HoopWise

  • Increasing Flexibility for Hoopers

    Increasing Flexibility for Hoopers

     

    Hey Hoopers and gonna' be Bendy Babes (boys and girls!).

    Do the words "I'm not flexible" or "I'll never be flexible" ring a bell?

    They do for me.

    Despite what you've been told, or may have been telling yourself, being flexible is accessible to any one of us that wants to be flexible. The  misconception here is if you haven't been training since you were four, you will never make any progress now. How wrong that is!

    Here's my story. I was nineteen years old when I started training hula hoops and contortion. I had no experiencing in flexibility training or any knowledge of how my body "flowed". I started from ground zero. What worked for me was having this realization that my body was merely made of knots. Knots that I had been ignoring for nineteen years, and each knot represented a part of my past. The more I worked on untying these knots the happier I was and the more flexible I became (in both mind and body, yoga jazz).

     

    Upon the realization that I was flexible, my body became flexible.

    As long as I worked towards untying those knots my body would loosen and bend into it's new mold, that be touching my toes, going for full splits, or deep back bending. It took twelve uncomfortable months and many breakthrough moments but eventually I did touch my toes and as more time passed I saw my body accomplishing what I once thought impossible for myself.

    And that will happen for you!

    Hooping has changed the way I look at my health and potential. It has improved my cardio and coordination, strength and flexibility and inspired me to be in the best shape of my life.

    Every milestone we pass, is another knot untied.

    In this article I'll be sharing tips and tricks on increasing flexibility to pull off some of those tricky hoop combos and yoga poses you want to perform. I wish you all the best in your bendy journey, keep practicing and keep playing - progress will happen! Let me know if you have any tips I may have missed, feel free to share them with the community in the comments section below.

    1. Brainstorm and Visualize

     Seeing is believing! Think of some of the kick ass flex poses that you want to work towards and visualize yourself doing them. It will create confidence in the poses. I've gone as far as to dreaming my way through the trouble shooting of balance and poise. You can doodle, draw or paint the poses you hope to one day accomplish. Having a picture to look at every day will keep you inspired.

     

    Create a list for yourself of what you hope to accomplish in the new year.

    The first yoga poses/asanas I chose were;

    - Forearm Stand (foot hooping)

    - Anything with a Back-bend!

    - Dancers Pose

    - Shoulder Stand to Tiger Pose (footing hooping and roll over)

    My shoulder stand to tiger pose (foot hooping roll over) was something I had thought of doing for years but doubted I could. One night, after visualizing myself performing the roll over I was able to troubleshoot the dynamics and perform the trick.

    Share your brainstorming with us in the comments section,

     2. Join a Yoga Class

    Yoga is pretty much accessible wherever you go. Search for studios in your area and check out the local teachers. Practitioners of an advanced yoga background are usually more than happy to give you pointers on your journey.

    When I first moved to Australia I couldn't afford to take yoga classes as much as I wanted to, so I signed up for a "work trade" program. The work trade programs ask for you to clean the studio and work reception tasks in trade for yoga classes. This program is available all over the world but is not often advertised. You may have to ask around and check in with multiple studios before you find the right fit. This is an alternative way you can seek mentor-ship on a budget.

    Having a regular practice and studio will motivate you to make use of the tools available for yourself.

    3. Accept Growing Phase

    When you first start working towards a deeper practice understand that almost everything will feel weird and new to your body. It's not about looking pretty or getting there the fastest, take your time and enjoy the plausible falls and shakes.

    When working towards an advanced goal, set mini goals.

    For example,

    "The next time I practice I will hold for X seconds"

    "Today I will try X yoga pose/ asana"

    Remind yourself of how far you have come. Taking progress pictures is a great way to keep up with your training.

     

     Take time and enjoy the knots you untie.

    4. Bendy Friends and hoop

     

    Having someone to stretch with will bring new energy into your practice and motivate you both to make progress in your training. Set play dates with your friends, gym dates, park dates, etc. It's a great way to avoid repetitive practice.

    You can challenge your friend and set goals together, or skill share your different experiences and specialties.

    Acro Yoga is a great practice for improving your balance and coordination, join a class with your new best bendy friend and have fun!

     

    Bring your hoop to stretch with you.

    Flowing through the poses with and without a hoop will improve your balance and coordination. Try footing hooping through a series of yoga asanas or standing balance poses while knee hula hooping.

    Not sure where to find like minded bendy babes? If you have a circus studio join one of the drop in classes and ask around. Look into yoga classes and workshop series featuring acro yoga, hula hooping, etc. Join local jams and put yourself out there! Don't be afraid to ask for support when you need it.

    5. Youtube

    When in doubt, turn to the internet for never ending inspiration and videos (but don't spend to much time "training" behind your screen). There is a never ending source of flexibility training videos on Youtube targeting the muscles groups you want. The internet is also a great place to find hula hooping tutorials to help break down some of the advances bendy poses you are going for.

    Below I've link some of my favorite flexibility and training videos.

    Contortion Warm Up

    Front Splits with Andrew McQueen (my first trainer in Australia)
    Visha Lu Calgary Contortionist

    Otgo Waller

    Hoop Yogini, Hoop Yoga

    and this girl, just for fun..

    6. Stretch everywhere

    Short and sweet, where ever and when ever you can, stretch! Try stretching during your every day tasks, like brushing your teeth or when you're in the shower (don't fall, that'd be horrible). You can stretch while you're waiting for the bus or cooking a meal. It's great to keep your body warmed up and those five minutes will make a difference in your practice.

    That's all for now, keep at it! Bendy Babes!

