Hooping in Calgary
A super awesome friend of ours recently started teaching classes showing people how to use hula hoops for dancing and fun and exercise, after she learned how to do it herself and killed it. And we’re going to tell you about her. Hooping in Calgary isn’t something we know too much about, but we wanted to learn more, so we pitched Pineapplehoops some random hooping questions and she dropped some serious knowledge. If you’ve ever wanted to know about hooping in Calgary, prepare to get schooled.
Her business is called Infinite Circle Hoops, and you can find it on the Facebook.
- Infinite Circle Hoops: https://www.facebook.com/pg/InfiniteCircleHoops/
When did you get started hooping in Calgary, and how did it come about?
I picked up a hoop 8 years ago at a music festival after watching some gals gracefully rocking out. It looked like fun so I bought a hoop, but then quickly realized it was not easy to keep it up on my hips, let alone do any tricks. I didn’t know anyone who hooped and had no idea there was a community so eventually I gave up and didn’t use my hoop for 2 years.
How did you learn how to hoop? YouTube? Lessons?
I met a gal who had recently started hooping in Calgary and was taking classes. She was really good and inspired me to pick my hoop back up and take classes from Hoop-Di- Do. I took a few 10 week sessions and quickly became passionate about hooping. YouTube has been a wonderful resource as the hoop community has started to grow worldwide. I also use Instagram a lot to check out other peoples moves. There are new tricks and beautiful combos coming out every day.
In addition to all of this I have also taken countless workshops when big hoop names come to town like Baxter, Hoopalicious, and all the teachers who taught at HoopWest. There is a lot more to hooping than just on your waist, and the more you challenge yourself to do, the more expressive and powerful you start to feel. I have been a hooper for 6 years and counting.
What are the benefits of hooping? (Mentally and physically, such as calories burned)
First and foremost, hooping brings my body to life.
I’ve never been one for sports or motivated to get on the treadmill at the gym. As soon as I pick up a hoop my body wants to move and become one with my breath to find that fluid state of mind called ‘flow.’ Mentally when you’re in flow, you are completely present. The world melts away and all that is left is the rhythm of the music and the pulse of the hoop. This is my happy place and the exact reason why our hooper numbers are growing. In Calgary alone I’d wager there are at least 100 of us.
Mentally it puts me in a space of clarity and peace. Physically it raises my heart rate to 120-140BPM which I can maintain for 1hr+. The American Council on Exercise did a study that found hooping burned 210 calories in a 30-minute workout, or 7 calories per minute.
To me, this is a exercise routine that I physically and mentally look forward to. I have lost over 20lbs, decided to make better food choices, and have a confidence in my persona that wasn’t there before. Overall hooping in Calgary changed my life. I started to care about my body and now I feel empowered and confident which was something that I struggled with pre-hoop life. It has also connected me even more to music. I seek out new music regularly and when I hear a good beat I automatically start thinking of the moves I could do to it.
Do I have to be fit and flexible to start hooping?
No, you don’t have to be. What you do need is the right sized hoop (based on your height/weight) and good instruction on body placement and movement. It is challenging at first and a lot of people give up because it’s not something that comes automatically. Like anything, if you want to get good at it, you have to practice and push yourself when you want to throw in the towel. Everyone is self conscious and embarrassed when the hoop falls. Well let me tell you, it’s no big deal! As a senior hooper, I still drop the hoop sometimes and I’ve learned to pick it up in fun flourished ways.
Tell us about the coolest place you’ve ever hooped!
In 2016 I went to a hoop retreat in Bali, Indonesia. It was hands down the best hoop life experience I have had to date. The biggest hoop stars were there, Deanne Love, Morgan Jenkins, Emma Mckenna & Mishie Hoops! I learned firsthand from the masters for 5 days during 8-9hr workshops. It was grueling at times pushing my body to the limit, but the amount of experience, knowledge and happiness I received during that trip was completely worth it. I can say that I have hooped in front of a waterfall on Mount Agung, on the beaches of Nusa Lembongan and all around that beautiful country.
What are some myths or stigmas related to hooping?
At a glance non-hoopers may think it’s a silly fad, or childish to play with a plastic circle. What they don’t realize is that play is what keeps our body and mind young. Connecting to yourself,
stepping away from work, school, social media, family, for just 1hr recharges your mind.
Another stigma is that hooping is just for women. It is not! One of the most renowned and respected hoopers is a man named Baxter. He is all about using a hoop to practice mindful moving meditation. He is one of the original hoopers and he has changed the landscape from tricks/dance to a thoughtful disciplined practice. Besides, who doesn’t like a man who knows
how to move his hips, am I right?
Who can benefit the most from taking part in hula hoop classes?
- Anyone who is looking for an engaging and challenging way to move their body.
- Anyone who is looking for a friendly and welcoming community.
- Anyone who is uncomfortable about their self image and doesn’t want to live like that anymore.
Where can people hoop when not at lessons or classes?
- During the summer any park with grass and sunshine will do!
- During winter you make space in your home by moving furniture around.
- There are usually hoop jams of some kind happening around the city, you simply have to seek them out.
Are all hoops created equally? Where can someone get a quality adult sized hoop in Calgary? What
would you recommend?
Hoops that you find at the dollar store or Walmart are not going to cut it. They are not made to last and are super light which makes them much harder to keep up. There are a couple of hoop makers here in Calgary, myself (Infinite Circle Hoops) included. Be sure to also check out Hoop-Di- Do and Geometric Revolution hoops. There are heavier beginner hoops/workout hoops that are 1.5lbs, and lighter Polypro dance hoops that are about 0.5lbs. Depending on the type of hoop play you’re exploring you will want different hoops. Eventually you end up with a few different hoops as you progress and evolve.
Describe a basic warm up and hooping session for beginners.
It’s fun to just start hooping but it’s important to warm up those muscles first. Start off by turning on some music that gets you pumped and ready to move. March, raise your arms,
wave your hips forward/back, side to side and keep this up for at least 3min. Pick up your hoop and get into your favourite stance. Then hoop for 10min, listening to the music and moving around the room, engaging your left and right brain by moving your arms at the same time you’re hooping. Stop the hoop and then change the direction its spinning. It’s hard but important to train and strengthen both sides of your body.
Once you’re feeling in the groove I encourage you to close your eyes and concentrate on where the hoop is connecting with your body. Can you move it up, or down without dropping it? Can you change directions? Can you pull your hand in and out of the gap between the hoop and your belly without hitting the hoop?
How long will it take to see the benefits of hooping?
It all depends on how much effort and time you’ve put into it. Like any craft, it takes time to get good at it. If this is the beginning of your fitness journey it may take a few months to see
the effects, but you will start to feel them right away. Mentally once you let go of self judgement and allow yourself the freedom of moving your body the way it wants to move, you will feel invigorated every time you hoop.
Hooping in Calgary; is there a local scene/group?
Yes there is and you should absolutely come check us out! In the group on Facebook you will find individuals organizing jams, or hoop teachers sharing their classes:
Conclusion: Anything else you want to say?
If you have any curiosity about hooping, try it. What is stopping you? This movement has changed my life by bringing joy, health, community and purpose to it. Did you try once but the hoop kept falling and now you never want to try again because hooping is not for you? Get that ego out of here and give yourself another shot! If it didn’t work before, it is because you didn’t have the right hoop. The guidance from a teacher and the right hoop will have you going in no time!