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Why Should I Hula Hoop? What are the Benefits?

hula hoop benefits, hula hoop history
An article written by Tomi Jennings about the significance and benefits of hula hooping

Hello hula hoopers of the world! in this article I’m going to be discussing the benefits of hula hooping, some of which are quite special. I’m going to touch on many different dynamics and in the future, we’ll be doing a 3 (or more) part series that goes into deeper detail of these benefits.  I have five (5) topics I’d like to focus on initially and hopefully you will be inspired to try hula hooping too.

 

1.    The Hula Hoop in Ancient cultures:

The circle is a prominent shape. It’s the most naturally occurring shape in nature, and thanks to the earth’s rotation, everything spins.  It’s a nice little gift to be able to take this natural occurrence and put it into physical form.  The hula hoop is life changing, I believe, because of its many many meanings.  Cultures all around the world had different ideas about the circle. The circle represents infinity and is also the symbol for goddesses. It has also been known to represent the spirit of feminine energy and is respected as a sacred space.  Being closed off, a complete circle, bares boundaries.  It’s a physical tool used for developing skills inside your personal space. Finding yourself while being close to self.  Native Americans use the hoop to help with story telling as far back as the 1400’s (to known knowledge).  They used many hoops at one time during a dance or ceremony to represent meaningful flying animals.  Ancient Greeks were known to tie grapevines together end to end to form a circle and would use these circles for exercise. Egyptians during 500 BC and Englanders during the 1800s AD were both recorded playing with the hoop and a stick. The hoop would be rolling along while being pushed with the stick by the children. Over a thousand of years apart, and on different hemispheres of the planet, and this circle toy evolved with the times. It’s quite mysterious why something so simple, yet so divine, has spanned cultures and survived thousands of years of play. This is why I am in love with my hoop(s). We’ll dig deeper into the ancient relevance of our sacred friend in the upcoming series to follow.

 

2.    Physical Benefits of Hula Hooping

First and foremost, waist hooping involves 35 abdominal muscles to maintain its torque and its continuous circular motion around your body.  Not only are you engaging the muscles of your abdomen but also your legs and your back muscles are being worked out.  It’s always best to warm up before any exercise, but when it comes to hooping i just like to do a couple of stretches.  I do a set of 5 lunges per leg, 15-20 squats, and also approximately 20 jumping jacks.  I think it’s smart to also stretch your neck and shoulder/arm areas; especially if you do a lot of off body hooping.  I like to refer to off body hooping as “trick hooping”.

 

3.    Spiritual Benefits of Hula Hooping

When you have gotten to a level of hooping where you can “throw” the hoop around your waist and barely move you are at a point in your journey where you can lose yourself in the moment. Allow this circle, preferably with your eyes closed and your favorite jams playing, to take you to a place where there are no thoughts running through your mind. Concentrate on your body dipping to stay in control of your circle. Lose the thoughts of what you might look like or who might be watching, these things should be the least of your worries when you are beginning to lose yourself in your flow. You will slowly realize that you and this circle are developing a companionship. You will gradually begin to hoop more and more often once you find this state of meditation in your circle. The best advice that I could give in order to reach such a state would be to simply trust your body inside the hoop. Love yourself just as you love to manipulate the sacred circle with your body and your limbs. For a little umph, try listening to binaural beats with a blindfold on while spinning and see where it takes you…intense. I think in one of the upcoming parts, Heather Doxtater will elaborate on the meditative and spiritual responses our body’s experience.

 

4.    Emotional benefits of Hula Hooping

Just like any exercise, when engaged, your brain releases chemicals that allow you to feel good and happy and energized.  Hooping is no different, and to me and many other hoopers, it is an even more incredible feeling than just some good ol’ fashioned jumping jacks or jogging for some miles.  When I found the hoop, my life was upside down.  My mental and emotional health were non existent.  After falling into zones or finding my “flow” I was able to shift on a focus mechanism in my brain.  I became capable of flipping the (pardon my language here) “fuck it” switch to the off position after years of being lost.  Over four years later, I am here, contributing to ShelledHoops.com’s blog feed!  I have also recently started a book I have always wanted to write, and the hoop has given me the courage to do so.  I couldn’t be more excited about the direction of my life right now, and I credit the hoop for this awesome shift!

 

5.    Current Cultural Significance of the Hula Hoop

In today’s trends, the hoop has made its appearance all over the board.  From exercise dens to significant and pricey performance props.  They are laying all over parks and playgrounds whilst being the star of various television commercials. If the hoop has ever made a comeback, the 2010’s has been its most prosperous and dominant time yet!!  People have started incorporating hula hoops in their yoga regimes and also with their hip hop dance routines.  When I hear someone mention that they hula hoop, my first impression of them is that they possess spiritual capabilities and aren’t too proud to fall back and play!  And what I mean by play is to play again as a child while being a full grown adult.  I admire fellow hoopers just for being that beacon of light for others who can’t bring themselves to let loose completely.  There’s a huge benefit in being a grown up and being capable of staying in touch with that fun child that is inside of each one of us.  Some might say that the hoop has become commercial and that there are a lot of performer types that take the community in vain.  The hoop has become more than hobby for some, it’s actually a lifestyle.  It’s not just about music and self art but more about movements, legislation, and freedom of expression.  I’ll be elaborating on this topic more in  another part of the upcoming series.  There’s a lot to learn when it comes to this hooping stuff, not just the actual act and tricks of hooping.

