Hula Hoop!

Shortly after starting a series of yoga classes at Studios Vert Prana back in November,  I wanted to try a hula hoop class.  How could I not be tempted?  Seeing the colourful hoops on the walls around the studio, I figured it would be a fun sport to try.  As soon as the Introduction to Hula Hoop class was announced, I signed up for what became my big Adventure in Montreal for February 2012.

First, this is not the hula hooping you remember as a kid.  It’s more like what you would see a gymnast or an acrobat do… once we learn how to do those moves.  The hoops are weighted — the heavier ones being better for beginners because the hoop turns slower.  Also, we aren’t just hooping around our waists.  Already in the first class, we were hooping around our necks and hands!

I must confess – I loved to hula hoop when I was a little kid.  I remember participating in a “rodeo” event in gym class in Grade 1 or 2.  One of the events was hula hooping, but it had some “rodeo” name instead.  I practiced for weeks in advance of the big event and, if I remember correctly, it paid off.  I won a ribbon!  Still, I was a bit nervous at the start of the first class.  It’s been over 30 years, would I still remember how to hula hoop?  My body is quite a bit curvier than when I was six or seven and it certainly doesn’t move the same way.

With the first spin of the hoop, it all came back.  I was happily hooping at my first attempt.  The weight on the hoop does help… and work the abs.  After a couple of minutes, I understood why it’s a great workout for the mid-section.  In less than five minutes, our instructor started to challenge us:  do a 360 turn in the same direction as the hoop, do a 360 turn in the opposite direction, walk across the room while hooping, walk backwards across the room while hooping.  Fortunately, it’s hard not to have fun, so everyone was smiling and laughing as we were trying to figure it all out.  We then progressed to spinning the hoop around our necks (that takes getting used to!), vertically around our hand, horizontally around our hand above our heads, and switching hands in both situations.  Finally, we wrapped up with a move I still haven’t figured out completely: moving the hoop from spinning around my hand above my head to spinning around my neck (all while the hoop keeps spinning).

Unfortunately, I missed the 2nd class due to a 24-hour bug and I certainly felt the missing week on my 3rd class.  By the end of the 4th class, I can spin the hoop around my knees, switch hands behind my back and raise the hoop from my waist to above my head and back to my waist all while keeping it spinning.  The last move is called the Corkscrew.  Didn’t quite get good enough to do the Vortex, though.  We even learned how to step through a hoop vertically spinning on our hands, but I definitely need more practice with that move.

Oh, yeah, and all the instruction was in French 🙂

Some friends have been bugging me for a video of my hula hooping adventure.  Yeah, right.  Instead, I’ll share this video I found on YouTube that shows what the Corkscrew is.  She makes it look easy.  It took me two classes to really figure it out.

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