Has self care gone too far?
Ok, ok, hear me out. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. As a hoop and yoga instructor, a big part of what I do is encouraging people to take care of their bodies and minds, and to take time for themselves to have fun. Doing these things is obviously a good thing. But I cannot look at this year in particular, and not having a nagging feeling that a lot of people are focusing less on self care and more on selfishness.
I see self care as a tool to help become the best person one can be, so that you’re able to help others to the fullest extent. And isn’t that our most important goal as humans? To care for our community, family, and friends? No man is an island, and support is necessary to everyone at some point. But now I look at so many people who, in the midst of a GLOBAL pandemic, do not want to wear masks, and furthermore, refuse to. Wearing a mask has been proven to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, yet you’d think you asked people to cut off their hand. I’ve seen every single reason in the book, and none have moved me.
Is this where we are? We can’t do the bare minimum for our fellow man? Self care that doesn’t result in being a better member of our friend group, our family, our society, defeats the entire purpose.
It’s not selfish to ask for help when you need it. It’s not selfish to politely decline invitations. It’s not selfish to take time off that is owed you. But it is selfish to cause harm to others.
Just a quick message! So, you've probably seen these hoops before. Often on Amazon, the Wish app, maybe even your gym. Maybe you've tried it and thought "WHAT THE HELL" because it hurts so much. I'm here to tell you PLEASE AVOID THIS HOOP. Those little knobs are supposed to make you think it's beating the fat out of you, but what's really happening is you are damaging the soft tissue around your internal organs. And that is nothing to play around with. There are lots of hoops out there of different sizes that work, but this one ain't it chief. Have questions about what hoop to get? Holler at me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Buy A Hoop tab in the menu!
So, I know small hoops are all the rage. They have been for a while now, and I get it. You can go super fast and they put less stress on the arms. As I've said before, I am primarily an onbody hooper, and since said body is not 100 pounds, I use a bigger hoop. So clearly I wanted a 40" and 42" poly pro. Here in lies the issue. Big poly pros seem to be a big mystery to the majority of hoopers I see. A LOT of hoop makers will not make them and have insinuated that I'm some kind of nut for even asking. I've heard every excuse in the book about why. "Oh they are too wobbly, they aren't round enough, I can't ship it, it'll kink" BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I'm here to tell you that is absolute NONSENSE. Enter, my hoop Sponsor Hipnotic Hoopla. I was hoping and praying she wouldn't give me those same tired excuses, and lo and behold, she didn't!! She got me the most gorgeous 40" and 42" polypros that are ALWAYS a huge hit in my classes. People are able to finally click with breaks and paddles and shoulder hooping and leg hooping. Most have never seen a poly pro larger than 32". This cycle of "smaller is better" has to got to come to a halt. If you want your hoop dance to be as amazing as possible, you've got to experience other sizes and materials. When someone hears your a hoop dancer, you want to be able to show them your skills with whatever they hand you. Don't think "oh I can't hoop with something that big" is some badge of honor.
Break out of your comfort zone. Get a huge hoop. Get a really small one. Hoop to jazz music. Finally spend some time on that move you've avoided. The holidays are coming, finals are coming, family is coming, cold is coming. Let yourself melt away into your flow. Love and light to you and yours during this Holiday Season! <3 --Heather
It happens to all of us. For a while, we're hooping every day, learning new stuff, watching videos 24/7, and then...life takes over. We get busy with school, work, family, friends, and the next time we pick up our hoop, it feels a little "eh". Everything feels the same. You can't seem to connect with it in a way you used to.
First thing to do? Get a different hoop. And by that, I mean a different size hoop. If you're used to using 32", try 40". And vice versa. If you focus on off body all the time, go on body. Force your muscles to try different things, and at the same time you're working your brain as well. When you're an off body hooper, flips and wedgies come with ease, but try static shoulder hooping and get deep into the feeling of the hoop working in a different way with your body. If you're used to waist and leg hooping, grab a smaller hoop and perfect your isolations and palm spins. Go outside of your comfort zone and discover other sides of yourself.
Next, try a class. Ballet, belly dance, burlesque, tap, jazz. It's the same concept, getting your body to move in a different way, opening up your mind. Using these moves in conjunction with the hoop can level up your dance game in a major way. We are conditioned to go with what feels comfortable, but there is no growth there. Keep growing :)
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
I've been hooping for 7 years, and I've heard it all. Reasons why people can't do it, reasons why it's stupid, etc. Have you heard these? Or worse, are you telling them?
1. "I tried to use a hoop at Wal Mart and couldn't do it, so that's it for me."
