it’s those two qualities that are the most important. I’m proud to keep modeling this to my family with my business. Our sons may be grown, but they still look at what we do and can learn by example. Seeing your grown children become successful is such a gift and joy! When you know they had to really struggle with ADHD and autism to get where they are in life, yet now are happy, productive adults, though? That makes the joy even sweeter, let me tell you!

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As for my husband and I, being a couple again, having time for each other…THAT brings me the most joy. The hoop helps me move and stay vital, so I can continue to be active in my life. I want to still FEEL younger, have that youthful, playful spirit well into our 40th and 50th years of marriage…and thankfully, hooping will allow that.  How do I know this? Well, I have students who are a walking testimony, hooping in retirement brings them such joy! I’m watching and learning, to be sure!

 

 

Why You Should Look Up

I get asked everyday to troubleshoot problems that my hoop training clients are experiencing. They come to me with questions…I give some suggestions and tips to try. One that is always helpful in almost every situation is very simple, but often forgotten about. It’s easy to do and anyone can do it, although it’s sometimes the last thing you would think to do. See, it all starts with your eyes and where you are focusing them. YES, it’s just that easy! Here’s a few reasons why you should look up…

  • When you look up, you are putting yourself in uplifted state of mind. You think taller, lighter…and thus, you are happier. This can effect your attitude during hoop practice, for sure. Even if you don’t hoop (yet), pay attention to where you are focusing your eyes as you go about your day and then check your attitude at that moment. Try looking up and see if you feel a shift in how you “feel”…this is actually a great pre-hooping practice.
  • Focusing up puts your body in the correct posture for successful hooping and proper technique. You only need to refer to the first bullet point to understand that when you think taller you actually stand straight and tall…so this is all related to remembering to look up so you can place the body in the right alignment with more ease.
  • You can hoop while not looking up, but if you want to have that confident, fluid style, looking proud, motivated and happy, then looking up will help you accomplish that. Again, refer to the previous two bullet points. This is all tied in together. See how this is all related?
  • Now, in this short post, I’m not going to technically break down each move and explain how looking up helps specifically. Just know that the concept of correct posture matters in ANY move. A wonderful side benefit from hooping, when done properly, is better posture, ANYTIME, not just when  hooping. It all starts with looking up, whether you have the hoop with you or not.
  • When you look up, others can see your face, and if you seem uplifted, it makes your hooping more inviting and a pleasing experience for the observer. If you want to share more joy, let others  feel it, hooping is perfect for that. If you want to do more connecting with others and attract more joy, just think about your gaze, where you are looking and what your face is saying to those watching you.
  • Perhaps the biggest reason why I have trained myself to not tilt my head down is due to my inner ear issues and fear of triggering another vertigo attack. Looking down while turning can make you dizzy. Nobody wants that. I suffer from vertigo occasionally, but I digress. That’s a topic for another day. Just keep your gaze up and look with intention at objects, focal points, as you turn. I’ll go into more of this in a future post.

What if you want to look down while hooping?

I realize, at times, you JUST want to peek down, see what’s happening, perhaps, with the hoop spinning on the body…it’s inevitable. My best advise is to find a reflection to watch yourself in…a mirror, if accessible, a window or glass door…or sometimes even a vehicle if it has enough flat, shiny area on the side. You can also just glance down PERIODICALLY with your eyes, while not moving your head down…you eyelids will almost looked closed, but your shoulders, head and chin should remain up. Use that as a little technique whenever you feel the urge to look down. It takes some practice, but if you focus on small eye movement, keeping the other body parts in alignment, it will become your new normal.

Enjoy this short video and get inspired. Again, even if you are not hooping right now, looking up can help brighten you day. It’s never a bad thing to try and develop into a daily habit.  You’ll be that much more prepared to start hooping!

 

 

I also have a more recent video, recorded “live” over on my Facebook page…I speak about the physical pain that looking down can cause. So, head on over and watch that, too. While you’re there, stick aRound a few minutes, like, follow, comment and connect with me there if you haven’t already! I regularly make daily live videos on various, informative topics, including hooping, and so much more!

Oh, and don’t forget! I have a free waist hooping video series that also explains more about how focusing up and posture are related…sign up anytime right here! It’s a great preview of what it’s like to train with me!

 

 

 

Amy Grant Hooping aRound The Christmas Tree

There’s a little something I knew but had forgotten! Well known singer, and one of MY favorite musical artists, Amy Grant, has been hooping for years! I recall seeing a YouTube video of her skills on the farm with friends several years ago. Recently, I learned she was now hoopin’ aRound the Christmas tree on her holiday concert tour!

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Thanks to videos on social media, we can all enjoy watching the festivities! A client retweeted a video on Twitter & alerted me! I also gave it a tweet-tweet & also looked up the hoopla on Facebook…here’s just some of the fun!

I mean, Y’ALL…how fun IS she?? Hoopin’ & rockin’ aRound that Christmas tree!

 

According to what I can find, she was hooping as far back as 2008 in a quick video outside what appears to be a sound recording studio. Now, let’s look back at Amy in another video from 2012, on the farm with friends…

 

I LOVE IT! The only thing is that she’s using a “weighted hoop”…and you know how I discourage use of those. I explain all that HERE.

Now, don’t get me wrong. That’s not to say that I am not THRILLED over the moon that Amy loves getting in a hoop and spinning with the music! Oh, it makes my heart sing! I just want you all to understand why a hoop like that isn’t the best choice…safety is the biggest concern….but more than that, there’s SO many more full body benefits you can experience with a custom size & weight (lighter) handmade hoop…using it off-body is SUCH an incredible arm workout. Hooping is SO much more than just spinning a heavy circle on your waist.