    Love, Kate

  • Creating a Healthy Support System: For Hoopers and Entrepreneurs

    Hey Hoopers and Hoop Performers!

    Having a healthy support group in your life can make all the difference in your performance, brand and business.

    However, allowing yourself to feel the love (all the love) from your community, friends and family can have it's difficulties, especially if you're out there trying to save the world entirely on your own!

    As entrepreneurs we can get SO caught up in our own work and become so driven to "be something" rather then "do something". Surrounding yourself with real people, who share the same values as you makes all the difference on your work ethic, overall happiness AND self confidence (which is HUGE if you're anything like me, and sometimes lock yourself away behind the computer).

    Feeling underappreciated in your most personal work can take its toll; it can cause anxiety, depression and focus all the wrong efforts on a lack of self confidence.

    And not talking about it... will cause a nasty riffle effect. Sometimes, we feel lonely. That's a thing. Having a proper support system can make a world of difference, so here's some tips, tricks and "doings" for creating a healthy support system, getting out of the house and meeting all the right people to take your hoop goals and business to the next level!

     

    1. Find Your Tribe

    Reaching out the community around you will be a powerful tool for sharing new ideas, coaching one another and building each other to be stronger men and women. Surrounding yourself with other hoopers, entrepreneurs, flow artists and dreamers will build your self confidence and help you feel like more of a "WE" then "I". Rather then thinking "what can I do?", consider thinking "what can WE accomplish!" After all, we are an awesome group on unique hoopers who want ALL the hoop love for EVERYONE!

    If you are unable to find your tribe, consider creating your own by hosting social gatherings, connecting with artists over the internet and chatting with the people you look up to!

    2. Share Mutual Goals - Collaborate

    Collaborating with like minded artists can bring new life to your work, create excitement in a boring routine and is a much healthier alternative then competition in your community. That being said, competition CAN be healthy (check out Community vs. Competition here!) We all have our individual ways to accomplish our goals and create new work, so why not share that with your friends and supporters. They say two heads is better than one, how about two hoops!

     

    Invite hoopers over for training/ play dates, here you can share new trick ideas and choreography with each other.

    If you're the kind of hooper and entrepreneur who loves to pump our online content consider inviting a friend over for a productivity powwow (Thanks Safire - who's seated beside me as I write this), it will motivate, encourage and bring a new set of eyes to the table.

    3. Do VS. Non Doing

    What a POWER move this is! Have you ever heard someone say "do the thing!", it's the best advice I can give you.

    The act of doing can bring you outside your comfort zone and connect you with new and exciting people. You can spend all the time you want thinking up new ideas, and playing around behind the scenes, but unless you share and do the thing you really want to - no one will know it exists.

    Simple acts like; LEAVING the house can introduce you to new opportunities.

    Hoopers often ask me "how do you do it?", and the answer is simple, it is the act of actually physically getting up and DOING the thing, whatever and however crazy it may seem! The only difference is the doing and the non-doing. Give yourself daily tasks to work towards a bigger goal.

    Examples:

    Today I will share my goals with someone I trust and collect feedback.

    Today I will join a hoop jam and share ideas with other hoopers and entrepreneurs.

    Today I will accomplish a mini goal that will be the foundations to a larger goal (Rome wasn't built in a day!).

    4.  Check Yourself - and others too

    You know what's best for yourself and your profession, so do what you feel is the best thing to do. As much as I don't want to say it and admit this, be careful WHO you partner with. Some partnerships might not be the best for you and your brand, consider what values you have and put yourself first. It's okay to protect your art.

    When approaching or being approached by supportive roles, meditate on the relationship. Is this someone you want your brand to be associate with? Does this FEEL right? Do I connect with this person and/or group?

    More often than not, relationships, sponsorship's and partnerships can look much "shinier" than they actually are. We grow excited over potential opportunities and maybe find ourselves distract by the reality of the situation. That's OK, it happens, to almost everyone.  If you' re able to distinguish and, if needed, defuse the situation in a positive way (i.e - before you've committed, contracted and established the partnership) you'll save yourself from potential fall outs, disagreements and disappointment.

    You can do this by sharing an open conversation with the parties involved, ask yourselves; What do we hope to gain from this relationship? How can we support each other? Do we share the same values?

    Don't be afraid to leave the relationship either, over time our values may change and the partnership can take a hit. If you are no longer feeling secure in the relationship it might be time to talk with the parties involved about moving in a new direction - that be separating or reevaluating the partnership. This can be a difficult conversation to have, think logically about why you may be leaving the relationship and try your best to keep the split amicable.

    It will make a world of difference when you feel supported by, and support the right kind of people. When the time comes you'll know you've found your perfect fit!

    Love and all the best,
    Kate

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    Do you have any great tips and tricks that have inspired you to support yourself with a healthy support system?? Share you stories below!

    In the past twelve months I have made a conscious effort to surround myself with supportive and successful people. Mostly women! It has made the world of difference. I made a change in sponsors and became an ambassador for the most amazing family-run company. I reached out to many great mentors and friends who share the same values as I regarding social circus for social injustice. These actions have assisted in my overall happiness, drive and self confidence. I am inspired by the people I surround myself with!

    That's a choice anyone of us has the power to make and will change their lives for the best!

  • 25 Signs you are Hopelessly Addicted to Hooping

    Lisa Looping having a blast with her hoops in Vienna, Austria. Lisa Looping having a blast with her hoops in Vienna, Austria.

