Hooping: no longer your Aunt Betty’s hula

Candace from the whirlyGirlz will be doing a hooping circle,” said the executive director of the children’s non-profit whose board I sit on. It barely registered, was it sewing hoops or hula? I didn’t even know.

Cut to six weeks later, and I’m in the middle of a park, surrounded by hundreds-year-old trees, a variety of adventurous types ages one to sixty, and piles of wildly-colored hoops. And we’re suddenly hooping.

Gone are the Hawaiian roots of the hula hoop, and replacing them is a mystical part-Nia, part-power of positive thinking, part-50s zaniness amalgam that emphasizes staying in tune with your body and bringing it. According to Candace’s web site, hooping benefits your body through “core isolation, meditative flow, and intrinsic massage in the organs and tissue of the muscles.” Basic hooping classes teach how to move the hoop around various parts of your body (the waist, it is just the beginning), how to move with your hoop, and how to interact as part of a hooping circle. For the more advanced, the logical next step is hooping performance and hoop jams.

Hooping is surprisingly easy; by the end of a 45-minute session, even the clunkiest among us had gotten the hoop to spin around us and managed to find at least one hooping specialty to call our own. To find a class in your own neighborhood (San Francisco, LA, Portland, Vancouver and New York are all hooping hotspots), check out Hooping.org magazine.

Author by Sarah Gilbert