Bellydance connoisseurs are fully aware that Bellydance is a gateway drug to other things. Costuming, playing instruments, yoga, balancing, fire tricks, burlesque, etc. You may remember my 12 week affair last fall with Salsa dancing. I have recently had the opportunity to take some hooping classes through the Springfield Bellydance Acedemy with Sarah.
Hooping is very athletic. Your body is constantly in motion using repeatative muscle contractions that keep the hoop spinning. It requires endurance and strength. If you research hooping online you will learn about the health and wellness benefits you can gain from hooping, much in the way Bellydance is touted by the media as an "exercise alternative." On the flip side hooping enthusiasts, as with Bellydance, are totally nuts for it. The whole mind-body spiritual experience thing. It changes lives. Opens horizons. Creates peace and love for all ages, sizes, and genders, etc.
I am so addicted.
It is all I can think about. It is all I watch on youtube. I have bruises everywhere. My knuckles, shins, waist, none of which are from hitting myself but from just hooping. It never really dawned on my that if you take a hoop and spin it around a body part over and over it will leave bruises. At least until the skin and muscles toughen up. I guess it is like the karate master who can break bricks in half with his hands. I am sure the first hundred times or so he did it he had bruises too.
I spent over an hour hooping on the front porch last Monday because of the rain. I wouldn't normally practice on the front porch where passersby could see me but I didn't care. I wanted to practice. Needed to. There is just something entrancing about getting the hoop spinning, the rocking of your body, the fluid motion. The repetitive knocking of the hoop on the body is hypnotic. It reminds me of rocking in a rocking chair, or swinging in a swing, or falling asleep riding in a car. It holds your concentration but also allows you to zone out, or maybe get into the zone. Add your favorite music and you can bliss out for hours with nothing but yourself and a chunk of tubing. Hoopers on The Internet call it Flow.
Despite my 2 weeks of diligent practice, I still have moments that feel like I am unceremoniously dry-humping the air. The first time I successfully took the hoop off with my left hand and back on with my right I bragged that I should get a gold star for my accomplishment. Turns out that is exactly what I did. I bought a sheet of gold and silver star stickers. For every accomplishment I make I get a gold star to stick on my hoop. For every bruise or good hard thwack I give myself I get a silver star as kind of an "A" for effort. It gives me something to look forward to and makes my hoop a little more shiny. I don't expect them to stay on. This is my first hoop and I expect it to get beaten up as I newb my way into hooping.
For instance, after today's practice my hoop has grass stains and foot prints but I also get to add one gold star for being able to now take it off alternating between my right and left hand. I also get 3 silver stars for 2 cracked finger nails and one good smack to my right ear. I only gave up there because I had hooped myself to exhaustion.
This is my hooping teacher Sarah at the last inappropriate hafla. She is teh awesome!
Cool hooping links:
www.hooping.org - online Hooping Community
www.jasonunbound.com/hoops.html - How to make your own hoop
www.identi-tape.com/hooptape.html - All kinds of spiffy tape to decorate your hoop
~(N) <-That's me with a hoop