Here’s a magnificent little being who’s already found the ring of love. It’s easy for people of ALL ages to fall for the hoop, since it is simply a pretty-shaped object even if all you’re doing is picking it up, staring at it (a.k.a. being ‘hoopnitized’), or donning it on your wall as decoration. Don’t believe the myth that one needs to be able to actively waist hoop to enjoy all the many bennies. The hoop is far too useful in ways beyond the waist to cast it aside based on your age or body’s physical limitations. So get to it! Start surrounding yourself with circles and watch your world fill with MORE JOY.
Archive for the ‘Games’ Category
I cannot believe that I did not know about spin art until this week of my life. Not only am I a hooper (so naturally obsessed with mandalas and all things that orbit) but I had never set mine eyes on a spin art machine, much less even heard of it until I got a chance to see one in action at a camp where I taught hoopdance last week. After we’d wrapped up our hooping, I saw all the youth bustling in a far corner of the retreat space, and when I followed them over I found several gorgeous, bright-colored, circular-blasted paintings hanging to dry and a sweet older fellow helping folks one by one, affix their paper canvases to the inside of the spin machine and go to town on creating their prize paintings. Apparently this man had found an heavy-duty grade spin art machine at an estate sale and took time to clean it up and get it running well, and then volunteered his time to spread the spin art love with these young campers. What a splendid combination of activities for a youth (or any age!) camp~ hooping AND spin art… when I mentioned the natural association, people said they hadn’t until then thought of them being related. Well I’ll be! I want to spin more art! Pictured is the one I did very quickly just before departing… I shall name it ‘Spin Rising.’ : )
Recently I was lighting some cleansing sage (a.k.a. salvia apiana) in my oh-so-woo-ish way and popped outside for a quick spin with the hoop~ I kept the burning sage in my hand as I twisted within the infinite ring~ spinning my torso both counter-directionally from it- and then also conjoined in a sustained spin… a flowing, scented dance. Twisting as the ring surrounded my torso while burning sage in hand proved to be a great way to combine multiple senses (touch, scent or aromatherapy, movement & vision) and hence to combine powerful healing modalities. Over a number of years I have professed hooping to be a highly ‘neurobic’ activity- combining use of our senses in novel & interesting ways to help increase our brain wellness. For those of us who’ve been hooping now for quite a while- I believe we are wise to find creative ways of making our hooping practice stay novel & therefore, neurobic. I purport that adding scent inhalation to your hoop-experience is one such way. According to Wikipedia, the term ‘neurobics’ was coined by late neurobiologist & author Lawrence Katz to describe mental exercises designed to keep the brain alert. Wikipedia states, “It is presumed that unusual sensory stimulation and activities like non-routine actions and thoughts, produce more of such chemicals of the neurobiology system of body that encourage growth of new dendrites and neurons in the brain. Routine actions become so automatic to the individual that most of actions are done largely unconsciously. Such automated or unconscious actions require less activity in the brain, and exercise it less. With the help of neurobics exercises, it is claimed that one can stimulate the brain. An example of a neurobic exercise is to carry out a routine action such as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand,” OR, to this I add: HOOLA HOOPING IN YOUR NON-DOMINANT DIRECTION! And for an added brain boost: breathing in a special or sweet smell that you fancy. Oh wise and fragrant sage, you keep me sane! : )
There are infinite fun things you can do with hoops as props and tools for movement play- beyond the traditional & popular ’spinning it around you’ concept. Here are some of my favorites: You can make a ‘hoopscotch’ course on the ground and then jump through them one by one- or toss a hacky sac or small bean bag into the hoop path, seeing where it lands, then come up with a movement phrase to get from the start to the finish to swipe the toy and keep on going. Along the same lines you can come up with different rhythms to stomp out as you hop through the hoops, or set guidelines as to how to move (i.e. like a frog, salamander, salsa dancer etc.) through the hoopscotch route.
