If you are a beginner hula hooper then…WELCOME TO THE CIRCLE! It might feel like there is a LOT to learn (because there is) and with all of the tutorials and instagram videos out there of people doing awesome stuff, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are 6 important things to remember and practise as you begin your journey into the hula hoop.
1. Focus on one thing at a time
It’s easy to watch a million hoop videos and feel like you’re behind; that there’s so much to learn and that you need to learn it all right now. It might even feel like you are going to be a beginner hula hooper forever! Not true… When you set off to the park with hoops aiming to learn all the tricks in one go, it can lead to frustration or a feeling that you’re biting off more than you can chew. If you choose one theme, trick, pattern or movement, it will naturally lead to other things. Focusing on one thing at a time is a great way to fully explore and learn about a trick or movement. It will likely be far more satisfying than trying to attempt all the cool tricks in ten minutes.
2. You can do anything with enough repetition and practise
I’ve heard a lot of people say “I have hips so I can’t hula hoop” and “I don’t have hips so I can’t hula hoop”. Or they say that if they have big/small shoulders they can’t shoulder hoop. Picking up what I’m putting down? Every body is different. While some people might gravitate naturally toward different styles of hula hooping, and appear to learn at different speeds, you really can do anything with enough time. It’s all about how much you practise. You might like to hoop for 10 minutes a day every day, while other people will prefer to hoop for 2 hours every few weeks. Give it enough time, and you will learn. Be patient with your body and yourself. Everyone starts out as a beginner hula hooper. Do it ‘til you can.
3. Set clear intentions for yourself
Some people want to move their body, get fit and have fun. Some people want to become performers. Some want to learn really techy tricks for their own joy and hoop about at home. These are all great reasons to hula hoop! Setting clear intentions will help you fulfil the enjoyment of what’s available to you in this awesome practise. Whether that’s about what you want to get out of a hoop class, or why you’re choosing to spend your evenings with a hoop on your waist jamming out to music… Whatever it is, if you set a clear intention then over time it’ll help you see how far you’ve come. There will be a moment where, without even noticing you will realise you are no longer a beginner hula hooper. And, your initial intentions might change which is a-ok. Setting intentions is a great way to reflect on you’re progress and what you are getting out of being a hooper.
4. Know that you’re not in competition with anyone
It can be quite convincing to look online at all the other awesome hoopers and what they eat for dinner and why you’ll never be as good as them and how you’re different and… so on. Most of us have a maelstrom of thoughts around not being good enough and we’re inclined to believe them because – look – that person can casually do a 6 hoop split and I can only spin one hoop! But it’s all fine. Everyone starts somewhere. And many of us feel like beginners in one way or another because there are an infinite amount of tricks to play with and more being created all the time. It’s very normal to have these thoughts of comparison. It’s practically human nature. Most importantly, remember – your hooping is for YOU. This is immensely easier if you get clear with your intention for hula hooping first, as mentioned above. You can refer back to it if you are ever feeling “less than” or not good enough.
5. Celebrate the small achievements
This is super easy to forget. If you’re in any state of comparison with where you want to be, how you want to hula hoop, and all the tricks you can’t do, it’s likely you’ll brush over the amazing feat of learning new things as you’re doing it. Each new movement, each swoop of interesting hoopiness, is a small moment in the vastness of a practise that’s there for you whenever you feel like picking up a hula hoop, going to a hoop jam in the park, or going to a hoop class. Each time you pick it up, you’re getting better, believe me. It might not always feel like it, but time in a hoop is always time well spent. Celebrate YOU.
6. Connect with other people to share cool tricks
A big one! There are so many ways to meet other hula hoopers and flow artists. Try looking up circus or hula hoop jams in your local area or parks. Or look into hula hoop classes – there are loads of different kinds of classes, from more exercise based classes to dance to super techy classes. And there are in-person classes, live online classes and downloadable video classes. It’s an awesome place to meet other people interested in the same thing you are. You might connect with other beginner hula hoopers and/or meet, share and be inspired by people who have been playing with this plastic circle longer than you have. If you are able to get to a hoop jam, I would really encourage it. Sometimes in a super relaxed environment, with music in the background, you can accidentally fall into flow or level up big time with your hoop! Many times I’ve seen people learn to hoop when they stop thinking about it, get their head out of the way, relax and start chatting. Never underestimate the power of learning during leisure time with other people.