Sigh. Anyone who has been hooping for even 1 day has probably heard this. While "techy" hooping is a big thing right now (which requires smaller hoops) and on body hooping isn't as much anymore, when someone new hears about our favorite hobby, they want the hoop to move around their waist. You GOTTA have a bigger hoop. You wouldn't ride a tricycle, so don't expect success with a kid hoop. My favorite starter hoops are the 160 PSI, 3/4 inch tubing ones, (make your own here! www.hoopcubed.com/diy-hoop.html). The bigger and heavier, the easier to move around the body!
2. "Hula hooping is for hippies."
Yes, a lot of hippies hula hoop. So do a lot of middle aged women. So do a lot of guys. A lot of grandmas crochet. Would we say that younger people can't? Of course not. It's easy to let society tell us what is and is not "appropriate". Do whatever you want. 40 and want to hoop? Awesome! 50 and want a tattoo? Awesome! 20 and want to bird watch? Awesome! Never let the opinions of others stop you from doing ANYTHING, when you do so, they win. And we cannot have that.
3. "Hula hooping is for kids".
People who say this WANT to play. Desperately. But they've found their walls, don't think it's appropriate for them. We NEED to play more. Not Candy Crush or video games, but outside with toys that have no batteries (except our LED hoops of course lol). I have never seen someone hula hoop and not smile. It's not possible. Help these people y'all. They want in, they just don't know it.
4. "Hula hooping isn't real exercise".
Actually of course it is. Hula hooping raises your heart rate to the same level as boot camp fitness classes. You can burn over 400 calories an hour (www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/1208/ace-reveals-findings-on-hula-hooping-workouts). It raises endorphins and works lots of muscles at once. We are programmed to hate exercise so much, that something that's actually fun and healthy doesn't even register on our radars.
5. "I'll look like a fool if I even try".
Actually yes, that may be true. But don't we all look like fools in the beginning of something? It's a toy for goodness sake. It's not serious. Its silly. Don't we all need a little bit more silly in life? Don't be afraid to be a beginner at something.
Bottom line? Like I said before, people find their walls. Help them break them down and offer a hoop. You're not just spreading good health, you're spreading joy and fun. Too much is never enough :)
It's summer now. I live in Houston, so it's been summer for a couple of months. Actually, we never even really had a winter. Anyway, we will all be outside more, getting our hoop on, and there are some things you NEED to have with you to enjoy yourself. Here we go!
1. Water. SO MUCH WATER. Sometimes when hooping you don't realize you're burning calories and sweating a LOT, so stopping every few minutes for a drink is completely necessary. Don't wait until you get thirsty! Grab a gallon on your way to the park, your body will thank you later.
2. Sunblock. I'm very fair and burn easily, so this is a nobrainer for me, but just because you may tan easily or have darker skin doesn't mean skin cancer isn't a possibility. Lots of makeup has sunblock in it, so choosing one of those and a 30spf and above for your body will keep you feeling good. Self care starts with health!
3. Bug spray. Between mosquitoes in the south and ticks in the north, this is a MUST. There are natural alternatives like lemon grass oil if that's your thing. Here are some recipes. www.diynatural.com/homemade-insect-mosquito-repellent/.
4. Blue tooth speaker. Be the one who controls the tunes! Ranging from $10 and up and available everywhere from the gas stations to Amazon.
5. Portable battery charger. We all like to make videos, etc while out, and that will drain a phone so quick. Don't let your phone die just as you're nailing that awesome trick!
6. Extra hoops! You know people will want to try it out, so have a few beater hoops laying around. Make sure to keep an eye on them and who picks them up. Also, bring a ribbon and tie your good hoops together, so people know those aren't available to borrow.
7. Some pals!! Hooping is always more fun with friends, so grab your girl on the way and make an afternoon out of it. Enjoy the summer the way you did as a kid, playing in the park without a care in the world. <3
When I began hooping 7 years ago, I never dreamed I'd end up teaching. I hadn't ever taught anything, and never expressed a want to. But as my journey continued, and people started asking me "wow, I'd love to learn, do you teach", I realized that I NEEDED to spread this joy around. I guess I'd equate to someone who has found religion, and wants to tell everyone, all the time. If you've met me, you know the hoop is my life lol.
So maybe you're asking yourself if this is something you should do. My answer is YES. If it is even something you've considered flippantly, that's your sign. Maybe you aren't the best hooper. SURPRISE, some of the best instructors I've had, the ones who can really break things down, can successfully teach a move they haven't perfected themselves. On the other hand, I've taken classes from some amazing dancers who I just couldn't convey exactly how to execute any trick. Teaching isn't just about the skill you're doing, but is about connecting with people, encouraging them, deciphering which way they learn best, and creating a community.
