The number one thing I get asked by hoopers is "how do I flow with the hoop?". This is the most difficult thing to teach, because it's nearly unteachable. BUT, there are things you can do.
So what is flow? Flow is that hoop dance you do when you're not thinking, you're just in the zone, moving your body, going with the music. It's incredibly meditative and truly gives you that "high". There are practical ways to achieve it though.
1. Have lots of space. It's hard to feel free to dance when it's always in the back of your head that you might knock the ceiling fan, a pet, or worse, a pal. Whether it's outside or a studio, give yourself lots of room, especially if you want to add in things like chest/back rolls, elbow switches, or tosses. Don't limit yourself.
2. Music. We all have the songs/artists we listen to all the time. Forget them. Find a different style/band to move to. When we change up our habits, we allow the body to move in ways we never thought of before.
3. Have some "go to" combos. If you watch a lot of your favorite hoop dancers, they have sequences that they do almost every time. These moves have become so ingrained in them that it comes naturally, without thinking. One of my "go to" combos is back lift up-halo-pass-stir the pot- jump in. Because I do it so often, it requires little thought, so I just move to the music. Hard time coming up with combos? Write out a list of all the moves you know. Watch videos if you need to. Start to put them into groups of 3 and try them out. Mix up on/off body moves. I even made a hoop combo generator (still adding new moves to it!) right here tinyurl.com/hoopcubedcombos.
4. Opposite current. When I started hooping many, many years ago, I didn't have an instructor so I learned everything through whatever videos I could find (there weren't many lol). No one told me to go in my opposite direction, so when I finally attempted it 6 months later, it was nearly impossible. Don't make this mistake! Practice EVERYTHING in both directions. This can change your flow dramatically, since you're never, even subconsciously, thinking about using just your right hand or only hooping to the left.
5. Hoop with pals and don't talk about hooping. I LOVE hoop jams where we just talk about life and current events, because it seems we all always stop trying too hard and just move. Sometimes not concentrating is the best thing we can do.
What are YOUR tips for finding your flow? I'd love to hear them!! -Heather