Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Finding flow inside your hula hoop

What the heck does it mean to "flow" with your hula hoop? Flowing means different things to different people, and I'm not going to attempt to slap it with a single definition. Flow to me is moving effortlessly with your hoop. It's being lost in the movements and really connecting with your circle. Feeling it move around your body, hearing the sounds it makes as it slaps against your skin when you're practicing breaks. Rhythm. Transition. Doing what feels right.

I hear a lot of hoopers asking things on hoop forums like: "when am I going to find my flow," "I've been hooping for x amount of months, and I still can't find it!" There's a really important key to knowing when you will find it, and the answer is simple: You find it when you aren't looking for it!

It's kind of like searching for a soul mate. If you look too hard for the love of your life, you're never going to find them. If you end up forcing it, it's just not going to work. You gotta let it happen naturally.

When I first started hula hooping in 2009, I did not have a flow whatsoever. My main focus was keeping my hoop spinning around my waist for more than 10 rotations without falling to the ground. I was anything but graceful. The hoop was wonky. I made silly faces (still guilty of this.) I had classic 't-rex' arms. As happy as I am to have evolved and learned a lot since then, I honestly miss those days in the beginning. Everything was exciting, each little tiny bit of progress meant something big. It's almost like the more you learn, the harder you beat yourself up for not knowing more and improving faster.

I went from waist hooping to learning lasso. From there...my flow was born. I honestly don't know when I found it. And I really don't even recognize it if it's happening. It just does.

So don't get frustrated with yourself if you aren't feeling it. The best thing you can do is stop obsessing over it. Get off the computer, step away from youtube tutorials and just go pick up your hoop! Here's a list of a few things I can think of that might help you in your practice.

*Forget the tricks for a while. I love a good tutorial when I'm trying to learn something new. We all have our favorites. But spend some time just moving freely about. Waist hoop, execute tricks that you know. Practice smoothing things out. Feel your hoop and what it's doing. Obsessing over learning tricks is ambitious, but spend time enjoying the simplicity of dancing with a hoop.

*Transitions and combos. Try connecting the dots. For example, I recently just learned palm spins. My all time favorite combo right now is a palm spin into a chest roll. Pick two or three moves that compliment each other. Practicing transitions is important too. An off body move such as weaving from side to side and then jumping through the hoop and putting it onto the body is a great transition move.

*It's great to have hoop crushes and people you really admire. Inspiration is key. But don't compare yourself! It's easy to get lost in hoop videos on instagram and facebook and think to yourself, why can't I do that!? We're all guilty of it. Just know that your flow is unique to you and that's what makes hula hooping so special. Everyone has their own style.

*Music! What are you listening to? Try changing your tunes to something funky. I love reggae when I want to really jam, and that's not even a genre I listen to on the regular! Try all different types. This is why I especially love hooping with Pandora Radio. Different speeds can get your to do different things. And sometimes, It's good to hoop without any music at all! Try it and see what happens.

*Blind folding. This is something that I used to do with my students at the YMCA. This concept was first introduced to me by Mariah Randolph at Maine Hoop Day in 2011. I felt ridiculous, but it changed things for me. For one, I wasn't concerned with how I looked to other people - because I knew they weren't watching! Also, it got my mind off of how things looked and allowed me to focus on the feeling of the hoop and what my body needed to do to offer support.

*This is one of my favorite things to do~ Imagine you are in a completely different setting. Personally, I love pretending I'm on a stage performing with one of my favorite bands. It gets my blood rushing.

So, be gentle on yourself. Finding flow is not something to be rushed. Just enjoy your practice and each step of progress you make along the way. And when you find it, be sure to share your excitement with me at Hippy Go Lucky Hoops!

I'm really excited that my blog has hit 11,350 views. I think HGLH needs revitalization. I want to start doing more hooper spotlight features and also guest posts from other writers. Don't forget to like my page to stay in the hoop loop!


  1. Honestly one of the best things I've read regarding flow and finding it. Really beautiful words. <3