The circular touch of the plastic in my hand almost instantly empowers me to forget all thoughts in my head. Maybe it is the concentration required to dance with the hoop. Or the magic that can be found within the sphere as the hoop clings to my body. Whatever it is, I can find peace in a hula hoop.
About four years ago, I glanced at a wall of workshops at a yoga studio. One poster in particular caught my eye – a hooping class. I had been looking to try something new, and this piqued my curiosity.
By the end of the hula-hooping workshop, I could do a few cool tricks, like a corkscrew up and a slow-motion lasso. And I found myself spending hours practicing. It was so addicting! I made new friends, and we hooped at concerts and camping, and even went to a hooping camp in the Black Forest outside of Monument.
Hooping for me (and many others) ignites flow. That experience where you lose track of time. That place of complete mindfulness. That sense of joy from focusing entirely on one thing. A flow that is similar for musicians, long-distance runners, and many other athletes. Flow is recognized across cultures and throughout history. Ancient wisdom texts refer to “action of inaction” and “doing without doing” states-of-mind. Research shows that flow makes our lives happier.
Although children have always played with hoops, the modern plastic hula hoop was invented in 1958 by Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr. Hoop dancing communities have recently sprung up across the world, giving rise to a hula hoop re-emergence. And with the workshop, I stumbled upon one of those hoop dancing communities.
Today, my toddler grins ear-to-ear when I start twirling in our backyard. The sun shines brightly and warms the crisp fall air. Her smile somehow grows even bigger when I start spinning the hoop around her as she stands tall in the grass. She, too, seems a bit entranced by the hoop.