    1. You always have hoops in your car.
    2. The hoops in your car are worth more than your car.
    3. You have dreams about hooping sequences.
    4. You manipulate any object you can get your hands on.
    5. You notice circles. You see them EVERYWHERE!
    6. Your Instagram feed is like, hooping, only hooping. And you prefer it that way.
    7. You live in a place with high ceilings.
    8. You had hoops at your wedding, or you plan on hooping at your wedding. Of course.
    9. You carry a hoop on your person everywhere you go.
    10. You start to think there are only 2 kinds of people in the world. 1) Hoopers 2) Lame, boring people
    11. A day goes by and you get depressed, because you did not get to hoop.
    12. You own more funky leggings and stretchy flow clothes than formal clothes, or any other type of clothes for that matter.
    13. You get a little star struck when you see your favorite teacher outside of class, but you keep it cool because you know that we are all human and all equal.
    14. When your mind wanders, you think about tricks you are looking forward to mastering.
    15. You are not ashamed to whip out your hula hoop at your office, parking lot or at the bus stop.
    16. 30 day challenges mean very little to you. Don't people hoop everyday anyways?
    17. The only selfies you have on social media contain yourself and a hula hoop
    18. Hooping is the last thing you think about when you fall asleep, and the first thing you think about when you wake up.
    19. You post so many hooping videos, your non hooping friends stop following you.
    20. You hoop wherever you go.
    21. You believe hooping is the new sex, the new tantra. it's so enlightening.
    22. You hoop on vacation. you take pictures of you hooping in exotic places. You've hooped on a mountaintop or in front of a waterfall.
    23. You are Hoop smug. You have no idea why your friends are not hooping because it is the best thing in the world. What's wrong with them??
    24. You think hooping cures everything. I mean it does, right?
    25. you use hashtags like #hoopeverydamnday

    We hope you enjoyed the 25 signs you are hopelessly addicted to hooping, we know there are some we missed so let us know in the comments below what we should add!

    -The Hoopologie Team

  • Hooping & Essential Oils

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    Of the many things in life we have found a great passion for, there are two we've discovered that go very well together: Hooping and Essential Oils.
    The interplay of these two beneficial practices create a myriad of benefits physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. While some of you may have a greater understanding of and experience with using essential oils, others of you may be more in touch with just your hoop. We're here to help you become more connected with both and thereby enhance your daily practices.

    • EOs and Hooping are known to support the body's healthy functions. Essential oils are the perfect wellness supplement since they are created purely from nature. Unlike nutritional supplements, essential oils work on a chemical level, which gives them the ability to support cellular structure and function- the very building blocks of our beings. Practicing with your hoop provides a means to strengthen your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well being.

     

    • Both EOs and hooping focus on the “individual” Individuals who are new to the concept of incorporating essential oils into daily living are often surprised by the vast number of choices available for supporting specific wellness goals. This variety allows us to experiment and explore, not only with which essential oils we best respond to, but we can also tweak how much, how often, and the method of application. When it comes to hooping practice, we can see how everyone may benefit or be drawn to a specific style, and as the journey evolves they settle into a flow that serves their individuality.

     

    • Both are tools. EOs and Hooping are tools to enhance the body’s capacity to support a healthy lifestyle and feel amazing in every facet of life.

     

    • Both can affect emotional well-being. Aromatherapy is a science on its own, using the olfactory system to connect with the body’s limbic system to pull us out of emotional potholes. Similarly, hooping practices can calm the central nervous system, energize and empower us, pull us away from negativity, and help us feel the potential of our own strength.

     

    • Both are a “practice.” We practice to understand ourselves and our surrounding world better, and to see where our efforts can be helpful and useful. We practice not only to learn how to be strong and healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but also to go beyond and learn to be better human beings every day- to affect positive change and make our world a better place. As with very definition of the word practice, we must work at using these tools consistently so that we refine our abilities and evolve along the way.

     

    If you are interested in learning more about DoTerra Essential Oils, please email us at info@hoopologie.com. We are currently looking for some leaders to help build our team.  If you are interested in signing up for a wholesale account (25% off Retail) please visit the Hoopologie Doterra Wellness Advocate Page.

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  • Creating a Character, for Hoopers and Hoop Performers

    unnamed (1)Hey Hula Hoopers and Hoop Performers!

    Recently I've been asked by hoopers for advice on creating and performing a successful hoop show. I think it's great so many of us hoopers are this enthusiastic to share our hoop love with the world. So I've created a list of suggestions on the topic of becoming a hoop performer.

    The most valued influence on my shows is to first create a relate-able character that an audience will enjoy.

    Why create a character? For one, it's fun to play dress up and play pretend! I've found that creating a character to experiment with inspires creativity when building the show, it also allows me to "think outside of the box" and step outside of my comfort zone. The characters we create breath new life into our hula hoop flow, and personally I've found new confidence in myself with these characters.

    Below are some of my suggestions on the topic of "Creating a Hoop Character".

    1. Find your Character

    From performing your act, to selling your shows, one thing that will set you apart is the character you play. This is your chance to embody an alter persona of your own. An important tool to creating confidence in your character, is committing to them (don't worry, there is no limit to the number of characters you may play!), you may also name your character, play dress up, and experiment with angles of your characters personality. That being said, there is nothing more confusing than a show that doesn’t know its niche. If you’re silly, BE silly. If you’re full of emotion, BE that emotion. Whatever it is, commit.

    This representation is often a version of ourselves we want to share, born from a story we’ve always wanted to tell. Over time you will get to know your character and who they are as the individual parts of yourself, what makes them tick, what makes them happy. These are important foundations to being comfortable on stage. Know yourself and all the different parts of you will follow.

