• Mon18November 2013
  • The day I tried Hula (hooping that is)

    I love running, I love cycling, I love dancing, Hula hooping? Well, let’s talk about Hula.

    My elegant attempt at hula

    I’m doing it, I’m doing it….My elegant attempt at hula (photo courtesy of Cat Simpson)

    About two or so weeks ago, I decided to sign up to some of Fitness Freak’s one-off Hula hoop classes in Shoreditch Town hall. Led by Marawa of The Amazing (just look at her in action and those abs here), it looked like a bit of laugh and something I could pick up pretty easily as my next party trick. I mean how hard could it be? I can remember being a bit of an expert hula-hooper as a kid or I think I was. And it’s like riding a bike, right? Once a hula-hooper, always a hula-hooper. Erm, nope. Having arrived at the atmospheric Shoreditch Town Hall (and I’m not just talking about being bathed in technocolour lighting and the colourful ‘Majorettes’ who handed you a hoop; the room itself is rather grandiose), I grabbed a hoop, put it over my head and started rolling my hips in a style not dissimilar to Baby in the scene from Dirty Dancing, where she first dances with Johnny. After about two seconds of exaggerated rolling, the hoop fell to the floor. Ok, so this wasn’t going to work. Let’s try it again. This time I stood with my feet apart, right foot slightly in-front of my left, and grinded my hips even harder. Again, gravity struck gold with my hoop. Humph. I was baffled. This swing your hips malarkey wasn’t going to keep that hoop afloat around my middle.

    The hoop has landed but I'm smiling

    The hoop has landed but I’m smiling (photo courtesy of Cat Simpson)

    The secret, as one of the Majorettes explained, to keeping your hoop moving effortlessly around your hips, was to focus on your core. Making small movements with your tummy muscles instead of swirling your hips uncontrollable (like me) was the key to becoming a successful hula hooper. And I have to say that it sounds way easier than it actually is. While I got the idea, I mean I’ve been to enough pilates classes to know about ‘zipping and tucking’, but I think my problem with it was I was over-thinking it. Instead of trying to relax into the move, I spent time focusing on trying to perfect it rather than just letting my body lead. I almost had it when Marawa decided that we were going to try pushing our hoop the other way. I’m ok with directions when I’m on my bike but it’s a whole different matter when it comes to hula hoops.

    I fared slightly better when it came to swinging the hoop around other parts of your body and had far fewer problems rotating the hoops around my arms and hands. But putting the hips and arms together took it to an entire new level.  It just wasn’t happening for me. Then came the hoop-tacular or hoop-tsaster finale, where we “challenged” ourselves to juggle five or six hoops at one time.  Or in my case, watch as they fell to the floor in one foul swoop.

    Let’s just say this hula hoop class was not my finest moment but it was, however, a jolly good laugh. I went with my young American friend, Marie, who really enjoyed the hour-long session. It would also make a great idea for a hen night as if you’re like my friends and I, you enjoy doing things that make you giggle with and at each other. I saw some friendly faces from the Blogosphere (Jen and Cat), who also seemed to be smiling and laughing away. Not to mention the benefits of taking up the hoop, which include a toned, flat tum (just look at that video of Marawa again).  Would I do it regularly in a class? Probably not but I will suggest it to friends as a meet-up rather than heading (straight) to the boozer after work. Saying that, if anybody out there is listening, a hula hoop  may well be on my Christmas list.

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