Tag Archives: hooping

Crazy For Polypro

19 Oct

It’s official. I’m completely in love with my new polypro hoop.

I resisted trying one because I thought it might be too “advanced” for me, but I’ve found that it has completely changed my hooping and flow for the better because it’s so light. It has quickly become my favorite hoop!

I have used the 1/2 inch black irrigation tubing and you would think that they would behave much the same way. But they are very different! The best way I can describe the difference is that the polypro is more responsive and less clunky than the regular tubing. It even behaves differently than my HDPE hoop…it’s much more flexible, which makes certain moves easier.

It goes SO fast when I want it to…and lately I’ve really liked hooping to fast stuff (side note: Nick is using a polypro hoop in these videos). Fast hooping = great workout! Hoopcamp + hooping really fast for about 1/2 hour a day makes my body happy in all the right places. Matt has noticed…tee hee 😉

In the photo above, I’m smiling because I’m so HAPPY I can hoop with this smaller/lighter hoop INSIDE the RV! I can spin the heck out of that thing…which is pretty amazing in a small space. With cooler weather upon us, it’s nice to know I can still get my fix.

I’ve cut it down to 35 inches and will probably go down to 34 in the next couple of months. That range seems like my new “happy place”. I have the inside of the hoop “lined” with thin white gaffers, and the outside of the hoop is sanded. I’m pretty rowdy with it on gravel and such, so I don’t have pretty mirror tape covering this one. Just a few pieces to give some color.

I wouldn’t suggest a polypro hoop if you’re just starting out, but don’t be scared to try one! Try new things…spice it up! You’ll like it.

What have YOU done lately to change up your hoop practice? Have any of you tried a polypro hoop?


If you want to make your own Polypro hoop, Rich breaks it all down here.

If you’re not really the DIY type, or you don’t want to buy in bulk…you can get your polypro hoop at the following stores:

Danielle at Hoop Horizon
Lara at Superhooper
Rich and Spiral at Hoop Technique
Kendra at HappyLoveHoops
sells them as well, but her shop is currently closed.

Hoop Downsizing

16 Sep

*Disclaimer: Lots of numbers, abbreviations and general hoop geekiness below

When I first started hooping, I was on a mission to find the “perfect” sized hoop. I read forums and obsessed a little about it before I finally made the decision to start with a 42 inch 100 psi 3/4 inch circle of plastic and tape (outer hoop above). It did turn out to be the perfect hoop for learning and I loved it. I thought it would probably take years before I would abandon my first BIG HOOP love. But then,  I “outgrew” it for my daily practice.

Sooner than I had expected, the time came for me to expand my horizons a bit. I was feeling limited. I was getting bruises (especially while learning the shoulder duck out…that move is brutal!). My next hoop was a 42 inch “lightweight” performance hoop (middle hoop above)…and it made such a HUGE difference switching to a lighter hoop. It wasn’t all that much smaller (same tubing), but the weight (or lack of) made it super easy to throw around off body tricks. I used both hoops quite happily until I started to get into breaks and reverses. A big groovy hoop just doesn’t cut it for a fast, crisp break/reverse!

I had read about people “downsizing” their hoop and I was in AWE at those who were using hoops in the 30-38 inch range. At the Hoop Technique workshop, Rich and Spiral told us their “story” and it was then that I realized that Spiral had pretty much pioneered the “shrinking” of the hoop size…and Rich had helped figure out the best plastics with his famous “tube experiments”.

So once again, I was on the hunt. While I was at the worskhop, I noticed that nearly everyone was using a 1/2 inch hoop…with most of them being made out of super lightweight polypropylene (also nicknamed “polypro”).  Click here to see Danielle spinning her polyro hoop. While I haven’t jumped on the polypro bandwagon quite yet, I’m hoping to buy one at Hoopcamp. I did opt for an HDPE (high density polyethylene) hoop (inner hoop above…photo was taken after I cut it down to a 38). The HDPE is a little more rigid than the polypro…I’ve heard it described as “polypro training wheels” 🙂

My silver HDPE hoop is a 36 inch hoop and I adore it. It’s light & peppy. It does what I tell it to do…and it does it FAST. Sometimes a little too fast 🙂 I’m still learning how to treat it so we can flow together. But for the most part, we have a lovely relationship.  I’ve found that my magic hoop size is a super lightweight 38″ hoop. Shoulder hooping is SO much easier with a 38″, compared to the 36″. Nothing can beat the 36″ for speed on the off body moves….but it can be a bit more challenging for core hooping.

I bought my silver hoop from Rich and Spiral…but when we were in Bozeman, my friend Mary and I made a bunch of our own HDPE hoops and found them to be rather easy to make. Well, I should say that Mary and Matt made them 🙂 I just reaped the benefits. Rich gives detailed instructions here.

I keep lots of sizes on hand…and I go back to the bigger sizes when I’m learning something new. But for now, my go-to hoops are 36 inch and 38 inch.  My size may not be your size. Everyone has a hoop that just feels right. Maybe you have no desire to do off body work or breaks and you’re content with the big slow groovin’ hoops! That’s awesome. I just like to do things fast 🙂 The moral of the story: if you want to spice up your hoop practice a bit…switch up your size!

If you would like to buy a high performance hoop, check out these vendors:

Hoop Horizon

Here is a write up on Hoop City by the fabulous Kendra (HappyLoveHoops) about her experience with polypro hoops:
“Once you go polypro”

Discussion on Hoop City regarding HDPE & Polypro

The Hoop Rack: Innovative Hoop Transport

7 Sep

When Lora showed up at the Bozeman Hoopers meetup with this sweet rack on her equally amazing cruiser, I knew that I MUST share it with you!