    For example take my inspirations: Lisa Lotti - Circus and Multi Hooper, Rachel Lust - Breaks Master and Ninja Warrior, and SaFire - Teacher and Role model. These hoopers found their niches and played upon them. Find yours, and run with it!

    2. Know your Crowd

    Performing the right character for the right crowd can make or break your show. Take into consideration the crowds you will be performing for and ask yourself "Where is my medium ground?"

    A number of my own shows have been lost in translation because I performed an ill-judged character for an audience that didn't understand her. It surprised me that some of the most difficult tricks I know, were not the best performed for certain crowds. For example, a children's character requires color, comedy, and a shining personality (but not the world's most difficult hoop tricks), while a corporate booking may require more artsy skill than bubbly personality.

    Last but not least, really get to know your crowd. I have two exercises I perform with, the first I pick out two or three people and continue to acknowledge them throughout the show. The second, make eye contact!

    3. Play 

    Performers and artists alike, play is an essential learning tool in bringing new life to your work. Young children’s play allows children to explore, identify, take risks and create meaning. The very same applies to us as grown up's, and thank goodness! Almost all of my bits and characters (bits being the fun comical banter you may hear during a show) have been discovered through "play dates" with my circus friends.

    Playing creates a moment for our authentic characters to speak, on top of that it's fun and at the end of the day your "job" as a hoop performer SHOULD be FUN!

     I have a story I'd love to share. It is about a comedy character that I perform, her name is "Kate the Lifeguard". My lifeguard character is only a year old, and she has MC'd two circus festivals, performed at numerous festivals as a roving character and inspired thousands of people to PLAY. She is the essence of "being yourself, not giving a damn, and having a good time". I discovered her completely by accident. It was on the third day of rain at a music festival when I decided I was going to have a good time, I was done with the rain, raining on my parade, I was going to play. I threw on this costume pictured below, and picked up a floaty toy, and swam in a mud puddle for six hours.

     Alas, "Kate the Lifeguard" was born. This character is so much more than a funny bit I do, she is the happiest parts of myself, she is the fun part of my job, she keeps me grounded in a world so focused on what our successes "look like". She is muddy, dirty, and authentically me.

    Be amazed by parts of yourself that you will discover through the simple act of being silly. If you aren't sure where to start, tell silly jokes, dress up fabulously, do something entirely out of your comfort zone (grocery shopping in a princess dress?), make people laugh, and have fun with your art! Before you know it you'll have a fun new character to share in your act!

    It's yours to create!

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    Remember, none of these character you create have to be over the top! A character could simply be yourself, and that is more than enough to put on an awesome hoop show! These are only my suggestions from personal experience.

    Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments section on my webpage (www.kateryan.ca). Do you have any exercises you love to use when writing a new character? Suggestions for other hula hoop performers?

    Kate Ryan

  • 7 Reasons to Hoop this Summer

    Ninja Hoops Ninja Hoops Zach & Marria styling out their Ninja form on a beautiful Summer day in Boulder, Colorado.

    1. You meet new friends

    Hooping is an amazing way to meet new friends. You’ll be surprised how many other hoopers you can stumble upon around the city while going to different parks, especially during the summer! If you live in a more rural area, there is a high chance you can connect with hoopers near you through social media to arrange hooping meetups!

    2. You get outside and improve quality of life

    Being outside in nature is proven to naturally reduce stress and increase well-being, and that effect is amplified when you’re being physically active. Grab your hoops and head to a park or other grassy area and notice how your mood and demeanor improve!

    3. You move your body and play with artistic expression, thereby enhancing your self-image

    Moving, creating, and expressing are all amazing ways to get in touch with yourself. When all three are combined you become a powerhouse of artistic expression and significantly enhance your self-image, which has become a well-known benefit of hooping.

    4. You might lose some weight and increase your metabolism

    While many of us start hooping for fun, a wonderful added benefit is the ability hooping has to increase your physical health. Many hoopers lose weight unintentionally (or intentionally!), and if nothing else, you will most likely experience an increased metabolism and greater vitality.

    5. You'll be happier and relieve symptoms of depression

    Hundreds of stories have surfaced from hoopers around the world sharing how hooping has helped them in extraordinary ways. Hooping can be a motivation to get outside and get moving when all else seems lack luster in life, or if you’re just feeling a little down. Movement naturally secretes endorphins and thereby causes us to feel better, so when hooping is done on a regular basis, there is a high chance you will start to feel happier overall and even begin to relieve symptoms of depression if present.

    6. You'll practice mindfulness and reduce stress

    Meditation and mindfulness practices have been a proven catalyst for huge reductions in overall stress in life. Many people have found hooping to be a meditative practice because of the melodic repetition and focus it provides.

    7. You can discover new music

    Hooping provides a wonderful opportunity to discover new music. Put a radio station on Pandora or Spotify from a song or artist you love, and the floodgates of new, amazing music will open!

    Danielle Odette spins her one-of-a-kind prop, called a SQUIDGE, in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Hula HoopStars Code of Conduct Part Two

     

     

    Hula HoopStars Code of Conduct Part Two

    For those of you just joining, this is part two of the Hula HoopStars Code of Conduct written by Kate Ryan, Canadian Hoopologie Ambassador. Catch up with the introduction in part one here.

    Hey Hula Hoopers! Welcome back to the Hula HoopStars Code of Conduct; Part Two. The Hula HoopStars Code is a collection of ideologies, or the "How to Succeed without Really Trying" Chapter created from both personal and collective experiences in the industry I work in (performance art/ entertainment). It is the simplest way I could share the "quick fixes", as to how one could succeed in finding their happy place.

    It is what being a role model, and Ambassador means to me.

