GeoRev Hooping

Collapsible Dance Hoops Professionally Made in Canada

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Hoop Therapy for Youth

Caroline KruegerComment
teens hula hooping therapy

My company featured my therapy work with kids and hoops! Click the link above to read the article.  I wanted to write more about some of my experience hooping with troubled teens in a group home. The internal and external chaos these kids live with is significant. They have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect and abandonment. These are not, in general, the happiest kids. We try to bring stability, love and consistency into their lives as stand-in parents.

Closer to Home uses the Teaching Family Model to help kids learn to use essential skills they will need to be successful as adults. Accepting no, following instructions, emotional regulation and problem-solving are things we work on every day.  Privileges like video games and Netflix, and hanging out in the city unsupervised, are earned when the youth are using their skills. Privileges are limited when the kids are struggling, but we never take away educational programming, sports, access to outside, being with others, music, etc.

Good things happen when we can turn their favorite music on and get to doing my favorite activity, hula hooping, in the sunshine or in the high ceilinged great-room of the group home. The kids are so expressive and it brings smiles and laughter to us every time. I am using this circle as a healing tool for the kids I work with as often as I can. I always have a bright colourful pile of hoops lying around, and make hoops for kids who like using them. Even the most resistant of surly teenagers has used them when I got their favorite music playing and they had "nothing else to do" because their use of electronic devices was limited. ;) 

This photo means a lot to me. It's my job to keep these kids safe and teach them skills, helping them to navigate life with parental like care. Sometimes it's a really hard job. I have a special relationship with the kids I work with, especially these two. They are the ones I mention in the interview.

One of the youth not mentioned in the article is a young man with FASD. He doesn't use his hoop regularly, but when he does it's for hours at a time. Showing me his inventive moves (seriously, you wouldn't believe how fresh these kids are with their hoops) and learning tricks, he is smiling, relaxed and calm.  He usually presents as quite intense. I really love that kid and do my best to treat him with compassion and respect no matter how he treats me. I don't think anyone can fully understand how magical and therapeutic it is when we are hooping together. Only through relationship can past traumas be healed.  He heals me too, making me a more patient person, with a thicker skin and a better ability to remain calm when others are not. This hoop has allowed me to connect with someone who is often manic, verbally aggressive, and depressed. To hear him ask me politely if we can hoop together and take turns playing our favorite songs like we did last time is head-turning and it tells me that he felt way better after hoop dancing for several hours, because it made him feel happy. That, to me, is success.


kid hoop

Building a Hoop Practice : Lessons from the Circle

Caroline KruegerComment

Creating space for a sustainable hoop practice takes time, it's a fine balancing act. It doesn't always look like a strictly adhered to schedule. I know you are probably hoping to find a sure fire method to create the practice that you desire, but sometimes looking beyond the hard and fast formulas is actually what helps us create the heart-centered practice that we truly want and need.

Hooping has taught me so much, both inside and outside of my circle. Among many things, it has taught me to listen to the infinite wisdom of my body. Our bodies are in constant flow, never truly remaining the same from one moment to the next. Its needs and desires shift. I have found that this translates directly into creating a hoop practice - if we change on a daily basis then our practice must also change too. We so often strive for this flow in our circle but forget to seek the same wisdom outside of it.

Before I discovered hooping I struggled to create any kind of sustained practice for more than several months at a time. I was coming at things from a very black and white perspective; if more than a few days of my schedule were missed I would feel like I'd fallen off the bandwagon and give up. It had been easy to pick up various activities in the past, but next to impossible to stick with them. When I hit my first major hoop rut, there was a part of me that was terrified that I would just be repeating the same pattern. But to my relief, my passion for the hoop is what kept me coming back to my practice. It's easy to hoop everyday when we are feeling blissed out and inspired by our plastic circles - but what about the hard days (or if we're totally honest sometimes weeks and months!)? Like any good relationship it takes time, dedication and effort (and in the case of our hoops sometimes sweat and multiple swear words) to make it work. Nothing is stagnant, nothing is going to be the same day in and day out. Through coming back to the circle time and time again I've come to realize that we're actually learning the most in those tough moments; the times of greatest frustration with ourselves and our hoops. Those moments of WTF (also known as growth) are what truly create the space for the moments of bliss, flow and ease that we all so desire with our hoops. We can't have one without the other, we inherently have to flow between the two.

Flow and balance are intimately connected. In one of her recent videos Anah Reichenbach talked about hoop balancing and how when we first start to do this we over correct, swaying way too far one way, and then to the other, trying to offset the movement of the hoop. As we work more with balancing our hoop, our corrections get smaller and smaller until the hoop essentially looks still and we are only making micro corrections. You can think of your hoop practice (or any practice really) in the same way. Flow on the other hand is about tapping into each moment. It's the impulse to pick up your hoop even though you don't want to, and a knowing of when to take a break and back off for a while. These start out exactly like the big over corrections in balancing; feeling so frustrated and stuck that we don't touch our hoop, only to then swing back into a space where we find our passion reignite and we hoop with more frequency. This isn't detrimental to creating a practice, in fact it's what creating a practice first looks like! As we begin to sink into the flow of where we are at in each moment, in each day (just like the flow we find with our hoops) - we start to need smaller and smaller corrections to sustain our practice. Needing to take a day off here, doesn't spill out over there and impact our ability to come back to our circle the following day.

If you haven't touched your hoop in weeks, months, or even years, that's totally ok. In the past I've taken breaks and found myself channeling energy into other creative pursuits and I came back to my circle when I was ready, feeling refreshed and renewed. Through riding out all of these big over corrections I've finally found a balanced place of sustained practice. For me, that usually means at least 4-5 times a week but there's always flow and flexibility within that. It's about finding what works for you. If you give your hoop some serious time, it will teach you how to show up for yourself, for the moment you're in. Whatever you're feeling that day, just bring it with you. Whatever you're feeling is totally okay - your hoop is just a hunk of pretty plastic and it's NEVER going to judge you. So I invite you to bring whatever it is you're feeling today into your circle with you. Hoop with your frustration, hoop with your rage, hoop with your happiness. There are so few places in our lives where we give ourselves the space and time to be free. So whatever it is, just invite it to dance with you. Some days it's going to look and feel freaking amazing and other days it's -definitely- not. Just move, just breathe, embrace the frustration AND the flow and I promise that you will keep coming back for more.

-Meaghan McQuade, Sponsored GeoRev hooper.