So I have a new addiction: Hooping. By that I'm referring to the cooler version of hula hooping. It's not the kind you used to do as a little kid, but the awesome adult version, using bigger and heavier hoops. I totally recommend this to everyone! Why am I picking up this random hobby though?
1) As an avid summer festival go-er, I love to acquire as many miscellaneous talents as I possibly can. My long-term romance with tribal fusion aside, I've attempted poi (a skill I have left up to Andrew, seeing as how most people argue it was started as a flexibility exercise for male Maori warriors), have some pretty mad skills with the chinese yo-yo, tried Acro Yoga quite a few times, love love love our Om Gym, and more. Now I'm seeing hooping as part of my array of renaissance woman talents. Once my skill increases, I'm seeing LED hoops, fire hoops, and so much more...
2) As an avid dancer, hooping is a great new outlet! As far as I've looked, there is a pretty non-existent tribal and/or ATS dance scene in Ottawa and I'm craving physical artistic time. Until this Fall, I've been used to spending every weekend dancing at the Maryland Renaissance Faire, so the absence of those 4-8 hours of pure dance bliss I used to get every week in autumn is killing me. Conveniently, hooping is something that seems to mesh really well with the tribal fusion dance form so I thought I would also be able to mix and match a lot of my skills between the two. Here's a really miscellaneous example of how cool it looks, courtesy of YouTube:
3) I've actually had a mental block against hula hooping when I was little. While my sister and I loved ballet, traditional chinese dancing, and while I thought I was quite the ballerina dancing fairy princess, I actually had some kind of mentally deficiency in the hooping department. Whenever I would try to do it, the hoop would just fall to the ground and I'd get so frustrated I'd just give up after a couple tries. Maybe it was a coordination thing, I don't know, but the two or three times I actually ever did try it, I wanted to burst into tears... Maybe doing this is also helping me get rid of some long-term childhood baggage or something...
Anyway, I went out to Hoop Jam last night in Dovercourt, run in part by Brigitte Ethier of Siren Hoops. Brigitte was super friendly when I expressed interested in hooping to her over an email. She immediately gave me an in on all the coolest places to hoop in Ottawa. Classes aside (which I'll be taking up regularly in January), the night was amazing. It was pretty much a bring or borrow a hoop or poi or whatever, turn down the lights, turn up the music, and have the time of your life kind of evening. I was blissed out. In about 2.5 hours, I picked up a lot. I even managed to trick a few people into thinking I had done this before. I was psyched! For someone who likes to fidget, I can totally see hooping becoming the next big thing in my life. In fact, I intend on doing most of my doctoral readings while hooping. What a better way to work your hand-eye coordination, no? No only that, but it's a great workout, I feel like my organs are getting this amazing internal massage, it's meditative, and it makes me happy! What more do you need?
But why the title? Ah, because I've had my first rite of passage as a hooper: serious bruising. I felt that I was getting a little hip-sensitive by the end of the evening but I woke up this morning with a pretty icky bruise on my left hip (just the one, strangely enough). Over a dozen hooper forums online had confirmed to me that this is totally normal, so I'm not worrying. The solution? A couple days off, arnica gel, and Vitamin C, I hear. And besides, the better I get, the less this will happen! Instead of being annoyed by it though, I'm quite proud. I feel like I'm part of a new subculture, and I have the markings to prove it:
For awesome hooping resources in Ottawa check out:
Hooping.org (the international hooping community's site)