    These are the lessons learned, ideas shared, and practices that myself, and many others have experienced in the wonderful world of Hula HoopStars (all spinners and sinners included!).

    So, lets get to it!

    ___________________________________________________________________

    Hulahoop Stars Code of Conduct

    3. Perception & Perfection

    Perception: "a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression".

    Perfection: "the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects".

                    I always wanted to be a performer. Growing up I had dreams to succeed in dance and performance art (as well as a million other dreams, a fairly imaginative kid I was). I wanted to be recognised for the work that I could create. Performing in front of the mirror; I would sing and dance pretending I was on the television. I remember singing Disney songs to my mom when I was just 8 years old. I believed I was meant to be on stage, what a cliché. I loved to make people laugh, make them smile, and inspire them to move.

     

    Watching videos of dancers, gymnasts, anyone who moved... moved me. I would whisper to myself "I want to be just like them, I want to be a dancer".

    These people had found themselves entirely in their own bodies of work and I too wanted to find myself in the things I was passionate. As I aged, I grew to compare myself to others and by doing so I was unknowingly taking away from my own potential.

    The more we tell ourselves "I want be someone else", the less of ourselves we will ever be.

    Based on my lack of credentials I was convinced I would never make it as a professional dancer. Realisically I would never be good enough. Despite this three years ago I started training, fully under the impression that it was far too late to have a chance at a 'career'. My lines would never be perfect, my toes would never point and no matter how hard I trained there was always someone who made it 'look' easier. Criticism aside, I did enjoy dancing and it made me happy. It was only my own perception that made me feel like it wasn't enough.

    I needed to believe I was a dancer, maybe a late bloomer but capable of excelling. So I would tell myself over and over again 'YOU are enough'. And even if i didn't believe it sometimes, I would keep on reminding myself.

     The change of heart can be found in how we view, practice and set our intentions of moving forward. 

    Even with four years experience on the high beams I still was an awkward kid. Picked last in gym class, I had no rhythm. But I believed that I was graceful. It wasn't until my vulnerable teenage years that I allowed others to sow seeds of doubt in me.

    Today I percieve myself not as perfect but as able. I am able to be the woman who I had always dreamed of, and in this I feel confident enough to move forward.

    I allow myself to Shape Me.

    ...and as my sister's husband admitted to me last weekend "for a Ryan girl, you've actually got grace". I think it is working.

     

    Perception is an essential tool in creating your happiness.

    There are days when you wake up and feel as if you will never be good enough. And then there are days, moments before you step on stage where you feel more in control than ever. You feel your body as your own best friend. Those are the days where you can feel at home in your heart.

    That is the perception of self.

    There are days when I grow to accept I will never be Julianne Hough, and days where I happily accept being me, Kate Ryan. There are days when I feel years behind, regretful that I had dropped out of gymnastics and damaged my potential. Then there are days when I feel for a moment I do embody some elegant ballerina, who studied and practiced for years. I look in the mirror and see myself as graceful and capable.

    Perfection may be defined by the book as "the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects"However freedom is not a part of perfection. It is the exact opposite. You will never be free of your flaws or defects; these are the things that make us different. We wouldn't want to free ourselves from the little things that make us unique.

     

    I will never be perfect.

    I will never be free of my knobbly knees, or wobbly toes.

    And I wouldn't want to be either.

    When we let go of our expectations to be 'perfect' we allow ourselves to authentically BE.

    I see myself as both a dancer and a clown. I embrace the body in which I am feeling into every day and every day is different.

    If I chose to embrace the woman who I see myself as tomorrow, today, she lives right here and now.

    It is a matter of perceiving ourselves as able beings, it is the moment we stop comparing ourselves to others and embrace who we are at the very core.

    The moment I began to experiment with my potential (no matter who thought otherwise) was the moment I could truly breathe. It is a matter of accepting where we are in the moment, and potentially making a huge mess of it.

    Make it messy, and have all the fun!!

    You are capable of living to your fullest potential, and today that is more than enough.

  • Confessions of a Hulahoop-Star

    The How to Succeed Without Really Trying Chapter.

    Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Kate Ryan. I am a professional street performer, circus artist, corporate entertainer, festival shaker, and hula hoop maker, among many other quirks of the "oddball" trade. I am not much different then you. I have my hopes and dreams, and I aspire to be the best version of myself daily. Some days I fall short, some days I don't. Some days I find myself in quite the pickle. Thankfully, there is an abundance of good-will and lucky charms in my life, as there is in yours. I am surrounded by beautiful people everyday, as are you. I listen to what the world around me is saying and try my best to be what we consider a "good person". I have my shadows and my flaws. These are the things that make us unique. When I was 19 years old I visited my childhood dream of traveling the world. I left with a measly $800 and traveled two countries for 15 months. I had some help during my travels, in which I am forever grateful for. I studied traditional circus hula hoops and social circus overseas and returned home to Canada this summer to solidify my career as a Hulahoop-Star (like a Hulahoop-ster with more glitter and glitz). I am currently in the beginning stage of my North American tour, and this is my third tour funded and supported by the art in which I create.

    It has been anything but easy.

    This November I was named the first Canadian Ambassador of the respectable Hoop-Everything company, Hoopologie. In this moment I realized I had many unanswered questions about myself and my work. So I began asking what it really meant to be an Ambassador for this well-rounded (see what I did there!) community. I knew being named an Ambassador was more then just a title, so what was it?

    "How did I get here?"

    "What does it mean to represent a global network of Hulahoop-Stars?"

    "What do I want to manifest out of this career?"

