Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Confessions of a hula hoop girl: Hula Hooping in the Winter

winter hooping collage courtesy of HoopMe // Maria Randolph

Winter Hula Hooping

It's here again! The snow and the blustering cold. Welcome back winter. Any hooper that experiences the winter climate can relate to the difficulties that can be faced when trying to hula hoop in the the snow and freezing cold. Bringing the hoop inside can limit some of the stuff we are dying to work on. It can be frustrating to feel the limitations that winter brings. Seasons change and sometimes, we change with them. Someone recently asked me to write a little bit about hooping in the winter... So here it goes!

How do I adapt? The transition from warm weather into the cold months actually does something to my attitude. Many people face seasonal depression. We don't get to see the sun as often, spend more time inside, it's dark by 4pm. It becomes more of a burden to go outside and get my hula on. Where did my yard go? Pretty soon my prime location for hooping is going to be covered under a few feet of snow for the next 3 months and summer seems so far away.

And then there are the attempts to hoop in my house. If you're lucky, you have enough space to waist hoop without whacking into anything. Hoop dancing inside my house definitely puts constraint on my practice. I have a ceiling fan which presents some challenges as well. Passing the hoop around my body? Forget it. I feel like each movement I make is followed by a nervous look around me to make sure there is nothing I'm going to smash into. This is what I call the "flow vs. furniture" war. I have rearranged my living room and kitchen several times to try and find just the right amount of space. It's like a puzzle I'm trying to solve, and it's usually a pretty funny mess to put back together.

I've still always managed to hula hoop no matter what season. Winter has never stopped me before. I  actually think that I have more of a desire to hula in the winter. It's like when someone tells you can't do something and you want to do it that much more. The precious moments that I get to hoop are very much appreciated. I think I have also learned to get more creative with my flow. Here's a few things I can recommend to any hooper trying to combat the winter hoopin blues:

Call on your community
*Find a weekly indoor hoop jam or class. If there isn't one: try and create your own! Rec centers and gymnasiums have plenty of room. This is a great way to get other hoopers together. Invite friends to play music. Make an event out of it. If there is a class that might be out of your skill range, ask if you could participate anyway and work on some of your stuff. Unless the class is really intensive, the instructor might not mind  and be flexible for you. I always leave a chunk of time in class for free flow, a time when people can work on absolutely whatever.

*Now, as far as fashion goes, don't quote me on anything. I'm not an expert. I'm known for being somewhat thrifty and wearing what is comfortable. But there are a few staples in my winter wardrobe as a hooper...

...Leggings underneath shorts are my favorite. My legs will be kept warm but I can still hoop on my legs. There are certain tricks and certain places on the body that are very difficult to practice with loose or baggy clothing.

( comfy hooping in the studio )

...Layering is helpful. You can always remove or add layers if you are outside hula hooping and you find you're getting too hot (workin up a sweat, alright!) or too cold. A thin vest, a t-shirt under a long sleeve, zip ups, sweaters..

...fingerless gloves are your friend!

( Etsy )

...Boots! I have these boots that are lined with faux fur and they keep me SO warm. They are tall and stop just before my knee.

...Long stockings. They make a great addition to the shorts/legging combo. It's additional warmth for the legs but not too bulky.

...Cotton, hemp, linen, and clothes with natural fibers are the best material for hooping

...Polyester/synthetic/silky fabrics will cause the hoop to slip and slide more

...ear muffs and hats that don't fall off easily

...Avoid jackets and coats that are too bulky. It can be done but might make waist hooping a lot more challenging. Check out Janelle in this video: She is still bundled up and can weave the hoop and create a nice little diddy without her clothes getting in the way!

Hooping Inside
*Adapt a certain style of hoop dance when hooping inside. Try keeping the hoop off your body but close to your core. Check out this video for reference. You might make a breakthrough on a new flow!

`*If you are lucky enough to have multiple rooms to hoop in, challenge yourself to drill a certain move when you are in that room. If I'm in my bedroom watching TV I get down on practicing my chest breaks. When I'm in the living room I have a bit more room but I drill my isolations, and hooping on one leg.

*Make a game out of it. Try to make it a point not to hit into anything. See how long you can keep the hoop going before you run into the vacuum or the recliner.

And now a few words of wisdom from some other Maine Hoopers:

Amanda: My hoop jams definitely keep me sane! Also hooping in the living room or kitchen, on-body, but it still is great to be moving! Every winter I swear I'm going to watch my poi DVD and learn it. Maybe I'll really do it this year! I could also go through my YouTube hoop tutorial list I've been saving for later to watch and my flow wand tutorial list. Lots of learning to be had indoors while I wait for spring!

Emmie: Im lucky enough to have 10 ft ceilings, but I think its time to fire hoop in the snow to keep warm!

Maria: I combat the winter hooping limitations in a number of ways and every year looks s bit different than the year before. It depends on where I am at in the hoop journey and in life's journey. Primarily just listening to what's going on in my head and being willing to be flexible in terms of space.

I'll end this post with a photo of me hooping last year in the North Maine Woods: Allagash, ME

(just to put it into perspective for you. It's the north pole.)
Bring it on winter. We're ready for you!

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