|Photo Credit: Anita Louise McCormick|
Hippy Go Lucky Hoops at the Bangor YMCA
So maybe you heard about this hula hooping craze? Kelly Osbourne attributes her recent weight loss to sensible eating and fun fitness workouts like hooping. Oprah Winfrey celebrates the success of a new film with her hoop. First lady Obama has been an advocate for health an fitness and has been spotted hooping.
Maybe you've been to a concert this summer, or a fair, or farmer's market and you spotted one of those giant, colorful adult hoops that actual adults were using. And just maybe you got your hands on your very own hoop. Now what?
I encourage everyone to try a hoop dance class! Hoop classes are popping up everywhere. It's a great way to meet other hoopers in your community. The instructor will probably have lots of advice, tips and tricks to share with you...and also a good variety of hoop sizes for your to experiment with. Hooping alone or simply learning from tutorials on the computer is certainly one way to learn...but there is something really fun that you get out of a class that you don't get by yourself.
I can't speak for every instructor, because each class is different...but I wanted to share some insight as to what goes on in one of my classes and what you can expect!
It's okay to be nervous.
A lot of the ladies that come to class seem a bit hesitant and nervous. "I've never done this before!" Or..."It's been 30 years since I've done this!" Are usually what start our conversation. At the start of each class I welcome everyone with a smile and pass out hoops. Many of my students are regulars and have a favorite hoop that they like to use. First timers are encouraged to try out several different sizes to find the right fit. I always recommend a big one..contrary to popular belief that smaller hoops are easier. The best way to see if a hoop feels right for you is to give it a spin!
I usually start class with some basic waist hooping warm ups. Some people get this right away and other people need more practice. The class is designed for everyone to work at their own pace. It's not boot camp -- We are here to do something quirky and have fun. People are working up a sweat before they know it! I give tips on how to keep the hoop moving around your waist, what to do with your hands and feet, and I encourage people to close their eyes, take deep breaths and find a way to meditate into your hoop practice.
Changing it up
In several classes, I have done an exercise that allows everyone in class to try a different size hoop. This helps to see the difference it makes when using a smaller/larger/weighted hoop. It helps people to find their preference. After a few short months, I've had students that enjoy a variety and others that have a few that they tend to stick to.
I try to move away from waist hooping for a little while and do several other activities. Sometimes people that aren't getting the hang of waist hooping need a change, or otherwise they will become bored or frustrated. This is a good time to work on some off the body movements.
Getting funky and fun!
My style of teaching is all about having fun and being quirky. A technique I learned from Maria at Maine Hoop Day is to blindfold your students! We also practice moving from one end of the studio to the other. And always, at the end of each class, I put on the disco ball and everyone jams out...This is a time to reflect on what we have learned and work on developing your own hoop flow and style.
*The things I am showing you took me a really long time to learn! Don't worry if you don't pick it up in the first try, or even the first 100 tries!
*Practice makes progress
*Dropping the hoop and sending it flying across the room are common occurrences. It means you are challenging yourself!
My hoop dance class is held at the Bangor YMCA each Tuesday at 4:15. I encourage you to drop by! Hoops are provided, funky tunes, and always some smiling faces.