    "What ideologies will I chose to represent and live by?", and most importantly, "In what ways will I use my voice to contribute to the hoop community?"

    I began to summarize a list of experiences I have lived through and set apart the good from the bad; what has worked and what has not? What have I learned that has brought me here today, and how will I pass this knowledge on?

    ***Sidenote; this is not only for Hulahoop-Stars, you can apply these lessons in any practice, any play, any way in life!

     

    Below is a collection of two life lessons I experimented with during my global travels teaching and performing in the industry of circus. This is not the ONLY way to succeed in manifesting your dreams, however. Allow me to clarify- this is only a collection of ideologies that has worked for me and my work. This is a collection of guidelines I will embody to my very best. If it helps in any way then my part is done, and if not, then my part is still done. Take what you wish from these lessons and always... PLAY!

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    Hulahoop-Stars Code of Conduct 

    1. Community & Competition

    Community: "a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common."
    Competition: "the activity or condition of competing: rivalry" 

     

     I was 6 months a hula hooper when I moved to Asia and performed my first ever solo piece. It was magical. I was praised for my talents and devotion to such a practice. I held my head high, and it was the first glimpse of a woman who could make something of her life. It was the first glimpse of personal potential and power. Up until this point I had lived my life with insecurities and self-destructive patterns. In this practice I was able to see myself from a different perspective, and before I knew it I  developed an ego greater than the secret love of James Franco (who am I kidding, that's no secret). I figured that I was some kind of Hoop Goddess (and the only one there ever was), meditating and yoga-ing in this magic circle.... I put myself on my pedestal and frowned upon the so-called communities around me....

    What I actually did was remove myself from like-minded individuals and artists entirely. 

    This became apparent upon my travels to the land down under.

    I brought with me an ego bigger the the Buddha's belly himself.

    Because I had done this, I held my head higher than ever before. I was on the other side of the world, chasing my dreams and making them my reality. I was interesting, and my ego was apparent in my work. I noticed that I had zero "flow friends", and I struggled with admitting I had no real idea of what I was doing. To be vulnerable was to be weak, and my ego wasn't about to let that happen.

    It wasn't until I met the humble and sophisticated (and really human) Deanne Love that I was quickly removed from this place.

    If Deanne Love (of HoopLovers) would want to be my friend and supporter, who the hell was I on this lonely pedestal?

    When I arrived in Australia I was greeted with open arms by best of the best in the Hoop world; my ego took a beating. It became apparent to me that this was my ego, my problem. I thought I was special- the very best their could be. I was definitely not the best, and today I don't want to be the best. I want to be me. In meeting these inspiring individuals I realized that we ALL have a gift that deserves to be enjoyed by others.

    This experience, the one in which I hoarded and ate all the cake to myself.... overly indulging in self-love.... created a not so humble, competitive version of me. I secretly spewed hate at anyone who was living and breathing the life I so desperately wanted. I ignored the magic that was my life.

    I found myself constantly comparing me to them.

    I initially robbed myself of learning and being inspired by these Hoop-Stars. I was intimidated by the Hulahoop-Stars around me- I saw them as competition.

     

    Negative perception only harmed me as an individual performer and artist. Thankfully my ego was​​ eventually bruised and slightly broken. Without my ego driving in the front seat, I was able to see the hard work and devotion that each and every artist puts into their work. I began to appreciate the individual for their gifts and what we could co-create as a community together. I learned more from my community then I ever would have myself.

    This will forever be a reminder and something that I am constantly working towards.
    Just last month I was greeted in Canada by another like-minded artist. She had hopes and dreams very similar to my own. You would think this would make us stronger- two heads better then one. I spent a day or two feeling disrupted by this presence. To move through this feeling I had created for myself.....

    I had to move forward WITH her....

    I would not remove myself from her and her gifts. I would not challenge her or separate our levels of work. No, I would do the thing I was most scared of... I would include her as if she was the only friend I ever had. And shockingly I was comforted to be surrounded by such a woman. I extended my hand in support and gratitude, and received very much the same back. We were living very similar lives, had many things in common, and were able to share with each other the magic in our lives. We each learned something new and were grateful for our short time together.

    If you choose to view your communities as competition you will very well live your life on a different level, your level. You will take away the thing in which you crave the most. Removing yourself from support, skill sharing, and the occasional partner butt hoop - which is one of the most bonding experiences I have ever had.
    On that note, competition CAN be a healthy outlet in creative aspirations, but only when you include others in your sometimes dangerous, sometimes vulnerable, safety circle. Competition can challenge us to try new things and enlighten us to a feeling of endless possibilities.

    Remember, you are the BEST version of yourself....and so is Jimmy, Timmy, and Kimmy...

    We are in this together. 

    Forever, Play.

     

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    2. Inspiration & Limitations

    Aligned with Community & Competition, we find Inspiration & Limitations....

    When given the choice, choose to inspire..... 

     

    There is a fine line between inspiring your peers and.... limiting them. Our ego plays a major role in differentiating these two polar opposites.

    When we speak in the direction of our peers, is what we are saying a direct reflect of how we are truly feeling?

    Is there an ulterior motive? 

    Is "less for you, really more for me?"

     The moment you perceive yourself as "can do's" and "can't do's", the moment you compare yourself to another....is the moment you remove yourself from inspiring the world around you (and yourself).

    Each and everyone of us has a gift in which we chose to share with the world. In some practices we will flourish, in others we will fall. Every one of us has our forte.

    Remember this when a peer of yours surprises you in their quickly learned talents, remember that you do have a gift, the thing in which you where meant to do. Do not let another's riches blind site you from your own. As well, do not allow your ego to rob them of their moment.

