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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!!