Emma comes from a dance background but got into hula hooping as a way of relieving tension and was instantly hooked. She tells Sundried about how hula hooping helped her to learn to love moving again.
How did you first get into hula hooping? Did you already have a background in fitness?
I first got into hooping because my healer noticed a ball of tension that was lodged in my sacral chakra. I then read somewhere online that hooping is great for the sacral chakra. So I got my first hoop and I started with just waist hooping initially. I then started expanding my repertoire with private lessons ten months ago. And it's become my daily sanity ever since.My background in fitness - I used to be a professional dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, and on cruise ships. But I took a break from dancing, and from movement altogether for a number of years. So I have hooping to thank for re-sparking my passion for movement.
Do you have any goals for your hula hoop training?My biggest goal would be to never take myself so seriously that I forget how to have fun. Being a novice with something allows such joy in making mistakes, and I really don't want to lose that - no matter how much time passes. I find there's such expansion in the beginner's mind.
Do you follow a specific diet?I don't. When I was dancing professionally, they were really strict with our weight control. The body issues that developed as a result were really harmful, and in the end, were what caused me to take such a long break from moving my body in any way. When I used to keep to a strict diet, I found myself thinking about food constantly. So I find a lot more joy in food and in my body now that I just listen to my instincts. I eat when I'm hungry and I don't restrict myself when I crave something. One of my closest friends, Caroline Brooks, coaches people about intuitive eating. And I've learned a great deal from her.
Talk us through your training regime:I wake up first thing in the morning with an hour of waist hooping while I read books - 30 minutes clockwise with one book, then 30 minutes counter-clockwise with another book. Then during the afternoon, I practice my hoop tricks on the beach for an hour or two. This is really my play time.
What are your top 3 tips for hula hooping?
- Trust that every mistake you make is contributing to a conversation with your body, sending feedback to your kinesthetic awareness. Like a baby learning to walk, each fall is a new lesson for the body's awareness, rather than a failure.
- Don't be scared to hit yourself in the head with the hoop. It's bound to happen and it really doesn't hurt that much.
- The best tip is to play! When I take lessons with my teacher, Morgan Jenkins, she'll always teach me a trick and then allow play time before she moves on to teaching me the next. This is an incredible method for integrating the new trick into my flow.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get into hula hooping themselves?There's no time like the present. Get yourself a hoop (the bigger, the better when starting out). Even if you don't have the resources for private lessons, there are wonderful tutorials online that I learn a lot from, ranging from beginner to advanced tricks. A couple that I highly recommend... the Hooptown Hotties YouTube channel has lots of amazing Hoop University tutorials. And there are great beginner's tutorials on Deanne Love's YouTube channel as well.
Why work with Sundried?Ever since I read the book, The Soul of Money, I've increased my awareness of the things I consume and how they are produced. I'm really inspired by companies like Sundried that are taking the care and consideration to do their part in looking after their workers as well as our Mother Earth.
We often go for the traditional approach to exercise and stick to the tried and tested methods. We jog, run, cycle, weight train and so on, but have you ever thought of trying something new?
Fitness crazes are something we are used to seeing come and go because people can’t help but invent new ways to do things. A lot of sports just modify themselves slightly and create a craze that sticks. Spinning, for example, has become a massive hit and a great way to keep fit.
So what else is there as an alternative for those who want to shape it up?
Hula hooping is a great way to get fit as it raises your heart rate, improves your cardiovascular performance, and will strengthen and tone your core, arms, legs, and back. If you'd like to know more about hula hooping, check out our ambassador Emma Barrett who does hula hooping full-time!
Pole fitness classes have gained a lot of popularity recently as a new way to get in shape. They are a fun and social way of getting fit as well as strong as it is very hard work! Pole fitness will improve your balance and coordination as well as your cardiovascular fitness and it's a great way to spend the evening with your friends. Pole fitness is suitable for both men and women.
If normal yoga isn't enough for you, then you may want to try aerial yoga. By supporting your body weight on an aerial sling, you will be able to achieve yoga poses and deep stretches in a more relaxed way. One of the primary features of using a yoga hammock is its ability to take pressure off the spine and joints as you practice stretches and positions with the support of the sling.
Ballet dancing is classically a great way to keep in shape but it takes a lot of discipline and a lifetime of practice. A ballet barre is a straight bar attached to the wall which ballerinas use to support them while they practice and hold demanding isometric movements. Isometric holds are exercises that you do while not moving (think of the plank.) A modern barre workout is one that has been adapted to suit modern gyms and uses weights and yoga poses to help you achieve a better posture and more toned physique.
Trampolining is another gym-based workout that is gaining a lot of popularity. Using mini-trampettes, these classes are high intensity and fast-paced meaning you are bound to work up a sweat! This is a fairly specialised workout so your local commercial gym may not offer it, but if you go on the look out you will be able to find a gym nearby that offers this type of class. Check out this video of a trampolining class in action!
Exercise is supposed to be enjoyable and it is worth exploring some alternatives whenever you can. The body gets used to the same type of training very quickly, so if you do the same thing at the gym every day you will stop noticing any changes in your fitness and physique.