    Success is Support.

    I recently had a client whom asked me to not work in the ways I was working. The client was hurt that I had made the choice to move forward without their approval and support. After many heated discussion and child like arguments we both came to the simple conclusion that this... sucked.

    I was left with the feeling of being stuck. And, I started with the feeling of being stuck. I had made a full circle going nowhere. Stuck in an absolute rut. I wanted to grow and move forward, I felt inspired by my own potential and future until this "more for you, is less for me" conversation was brought to light. I had experienced disappointment from one of my close peers and business partners, and they had experienced the same from me.

    Here's the thing, more for me is NOT less for you. Less for me is NOT more for you.

    I believe this fall out could have been easily avoided. Had we both been a bit more, supportive.....

    The reality of this, not everyone will like your work and how you manage yourself. Not everyone will agree with you. Not everyone will inspire you. Some will make you feel trapped and territorial. Having felt both sides of the spectrum here, I can openly admit that both sides.... suck.

     

    I have limited my fellow performers in the ways that they work. Asking them to disregard bookings because of my own personal beliefs (i.e mainly free bookings that irk something deep within me). And yet, when I first started most of my gigs were free.

    How else was I suppose to gain experience?

    This is a very contradicting story I know. I have asked of them to sacrifice opportunity because I was feeling selfish and territorial. And I have been asked to sacrifice opportunity because of entitlement.

    Understand that as we all breathe the same air and oxygen into our lungs, we will not use our breath in the same ways.

    When you find yourself in these moments, inspire. Not matter the cost on your entitlement our ego. Inspire your community.

    Ask yourself is what I am saying/ acting upon inspirational? Is this a worthy lesson I am practicing?

    When we breathe and live in Inspiration we are gifted an abundance of possibilities. When we breathe and live in Limitations, there is no gift, no honor, there is nothing.

    Remember the time when you were limited by yourself. Do not wish this on others.
    Remember the time this practice felt impossible?

    Stay humble in your journey, and you will see many similarities in your communities, you will receive the direct support you need to grow as one, and as a whole.

    Remember the very first steps....

     

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    Thanks for reading the HulahoopStars Code of Conduct for the month of December!

    For easy reading I have saved the remaining bits and pieces for next month's newsletter!

    Here's a hint to what the Code will cover!

    3. Perception & Perfection
    4. Force & Flow

    Enjoy!

    May all you dreams come true!

  • New Year’s, Personal Growth, and the Beginner’s Mind

    _DSC0166The New Year has been a pivotal and celebrated time to humankind for thousands of years. Our modern times have proven that we are no exception, and hoopers everywhere are joining the ranks of celebration and new beginnings. Often times getting lost amidst the hubbub of the “New Year, New You” mantra, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that personal growth and transformation should not only be reserved for the fast to fade excitement over transitioning from year to year. Not to say we should stifle a fun and tribal tradition in lieu of this sentiment, but it is important to remember that our personal growth path is a never-ending one.

    Now, some of you might be asking- what does this have to do with hooping? The answer: everything. Every single hooper I’ve ever had an in depth conversation with has always circled back to the notion that hooping has helped them immensely with multiple facets of their life- AKA, personal growth. However, many of us, myself included, sometimes lose a bit of the excitement and love we first experienced with hooping after doing so for years. There may be periods in which we are hooping every day for hours, and some when we don’t hoop much, or at all. While there are innumerable reasons we experience this bell-curve, a huge one I’ve encountered (and almost every other hooper I observe) is getting swept up in the hooping world that lies outside of myself. When we begin focusing too much on hoop-making, viewing videos of others, taking videos for others to see, learning new techniques and tricks, etc, instead of being intimately alone dancing and flowing with our hoop just for ourselves, it becomes easy to upset the delicate balance of our relationship with our hoop.

    By no means am I implying hoop-making, taking and viewing videos, and the like are negative in the slightest (in fact they are immensely beneficial!), but when we neglect our truly “alone” time with our hoop we create the potential to lose out on the profound benefits that hooping has to offer; hence the reason it is such a delicate balance. One of the greatest pieces of wisdom that I have attained with my circle thus far is that hooping is a way of practicing self-love and learning how to carry it with you into your daily life. This practice and absorption can begin to become mute if we dwell too much outside of our own intimate little world with our hoop by focusing too much on others’. In some scenarios it can even add to or create feelings of jealousy, self-judgment, lack of motivation, and the like.

    All of these feelings, including many unmentioned, are a part of those innumerable reasons we might find ourselves straying away from hooping as much as we’d ideally like to, adding to the bell-curve. This evidently happens to more of us than we might think, otherwise we would not be witnessing so many hoop challenges on social networking sites motivating us to hoop for a certain length of time every day for x number of days. I personally notice even more of these pop up around the New Year because of the previously mentioned “New Year, New You” mantra that becomes so infectious. While these are all amazing motivations and fun, social ways to get us hooping more, I like to pose and ponder the question, “how can we keep this motivation, personal growth, and self-love alive and kicking every single day throughout the year?” One of the greatest answers is quite simple, really. Go back to the way hooping used to make you feel when you first started- your beginner’s mind.

    While it is easier said than done for most of us, even just making the slightest effort and acknowledging that you have the ability to be back in that beginner’s mind in every moment, it will make quite a noticeable difference in your daily practice (even if it’s only for five minutes!). Enjoy hooping for exactly what it is- hula-hooping, dance, movement, art... Enjoy the feeling of your hoop caressing you at every point of contact around your body. Enjoy the moving meditative state that your mind automatically slips into while spinning in circles. Just be aware and allow your beginner’s mind joy to shine through. And always remember- hooping is first and foremost a sacred time for your Self.

