Hoop It Up for Health
A Fun Way to Get a Groove On
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This year, hooping hit the big screen with director Amy Goldstein’s self-proclaimed popumentary, The Hooping Life. She first discovered hooping in Venice, California, where it’s hugely popular.
“I’ve noticed that hooping brings people from every walk of life together,” Goldstein says. “It has a spiritual side, a business side and a healthy side, and I’ve seen how many young people who used to feel isolated and without direction are now hooping and living life to its fullest.”
Highlights of her feel-good film include appearances by Michelle Obama and Shaquille O’Neal, plus intimate portraits of eight hoopers from around the world. “The essence of the film,” says Goldstein, “is about finding something you love and taking the risk to give it all you’ve got.”
After discovering hooping, Anah Reichenbach, aka “Hoopalicious,” a California-based dancer and hooper in the film, started making and selling innovative hoops on her own. She now offers a hoop mentor certification program through hooping workshops nationwide.
“Beyond being an incredible core workout,” Reichenbach says, “hooping can become an all-body, cardiovascular workout.” Other benefits she’s observed first-hand extend to increased calm and peacefulness, happiness and even more personal compassion.
As a movement, the hoop has become a widespread symbol for individuals’ willingness to be free and playful as adults as well as their caring about community; people unite around the rhythm and creativity. “You really can transcend yourself if you let yourself go with the hoop,” remarks Goldstein. “Even if you have no rhythm, you get it with a hoop.”
Ellen Mahoney teaches writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Email.
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