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 :)
I've got the secret y'all. It's easy and you will love it.
Here it is.
Are you ready?
GRAB THAT HOOP! Yes, it's true, the best way to become a better, more flowing, more knowledgeable hooper is to actually do it. I know, life is busy and sometimes you just feel like you've lost your hoop mojo. That feeling doesn't escape me either sometimes. But actually picking up your hoop, and just organically moving it, not for the purpose of making a video or a #stopdropandhoop post, can do wonders. The competition that seems to have reared it's ugly head in the current hoop scene can really stagger creativity and make us forget why we fell in love with the plastic circle.
Another tip? Close your eyes, and visualize yourself hoop dancing. Imagine what you want your flow to look like. Take the time to day dream, and then try to put it into action. In a world full of "check those notifications, binge watch this new show, etc", it can be AMAZING to just let your mind wander.
You're an amazing hooper, and this flow journey never ends. Aren't we lucky for that??
So, when I started hooping in 2010, it was still a fairly “new” thing. There were videos on youtube, but nothing like now. The local hoop tribe was still pretty small. And instagram wasn't even a thing yet! Fast forward to 2017 and hooping and flow arts in general have exploded. Videos have gone viral, hoops are at every music fest, celebrities have even joined the flow. So when you're just starting out as a hooper, and you begin seeking out other hoopers, it's really easy to get discouraged, seeing that others may be more advanced. Especially if you've been working your butt off for a few months, and see videos that are like “my 1 month hoopiversary” where the dancer's skills are melting your face off. Or maybe you've gotten up the courage to go to a hoop jam, ask another hooper for help with a move, and get blown off. I totally get it. It's happened to me more than once.
Repeat after me. HOOPING IS NOT A COMPETITION. No matter what other people are doing, you are AWESOME. There's no end game in hoop dance. The journey is the reward. Some people learn faster than others, some have more time to dedicate, and for some people it just clicks faster. Yes, there will always be those girls who don't want anyone else to discover the plastic circle, they want it to only be for a select few. Screw that. Keep learning, keep practicing, and surround yourself with positive hoopers who celebrate every shoulder rotation, every successful foot pick up, every isolation. Sometimes you
Remember, we're playing with a toy. Don't let it stop being fun :)