I hope you come back to read the follow up portions so that one can really have an entire understanding of all the dynamic benefits that the hoop life has to offer!!

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Chakra Energy Alignment and Balance with Hula Hoop Dance

“How did you get in touch with your flow?”

Does this question sound familiar? Or maybe you have studied endless hours of hooping videos trying to find the super secret answer to this seemingly seamless dance. The answer is pretty simple and it has to deal with the energy centers of our body, called Chakras.

Chakra for beginners, Chakra meaning, Chakra hula hoop
Get in touch with your flow

Chakra alignment and balance is the reason why hoop dancers are vibrant, happy, and willing to share their zest for life. These energy centers are an intrinsic property of every body of existence. Also, everything that exists has a torus of flowing energy. From plants to animals to planets and even the whole universe is run on this torus of energy flow. In order to fully understand this invisible force we will have to explain a few things about chakras, energy movement through the chakras, and how this pertains to the hoop.

The Seven Chakras

The word Chakra [ chuhk -r uh ] comes from the Indian Sanskrit language meaning disk or wheel. There are said to be many chakras beyond our physical knowledge that extend into the spiritual realm but for the purposes of this article, we will focus only on the 7 main chakras. These 7 chakras start at the base of your spine and continue upward all the up to above the crown of your head. The sanskrit names starting from the base are as follows; Muladhara (root), Svadhisthana (sacral), Manipura (navel), Anahata (heart), Vishuddha (throat), Anja (third-eye), and Sahaswara (crown).

 

Chakra Meanings

” I am, I feel, I do”

Muladhara is also known as the root or base chakra. It is the energy center that governs the fear factor in our lives. When this chakra is fully opened it helps us feel secure and at peace with our physical being.

Svadhisthana is the energy center that relates to sex, emotions, and creation. I believe all hoopers understand this energy center the best because we start hooping at this level or our waist.

Manipura also known as the solar plexus or navel chakra is the energy disk of confidence and empowerment.

” I am love”

Anahata is the heart chakra and the energy center that opens up compassion for the self. Also known as the love chakra it is the connection between the body and spirit.

“I speak, I see, I know”

Vishuddha, better known as the throat chakra, is center that fosters communication. In order to get what you want in life it is important to speak your truth.

Anja is the energy center that focuses on intuitive feelings and is known as the Third-Eye.

Sahaswara is the crown chakra and is the energy center that governs the spiritual self and its connection to the spiritual world and beyond.

As stated before, these are the 7 chakras that most people will focalize and become aware of when first entering into the world of energy. Aligning and opening these energy centers makes an incredible difference in ones life. The ancient belief of energy flow, or life force, through the center of your body has spilled over into western ways of thinking and has opened up the knowledge of balancing all systems of the body.

Physiological, psychological, and emotional systems should be relatively balanced, or in homeostasis, in order for the whole body and spirit to freely flow throughout the body. I believe most hoop dancers become aware of these systems once the hula hoop becomes the tool for their energetic alignment.

Flow of Energy Through Open Chakras

I like to describe the energy centers as a series of combustions like that of an engine in a car. In order for an engine to move, a vehicle it must take in gas, change the properties of the gas, and then give it to the engine to rotate the connected wheels. You can not have any interruptions of combustion or the car will stop moving on the road. It is much more complicated in explanation but the gist is about the same with energy flow through the chakras.

Energy can only be passed on from one chakra to another if the chakra above it is open and ready to accept energy from the lower chakra. Any blockages in one of these chakras is a direct indication of what is plaguing your personal development in life. This ties in self awareness to detect any imbalances in the body. As a hoop dancer, I know we are able to feel these blockages as we are constantly reinvigorating the energetic flow with our dances and allow the torus to flow freely throughout or physical and etherial bodies.

Vortex Me Up

Let me talk to any hoop dancer who is in touch with their flow and they will say how much they love to share their passions in life. Yes, there are instances of the ‘bad seed’ hoop dancer but it is so rare that I have come to feel the most accepted as a person in the hoop community. We, as dancers, use our hoop as a tool to better ourselves and continue to seek and be our higher self. It is meditation through movement.

The positive connections made and the love that is shared with beginner to advanced hoopers has brought together a community of beautiful light souls. So the next time you do a hoop trick, or see another hoop dancer perform, try and notice the the energetic flow and become one with it. I picked up the hoop 3 years ago for a reason – to inspire others to reflect their light. And I think it’s working.

That being said, don’t forget to check out Michelle’s ShelLED hoop shop and find the hula hoop that will synchronize the energy centers in your life. You’ve only got one life to live. Make it count.

 

Read more on how to balance each individual chakra, starting with the root chakra!