I have been trying to hula hoop my entire life. Many summer camp days have been spent raucously rotating my hips to no avail. That darned sparkly plastic hoop just jittered its way to the ground. Time. After. Time.
This, much like my rope climbing attempts, seriously bruised my chubby-little-kid self esteem. So, I suppose that has been on my mental bucket list of childhood skills for quite some time. (Along with swinging monkey bars– unchecked. And one handed cartwheels– check.)
Then one day, a poster came across my Facebook feed for a hula hooping workshop at PulsePDX! Being the up-for-anything-challenge-my-box-adult that I am these days I signed up in seconds! Though, I will admit I messaged the instructor with the caveat that I felt I would be particularly difficult to teach this skill. He assured me I would be fine. Alright then, lets hula hoop!
First, just in case you’re all, “Hula hooping? I’ve been able to do that since I was 5. That’s not hard.”, take a look at this. This is what we were aspiring to do, though as you’ll see further down. Not quite the skill level I achieved this day.
Excitedly, I walked into the lobby with hubby/videographer/photographer in tow. I had already pre-selected my hoop (whom I have name Lady Hoopington). I saw a picture of the hoops they were making for the class, and that one stood out and had to be mine! I grabbed it, put it around my waist, gave it a spin and magically, I was hooping! Apparently, those little kid hoops only actually work for little kids, and that has been my problem all this time!
The first thing our instructor, Josh, did was drop a hoop on the stage to inform us that, “That is the sound of learning.” I liked that. We all did a lot of learning that day.
WAIST HOOPING: This is your basic hula hooping as seen on children every where, except slightly more refined. The tornado hips were brought down to a slight wiggle in either a front-to-back, or side-to-side method, after we determined whether we hoop to the left or right. For the record I hoop to the left.
ANGLES: The goal was to perform a basic waist hoop with the hoop at and angle by leaning our hips to the side or front. Tilted as my hips may have been, the hoop stayed parallel to the floor. Womp womp.
BLINDFOLDED FLOW: In order to ingrain these skills and build synapses we were then instructed to blindfold ourselves and hoop it up! For some reason, trying to do angles whilst blindfolded made me dizzy. We did this after every set of skills.
LIFTS: So, now that we had our basic hooping skills down pat, it was time learn something fancy. We learned to lift a presently twirling hoop up and off our body with grace and flair. Though, the first 30 tries were more like flop and fail. But who’s counting any way?
VORTEX: Basically getting it from over head, down to your waist and back up again, and back down again, and back up again… all flowy and awesome looking.
DUCK IN: Swing the hoop flat over your back and then just stand up inside of it and continue hooping. Easy, right? It is, once you get it. (Below is that, after the first mess up, plus some extra stuff at the end)
DROP ON: Starting from overhead hand hooping or “lasso”, grab it with the other hand and bring it to your waist. Now waist hoop! Whee! (Ignore the first bit. :08 is where the “magic” happens)
SHOULDER HOOPING: Way harder than it looks! First we learned the timing to stick our arms down into the hoop while it’s spinning. Then comes the shoulder shimmy to get the hoop to climb up. After that there is a chest roll that must be mastered in order to get it to stay there. I never figured that one out. At best I ended up with a pseudo neck hooping action.
HAND HOOPING: We learned a couple different ways to hoop with our hands. Forward and reverse weave, and something called rising sun. After reviewing my video, my rising sun was missing a looptey loop, so I’m going to call it a “partial eclipse”!
KNEE HOOPING: Just like it sounds. Hooping on your knees. I didn’t really get this working at all. But I do have a few bruises to show for the attempt.
I was delighted at how successful my first day of hooping was! I loved it so much I bought my hoop to take it home and practice… after the bruises heal! I brought it to work with me today after someone saw my pictures and wanted me to teach them to hoop, too. Turns out I’m not the only one who’s had a life time dilemma with hooping. I taught two people at work today. Then, I was attempting to demo one of the tricks, and as I was saying “I mean, this isn’t going to work…” boom, I landed it!
Now, being that this was the first class I didn’t break much of a sweat since I was still working on basic skills. However, I can definitely see this becoming a great workout very quickly once I can pick up the pace! Please reference the previous video of awesome hooping. But, I can tell you that today my obliques, and glutes and hamstrings are sore. So, I know that my core got a good working-out. Hand hooping also wore out my shoulders quite a bit. These big hoops are kinda heavy when they get going. Definitely require some core engagement, and then some.
Last, but not least, please enjoy this clip of me failing a little and succeeding a little. Most of the succeeding happens after 1:15. (This may eventually be replaced with a musical clip montage. But we’ll see how my week pans out. Feel free to laugh at me. I do.
Wanna get your hoop on?!
PulsePDX will be continuing the workshop next month with another beginner and adding an advanced workshop. Details to come — stay tuned. You can keep an eye on their website or Facebook for more info. Or keep an eye on any of my channels (check out my right side bar) to find out the date and time. Though, you’ll have the most luck finding out about it on Facebook.
Check out PulsePDX
Other PDX Hooping Resources:
Hula Hoopla in the Alberta Arts District
But I don’t live in awesome amazing PDX and I wanna hula hoop like Josh!
Check out http://www.hoopcity.ca for lots of resources. You can also search on YouTube for hooping tutorials.