Some other activities and games involving hoops on the ground are as follows: Folks can make beautiful geometric patterns by expanding the circles out from a central point (think hoop mandalas, or visions like a kaleidoscope). I was originally exposed to the hoops as mandalas concept by my hooping ‘mother,’ KaRa Ananda~ thanks, KaRa! The game of ‘musical hoops’ (a serious favorite among many children) is super fun & active~ if you don’t mind a little friendly competition: Spread the hoops out across a room or open space, turn music on, and have people run around but not inside of or through the hoops until the music stops (with no hovering around one hoop, either). Once the music stops people have to safely and speedily get there bottoms onto the ground inside of a hoop. One way to help prevent potentially dangerous clashing of bodies and fights around ‘winners’ is to state ahead of time that if two people land sitting in one hoop, they are both out…unless one of the two voluntarily takes themselves out of the game. This generally encourages folks to not go towards a hoop that someone else is already nearing. ‘Duck-Duck-Hoop’ is also a fun game- and can be helpful with children who are a little bit younger since it’s so simple. A couple more games I like to play with young people are: Tunnel of Hoops (with many variations on ways to travel through the hoops vertically), Freeze Hoop (like Freeze Dance, but with hoops), and Hoopy Globes- *if you have a bunch of hoops* you can try to get them into a free-standing sphere on the ground that is stunning to behold- and also sometimes possible to actually get inside of to sit, meditate, and/or pose for a picture!
A very simple activity that sparks serious creativity and imagination is pictured above: creating pictures on the ground with hoops- i.e. huge stick figures using a combination of hoops and sticks or other found items. I played this game with my 4 year old nephew and he got super into the process, coming up with amazing ideas completely on his own. That same day of play we also brought a couple chairs and blankets outside, added a hoop to the end of the chair that we laid blankets atop- and created our very own fort that had a beautiful circular entryway. Who doesn’t want to travel through the shape of a circle? To me, it simply feels really good. And safe, too. : )
What are ways that YOU like to hoop play?
Here’s a mildly fuzzy yet still super fun shot from De’Arra’s recent 3rd year of life birthday party in which I facilitated a HoopingPowers Hoopy Birthday jammy-jam-dance session of bliss with HOOPS! This particular moment captured was when we were driving around with hoops as our steering wheels, whirling up a storm of goodness. The party was unique in that the ages of the youth ranged from 3 to around 11~ and it seemed to work out comfortably if not perfectly for all ages involved. I think, now that I’ve been constructing smaller, lighter, “toddler-friendly” hoops, and also hanging and hooping with both my 3 year old niece and 4 year old nephew, that I have developed more of a capacity to flow well in introducing hoops to younger humans. I used to shy away from working with youth under ages 6 or 7 for hoop parties and/or classes. I am excited to be gaining skill and grace in working with younger folks as well, and am thankful to De’Arra’s party people for being so cool and open to the magic of HoopDancing. I’m currently scheduling summertime parties from birthdays bashes to Bat Mitzvahs and all around the hoop of life. Contact Noelle at HoopingPowers dot com with party deets and visions, and we will liberate dancefloors with celebration & delight through HOOPDANCE!
You can play ‘Seek The Circles’ in this one, like ‘Where’s Waldo?’ for hooper-geeks.
My sweet friend Jean and I came up with an awesome new game to play with your mini-hoops the other night! Here’s watchu do: Find a long hallway, preferably indoors on hardwood floors- but of course any space would work (although it is definitely not advised on concrete for the sake of your hoop’s fine decor). The picture here doesn’t completely do justice because there’s no one in it to represent the human goal posts down the lane- but one person gets on one end of the hall, and the other person goes to the opposite end, and each person widens their feet stance to the width of the hallway (or a few feet apart if you have no hall to speak of) and each person has a mini hoop in hand. Take turns trying to roll the hoop as straight as possible away from you- towards the goal created by your friend’s mountain-shaped legs! There’s no need to keep score unless you’re feelin’ the competitive vibe~ it’s just fun to play & it makes for big smiles. The advantage of the hallway is that if you miss the goal it just slides along the wall and you don’t have to run or reach as far to retrieve it. That’s pretty much it! It’s really simple and super fun, seriously… you should try it!