After 7 years and multiple certifications myself, I've created the HoopCubed Hoop Dance Teacher Training program, and I'm so excited for the live training, happening September 23-24, 2017, in The Woodlands, Texas, 20 miles north of Houston. In this 2 day LIVE training, you will learn all the ins and outs of hooping and hoop dance, including 20 specific moves/tricks, how to coordinate them into choreography and combinations, thoughtful and concise ways to teach and troubleshoot, how to make your own hoops, marketing your new business, and so much more!
Want more information? Check out http://www.hoopcubed.com/teacher-training.html, or email me at email@example.com and we can chat! Space is extremely limited, so now is the time to invest in yourself, and your community!
If you've met me, you know that I'm loud, giggly, and very much an extrovert. But there was a time when I was just starting my hoop journey that I was terribly afraid to do so in front of people, certainly at a public park or the like. And I still get overly nervous when performing. But when you live in an apartment, or don't have a private yard, it can be really easy to fall behind on your practice. So I'm going to help you to get over this.
First of all, you're the pro. You know the phrase "in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king." In your local park, it's likely you're the one with the most hoop knowledge. If people are looking at you, 99% of the time they're looking in admiration. "Wow, look at her go!" "Wow I wish I could do that! "Wow, I wish I had that confidence." That's IF they even look. Think about when you see someone doing something unexpected. You look for a moment, and move on (unless it's something heinous, obviously). You probably don't even think about it again. Most people are interested in what THEY are doing, not others. Yes, there will be people who stare longer than normal, and you are completely right to grab your stuff and move on, ESPECIALLY if they're attempting to video you. Let them know straight up that that is NOT ok. But as much as I've hooped publicly, I can count the amount of times people stared, without coming over and shyly asking to try out a hoop.
Also, invest in wireless headphones. When you've got your tunes going as you flow, the world can just float away and it helps to concentrate so much. This can help too if you don't want to be disturbed by people just walking up.
Still worried about hooping in public?
Seek out places. Got a pal with a great yard? Ask if you can go over to borrow it. (I do. Come hoop!) Check out your gym or apartment complex, or even your work, and see if there is an empty room you can use. Even just 15 or 20 minutes practicing can help keep up your practice.
Oh, and is this can be a hard one. Stop watching videos. Sure, tutorials are great, but watching hoopers who've been doing this for years and have professionally shot videos will make you even more self conscious. There is no end game in hoop dance. The journey is its own reward. <3
I've got a confession. I have NOT always been a person who meditates. But it's always intrigued me. As a teenager, I got a book on meditation at the library. The book made it clear in the first chapter that my goal was to have no thoughts. WHAT? I was a 15 year old girl who talked a lot. I still do. My mind is always going. I'm sure yours is too. That's the POINT of a brain, to think! So I returned the book, because I had zero success sitting down and not thinking.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I first heard of mindfulness mediation. Finally, I found out that it's OK to have thoughts while meditating, the point is to recognize them, and come on back to the present. Modern society has us constantly thinking about what's to come, what's happening right now that we don't know about. The term FOMO (fear of missing out) has become commonplace. But I truly cannot overstate how freeing it is to not give af about what you're missing out on, even if just for 20 minutes.
So what exactly is mindfulness? From wikipedia:
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.
It's all about living in the now. Not what has happened or what's going to happen. That sounds easy enough, right? Yeah, I thought so too. But it can be challenging. So I'm going to give you a few tips on how to get out of your brain and into yourself.
1. Find a nice comfy, quiet spot. You don't have to dedicate a whole room or anything, just a place that you will be not disturbed. I have an amazing, yet silly and playful dog, so I've taken my meditation to a yoga mat in the backyard. Being outside has really made my practice so much better.
2. Take a load off. I prefer to sit on the floor with my legs crossed (I even sit like this in restaurant booths, but I'm kinda ridiculous). You want your hips to be higher than your knees, so grab a pillow or a folded blanket/towel.
3. Put your hands on your legs. Face up, face down, whatever. Just feel normal. Sit straight, but not rigid. Imagine your spine is a tree you're leaning on.
4. Grab your phone. Yes, your phone. I personally really love guided meditation. A soft, soothing voice that helps to bring me back to my breathing and to the present. My favorite is the Guided Meditation album on Spotify, the track titled "Guided Meditation and Healing Music for Serenity and Sense of Peace". Her voice is LIFE and the way she pronounces "anxieties" is adorable. If you choose to go with a guided meditation, grab a pair of headphones. It really helps to "take you there".
5. Close your eyes and be kind to yourself. Yes, your mind will wander, yes you may be a little fidgety at first. This isn't a failure. Mindfulness Meditation is a practice, meaning you're learning and you will never be perfect at it. That's not the point. What you want is to slow down, and be in the now.
Join me Wednesday, May 24, on the HoopCubed Facebook page for a LIVE guided meditation! I'll give a quick overview and then lead y'all through a beginner session. Check out facebook.com/hoopcubed for all the details. Have an amazing day y'all :)