Of course, I did notice in that fun 2012 video there ARE other, lighter hoops spinning alongside Amy’s. I wonder if she is also using those sometimes? I hope so. Maybe Amy is like so many who think “more weight” is more beneficial for a workout. I hear that all the time. I know for sure she finds it easier to keep the hoop going! It’s very common. That’s what the weight IS good for…but that’s it. Lighter hoops work you out HARDER…again, I explain more details about the SIZE of lighter hoops HERE…bigger is easier, but it doesn’t have to be much heavier than 1.5 – 2 pounds. Any more than that and you can bruise, hurt internal organs and you can’t use the heavy hoops for anything else but waist hooping.

A hoop helps more than just your waist,  keeping your “girlish figure” in tact! It’s got so many therapeutic benefits for those of us over 50, too! Opening up the upper body, flexibility in the shoulders AND hips as we get older, warding off arthritis even in our fingers, helping to keep them active as we use a hoop in our hands…even challenging the brain to LEARN a few tricks with our hands, using our mind, as if working a crossword puzzle, to make vital connections…thus, exercising our mental muscles, too! THAT is SO important as we age! None of that can be accomplished with a heavy, thick hoop.

STILL, with ALL that being said, I just love seeing the hoop circling Amy! I also now have something I want to do in my life while I’m still here to do it…I want to make Amy a pretty new hoop, give it to her and then teach her a few moves.

Yep, it could happen someday. You never know.

Hooping with Amy Grant. On my “Grown-Up Christmas List?”

Nope. Just on my bucket list!

 

7th Anniversary Mannequin Challenge

In celebration, my clients and I made a little 7th Anniversary Mannequin Challenge video!

It was just a quick, silly decision, but thanks to the talents of Paul Knudsen, who filmed this on his phone, it came out great!

 

 

See more photos over on my Facebook page or more over in the gallery on Paul’s website HERE

I not only had clients come that lived here locally…some drove from Plano and even as far as Temple, TX! Yes! She was one of my online training clients that I’d never met in person! She actually left with even better knowledge and more confidence in her hooping skills! We had a wonderful afternoon!

The HoopShack has been a labor of love…many changes in 7 years…but where has the time gone? From a warehouse teaching bigger classes, to a studio with private lessons and finally now, a guest house where I can still offer intimate private training & occasional get-togethers. Wherever I have trained clients, I always enjoy meeting and helping them!

When will you be joining us?

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Static and Dynamic Hoop Stretches

 

 

At first glance, hooping looks like simple play. Guess what? It is! That does not mean it isn’t effective and beneficial for the body, however. It provides great opportunity for both static and dynamic hoop stretches.

 

When you think of the hoop as a playmate, you really are partnering up with unlimited possibilities for better health. You know I have spoken about the physical and mental benefits for years, and I will continue to do so. Always.

 

 

Right now I’d like you to take a look at the video in this post. While you may notice what FUN it looks like, step back and really pay attention. Everyone is really moving with their hoops and the parts of their bodies that are getting the most benefit.

You will notice everyone doing different things…but try to focus less on the hoop and look at body parts…arms, legs, hands, feet, back, hips, shoulders, neck and even the face. We are in constant motion, some higher intensity than others, but always moving, keeping the hoop touching us somehow. Maybe we are simply holding it. Perhaps it’s on our body spinning. We transition between the two gently and smoothly. We are even SMILING, which uses muscles in our face…that means we are feeling HAPPY…and there is nothing wrong with working on those happiness muscles, either!

Did we get there overnight? NO. Did it take practice? YES. Did it feel like work? Absolutely not at all! It felt like playtime. Even though it was not, still is not and may never be perfection, it is always progress…and each time we pick up our hoop, we are STILL moving, getting better with our moves, but also getting beautiful stretching and cardio all rolled up into one motion!

So that you’ll better understand the fitness side of hooping better, let’s get technical for a minute and step off the playground…

What ARE the stretches & when are they done?

Plenty of stretches, included in my full Warm Up & Stretch sequence, are actually done throughout your hoopdance anytime you are hooping. It’s what we do in the first part of a solid hoop practice. DYNAMIC stretches closely mimic movements made during hoopdance, so the Warm Up & Stretch sequence really PREPARES  you to HOOP by moving and reviewing slowly what you are about to do. STATIC stretches are used to improve flexibility, plus help cool your body down after you hoop, and are therefore done when the body is standing still. We always get our body warm with movement before doing any stretches standing still. This prevents injury to the muscles. Once we have used parts of our body, the muscles can then be gently stretched mid-practice and as we cool down.

Perhaps one of the most beautifully beneficial things about hooping and hoopdance practice is that it actually IS one, big, happy DYNAMIC STRETCH! Think about it! When we hoop, we get to keep moving gently and repeatedly, doing the same motions, again and again. Those movements, over time, open up & lubricate joints, lengthen & tone muscles, increase range of motion and alleviate pain. Consider our Warm Up & Stretch sequence simply hoopdance, slowed down enough to prepare our body and mind for the exercise. If all you do at home is warm up & stretch, you are still making the hoop a part of your day, you will reap rewards over time, which will include becoming more flexible and relaxed.

Other healthy benefits!

Now that you understand more how dynamic and static stretches are a part of hoopdance, when you watch the video again, look at our movements and notice how we incorporate the hoop to add a little extra resistance to our body weight that is pushing or guiding the hoop. Those muscles we are using, from our heads to our toes, are all getting a workout. Depending on the intensity, hooping can be very high cardio or, when you need/want to slow it down, it’s still giving you great benefits on your joints in a very no-to-low impact way!

Another bonus? Switching between cardio intensities, creating short periods ranging from high to rest, is called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of exercise is what hooping is ALL about and a major reason why you can achieve weight loss goals with a hoop effectively.