    As we continually learn and re-learn how to experience the happiness and self-love that exists within each and every one of us, there are ups and downs and turnarounds along the path. Just keep in mind that us hoopers have stumbled upon an amazingly beautiful tool that has the power to help in immeasurable ways when we continue to hone our relationship with it. Pull it out of your tool-belt on days you may be feeling lost and unmotivated, even if only for a few minutes. There is absolutely no need to wait for a new year or even a new hoop challenge to start or continue climbing up the next curve. Toss out that dated New Year’s mantra and replace it with “New Day, New You”, or create something of your very own. Because we are all constantly changing and transforming, we persistently have the opportunity to be exactly what we want to be and experience exactly what we want to experience. Every moment possesses the possibility to be something beautiful.

     

    ***Amber Lane of Lucid Hooping is a general lover-of-life and hoop enthusiast. After being diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and two herniated discs at the age of 17, she entered the world of healing and relief. She discovered the hoop and meditation in 2010 when she was 19 and instantly fell in love, not only because they boosted her self-confidence to new highs, but also because these modalities magically healed her chronic pain. Life since then has been a whirlwind of learning and sharing self-healing techniques and manifesting the life of her dreams. Through Lucid Hooping she hopes to help others in their journeys to health and true happiness through self-healing and transformation.

  • How to Deepen Your Hoop Practice

     

     

    Mallory Maki dances with the sunset  - Mission Beach, CA Mallory Maki dances with the sunset - Mission Beach, CA

    As a person who has hooped for over four years now, I can definitely say that I've experienced my fair share of searching for new ways to flow and even quite a few hooping “plateaus”- when you feel like you've learned all you can or have become stagnated for other reasons. Rest assured, however, that we all have limitless potential for learning, and that includes our precious little plastic circles. Perhaps thinking outside the box is all you need! In this piece I will go over a few helpful tips and new things you can try to help deepen your hoop practice or get that momentum going again if you feel you are stuck with nowhere to turn.

    Hoop blind folded

    Hooping blind folded might sound a bit unnerving or odd to some at first, but doing so offers many lessons. When we take away our sense of sight our other senses naturally heighten and create a different experience within the hoop. We can feel the hoop caress our bodies at every point single of contact on a much deeper level, and it also helps take away the judgment about how we think we may look.

    Dance without a hoop

    I personally reached a point this past year where I was ready to begin incorporating more dance like movements into my practice. While a lot of that came from messing around and trying weird dance moves with the hoop, a lot of the progress I made came from dancing freely with no prop and learning how to release my inhibitions. Even if you already dance with your hoop, try doing so without it for at least a few minutes every day. It feels amazing and invites a new twist!

    Hoop with different sizes

    Every time I felt stagnant with hooping I noticed that I had been using the same hoop size for a very long time. Changing your hoop size (whether going smaller or larger) may sound simple, but it transforms the dynamics of the way you move, respond, and play with your hoop, even if it’s just a tiny bit with certain moves. Doing so will open you up to a whole new world and many more years of practice.

    Stretch/do yoga

    Stretching or going even further by doing a physical yoga practice can open your body up to a whole new plethora of movements that can also be done with a hoop. It takes perseverance and willpower, but I’ve also found how much more easily I can move with my hoop in general after I’ve done some stretching or yoga, even if I’m not trying new moves per se. Limbering up the body works wonders.

    Hoop in both directions

    The first time I felt I hit a plateau a huge realization smacked me in the face- almost everything I had learned I only learned in one direction. Going back and correcting this proved to be much harder than it would have been if I had learned each move in both directions right away. Not only that, but the muscles on the left side of my body were noticeably lacking compared to the right, my right side was more lean, and my hips were not moving evenly. So while I had the chance to learn almost every move all over again and jump off my plateau in that regard, I also learned the hard way that uneven hooping could actually create disharmony in the body. Big surprise, huh? If you take one thing away from this piece- hoop in both directions for an even amount of time!

    Go back to the basics

    When many of us first start hooping, including me, we become so obsessed that we try to learn new moves as quickly as possible and often fall away from the basics that are waist and core hooping. Going back and working on perfecting your waist hooping allows you to work on your footwork and other small intricacies that can add a whole other level to your hoop dancing, especially from an audience’s perspective. This tip can actually be applied to any hoop move as well by going back to every trick and smoothing them out and working out technicalities.

    Try new props

    Trying new props such as staff, fans, poi, wand, etc… provides something completely new for you to figure out and play with. What’s even better, however, is that using new toys can help you figure out new ways of moving and new tricks that can be translated over to the hoop. Poi is an especially wonderful learning tool to utilize if you are ready to start using double hoops.

    Discovering new realms of movement, new items to introduce, and going back to what we already know is often all we need to facilitate a whole new chapter of growth with our hoops. If you have any other tips that have helped you deepen your own personal practice or overcome a hoop plateau I would love to hear them in the comments below. Please don’t hesitate to share! Now go forth and explore, hoopers! 

    ***Amber Lane of Lucid Hooping is a general lover-of-life and hoop enthusiast. After being diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and two herniated discs at the age of 17, she entered the world of healing and relief. She discovered the hoop and meditation in 2010 when she was 19 and instantly fell in love, not only because they boosted her self-confidence to new highs, but also because these modalities magically healed her chronic pain. Life since then has been a whirlwind of learning and sharing self-healing techniques and manifesting the life of her dreams. Through Lucid Hooping she hopes to help others in their journeys to health and true happiness through self-healing and transformation.

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