(if you prefer to listen to me read this post then click the play button above…it gets long so I highly recommend it)
Last week I saw an online discussion that suggested the hoop community is dead.
I am sorry to hear that some hoopers feel this way but I smiled knowing they are so far from the truth.
No, the hoop community is not dead!
It is alive, well and very much growing, from Canada to Croatia, from New Zealand to Norway there are more and more hoopers every day.
How do I know this?
Well, I have only been hooping for about a decade, but I have spent a lot of that time both online and offline building communities in various cities, teaching classes & workshops, attending retreats, supporting and mentoring hoop teachers around the world. Most of my friends are hoopers, I connect with hundreds of hoopers online every day and I pretty much think about something hoop related for most of my waking hours (I know, I really need to get a hobby!) and I can say that the world of hoopers continues to grow, expand, share and thrive.
As we roll into 2018 I am happy to report that I have the highest number of students ever, the most number of inquiries for classes all over the world, the biggest influx of email questions about hoops and hoop sizes, highest views and subscribers on YouTube tutorials. My inboxes are flooded each day with hoopers wanting to know more, learn more and connect with other hoopers and teachers in their area or around the world.
If I haven’t replied to your email or comment, I apologize, I am only a one-woman hoop show but I do try to at least read them all. I am telepathically responding, hope you can feel the hoop hug I sent you.
These are not the signs of a dying community. These are the indicators of a love filled, curious, creative and thriving global culture that is bigger and more hungry than ever before.
Every month I share a free 7-day challenge for total beginners and every month I have hundreds, sometimes, thousands of new hoopers coming to discover what this hoop thing is all about. And I am not some massive company, with gazillions of advertising dollars trying to sell a movement, I am one hooper in her studio sharing a passion for dancing with a plastic circle; one of many…and together we grow.
Hoop Love Coaches classes are growing and expanding, many of them starting YouTube series, teaching at retreats and workshops and growing their very own hoop communities in their local area and around the globe. Yoga studios, dance studios and gyms are hiring more and more hoop teachers. Hooping can be seen on tv shows, music clips and hoopers are being hired to perform with big bands and huge DJs at world-class festivals and concerts. More hoopers than ever before are uploading their personal practice and connect with other hoopers around the world. There are more and more opportunities for hoopers to share their passion and skills as teachers, performers, creatives and backyard dancing queens.
And to thank for all of this we have those who came before us, those who continue to inspire us, the founders of modern-day hooping, we stand on the shoulders of those creative giants. And then we must also give thanks to the cross-pollination, the fresh ideas, the recognition of hooping as a flow practice and the young leaders who create new pathways. We must have gratitude for the new hoopers and the seasoned, the huge hoops and the small, the fiercely paced movers and the mellow groovers. Most importantly we must have gratitude for ourselves, our own bodies, for picking up the hoop each time we do and moving in the ways that feel right for us. We are all a part of the circle.
So I refuse to buy into any opinions that suggest that the community is dead. Sure things have changed, everything changes and I also agree with the commonly used phrase “it’s not what it used to be”. That doesn’t make us a dying breed or a negative community.
Individuals are going to have their differences, things are going to happen in groups, shifts are going to take their toll on some and people will come at it with their own perspective. Freshness floods in, expansion puts a spotlight on preferences as we recognize we move in different ways. We are not all the same. We might all spin hoops in one way or another but that does not mean we all bring exactly the same to the table, or need the same things.
So how do we keep this hoop community alive and growing? We all play a very special role.
1. Remember that hooping is different things to different people.
You do you. We have grown to be a beautifully diverse community. One is not better than the other. Some like to perform, some like to hoop in their backyard. Some hoopers post 10 videos a day, some have never even thought to record themselves. Some hoopers go to festivals, others hate crowds. Some hoopers rock out to hardcore trance, some need silence. Some hoopers have been to every international hoop retreat, others hoop in the park with friends. Some hoop for weight loss, others hoop their worries away. Some like big hoops, other like tiny ones. Some hoopers do it everyday, other let their circles collect dust. Some teach, others learn. Some know thousands of tricks, others know just a few. Some wear baggy pants, others wear no pants. One is not better than the other. We are all hoopers, does it really matter HOW we do it?
2. Separate the act of hooping from everything else.
Hooping is not Social Media, hooping is not someone’s comment or video on Instagram, hooping is not that post that annoys you, makes you doubt your own skills or think that you are not good enough. Hooping is not the business that makes hoops or the number of followers on a Facebook page. Hooping is not how many LED hoops you have. Hooping is not what some chooses to wear or listen to and it is not the pace of their movement. It is not a comparison or a competition.
Hooping is the act of moving with a hula hoop. Do it more. Look at a screen less. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
What do we all have in common? We hoop. What is the thing that makes us a community? We hoop. What has caused the creative explosion that we witness today? We hoop.
When we are scrolling on our phones, comparing ourselves to others, getting into lengthy Facebook group discussions, feeling like the hoop community has (insert any opinion about the hoop community); what are we NOT doing? Hooping.
4. Remember your WHY.
Why did you start practicing hooping? How do you feel when you practice? Know your answers to those two questions, embrace them and come back to them anytime things don’t feel right.
5. Share something that matters.
There are many ways that we can contribute to a community but first of all we must always contribute to ourselves. Everything we share is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and our view of the world around us.
We all share in different ways and yet we all have something to contribute to keep our community alive and vibrant. We can share our love for hooping with a friend or two. Take hoops to a school. Start a jam in a park. Tell friends at work. Make hoops as gifts or sell them at the market. Start a class. Teach workshops. Share inspiring videos. Tell others about the benefits of hooping. Hoop at festivals and take a few extra hoops (I have made so many friends that way) Practice with your kids. Busk in the streets. Make a playlist for yourself, share it with a friend. Share a trick that you love or just discovered. Hoop more and scroll less. Practice in the park. Teach something online. Contribute positive and useful comments and feedback in online hoop groups. Inspire yourself. There are so many more ways.
6. Remember what hooping has brought to your life.
It could be many things. It might have shifted over the years. What it has brought you might be different to what it has brought to someone else’s life. Friends, Strength. Creativity. Fitness. Flow. Purpose. Release. Income. An outlet. Travel. Play. Work. Connection. Sweat. Achievement. Determination. Ritual. Peace. Abs. Mentors. Healing. Growth. Understanding. Bruises. Art. Coordination. Freedom. Struggle. Dance. A career. Distraction. Lessons. Teachers. Insight. Meditation. Muscles. A voice. Awareness. Community.
Be open to always receiving those gifts, and if it feels good, sharing them with others from time to time.
7. What we see and read on a screen is only part of the story.
Connected to a keyboard, tapping away on our phone, scrolling through feeds we only get a very small dose of the inspiration and connection we need as humans and we miss so much of the social interaction, body language, nuances and mood that comes from face to face interaction. We have incredible humans in our community who do their best online to share their art, lead by positive example, offer creativity, lead with passion, teach from the heart through the screen; it is not always an easy task to truly share the full depth of hooping emotion and human experience through a camera lens.
Most importantly viewing or sharing hooping exclusively through a screen dehumanizes it. Hooping is both a personal practice and social activity, created by humans who share from a source of creativity that exists well outside of the realms of Instagram and Facebook. Take time to put down your phone, switch off your screen and connect with yourself, with your hoop, with your community. That is how a culture thrives; it shares, it moves, it grows, it lives together. It gives hoop hugs in real life.
And if you do not know another human soul, in real life who hoops, then what a beautiful opportunity to make new friends, support a local hoop teacher or start a hoop jam in your area.
Nothing supports a community more and feels more real than sharing with others, being IN community and cherishing real-life human interactions.
So grab your hoop, switch this off and go, grow, interact, be a human, with a hoop. Your community needs you!