Lora found the instructions detailing how to make it on Hooping.org. It seems to be a popular setup for Burning Man hoopers, but of course could be used by anyone.

Ride on, Lora! Love it.

Spinning Light

26 Aug

On Tuesday night during the full moon…the Bozeman Hoopers gathered to spin light together! We took my Superhooper LED hoop and went into the middle of a very dark Lindley Park and hooped until midnight.

I’m sure the squirrels were dancing to Michael Franti right along with us. You can see more photos from our blissful night here.

Hoop Pretty Giveaway

5 Jun

Oooooooh! So exciting…our very first giveaway here at The Happy Hoop…featuring the one and only, Hoop Pretty! Isn’t this shirt adorable? It has a great flowy script font that says “Hoop Dance Freak Flow”…it’s super soft, printed with eco-inks and I LOVE it!  And now it can be yours! As a little bonus, we’ll have a second giveaway for this adorable “Hoop Dance Love” sticker. Oh how I love stickers.

So what is Hoop Pretty?
Hoop Pretty is a sister design team with backgrounds in fashion, surface design + flow arts. Being hoopsters themselves, they wanted to create designs that reflect the fun, freedom + attitude of hoop dance! They aim for 100% natural fibers so their clothing is also great for fire hooping + poi! They use water-based Eco Inks whenever possible and make sure our printers and suppliers are just as sensitive to the environmental impacts of production. Most of their  products are sourced from American Apparel, which is known for their well-made, sustainable products that are Made In the USA.

I wanted to hear more about how Barbra and Rachel started hooping and how Hoop Pretty came about. Here it is in Barbra’s own words:

“Hooping was way for me to be part of a community again. I had found myself in a work-at-home situation after working a 9-5 job and realized that I am a social person that needs to be around people (especially my sister Rachel), interact and help others to feel fulfilled. It’s strange because while everyone’s in their own little hoopworlds while they’re hooping, its also an activity that completely brings people together ~ and people of all backgrounds. I love that.

Hooping of course has a great physical aspect to it. I’m a bit of a nerd so the logic side of me says that I like it because it helps my hand-to-eye coordination. The anti-nerd side says it’s a pretty sexy performance art + wonderful exercise as well. The balance that hoop dance brings is so neutralizing and therapeutic. I could be having a terrible day, but if I just step hoop for 10 minutes, all that dissipates.

HoopPretty started because my sister Rachel and I had decided we wanted to transform our lives by doing what we love ~ we’re passionate about making fun things that hoop dancers can enjoy and connect with. We both have backgrounds in graphic design + fashion, so this is a perfect fit. As a creative team, I feel we have a great dynamic going on. I really enjoy working with her ~ we bounce ideas off each other and really think about what someone would feel good about wearing.”

There are FOUR ways to enter the giveaway. You can do one or all of the following (each one is a separate entry, so please create a new comment for each one):

  • Leave a comment below and tell me where you hooped most recently and what movements you are currently loving.
  • Subscribe to their awesome blog
  • Post the giveaway to your Facebook page and become a fan of their Facebook page
  • Tweet about the giveaway and follow them on Twitter

Hoop Pretty is also offering a 10% discount for Happy Hoop blog readers. Just enter the discount code “thehappyhoop”. Be sure to check out all of their custom hooping apparel…I love it all! Plus, you are supporting a small businessThis discount will only be valid through Saturday, June 12, so don’t delay.

I will choose the winner at random on Thursday, June 10 at 12:00pm CST. Now go and spread some Hoop Pretty love!! 🙂


Hooping In The Good ‘Ol Days

27 May

Featured Guest Blogger: Catina Jane Gray

This is me. Seven years ago at 440 lbs.
I tell you this to make sure you know
that no matter your size…
YOU can hoop too!

My love of hooping started in 2003, and at that time hooping was pretty much only known among the String Cheese Incident fans…but that wouldn’t be the case for long! I fell in love with hooping via a blogger I’d been reading for years named Ariel. She was new to hooping & totally addicted. She spread that addiction to many of her readers, including me. I was so interested! But because of my size at the time, I didn’t think I could do it. It seemed so daunting to me…plus, where would I be able to find a hoop right for my size?!

Enter Anah (AKA Hoopalicious)…the “queen” of the hoop! She was making & selling hoops, so i contacted her and purchased my first hoop (as seen above). She even custom sized it for me and was great to work with in my effort to get a hoop that would work for me.

Then, when seeing how getting a big ol’ hoop into a car could be a task, I learned of collapsible hoops! WHAT?! I had to have one! I found Jason, who made these awesome hoops! And this hoop is the one I still use when I hoop today. Then, out of my desire to share this newfound passion with others, I started making my own hoops & giving them away. People loved them!!

Another exciting thing soon developed in the online hooping world. Hooping.org was born! The creators of the site recount it’s start…

Hooping.org was founded on May 4, 2003 shortly after three bloggers – Philo Hagen, Ariel Meadow Stallings and Vera Fleischer – spent hours hooping together at a party at Min Jung Kim’s house in Oakland, California. Frustrated by a lack of information about hooping online, Philo decided to start a blog about the topic and invited his friends to join him. Their goal – to spread the joy of hooping to all and build a world wide hooping community. “

Hooping.org was like “hooper heaven” because at that time, there just wasn’t a lot of info or videos around about hooping. Unlike today where you can find hooping videos and websites about hooping all over the web!! And even MOVIES! about hooping (which looks amazing!)

Now, with all this said, I never got great at hooping , I just really enjoyed it. My love of the hoop lasted a couple years…we had an on again/off again relationship and then it kind of fizzled out. For a long while now, I haven’t hooped much at all. Until recently…when Sara got me re-addicted to hooping!

This is perfect timing, because I have been on a weight loss journey for many years. I am currently almost 100 lbs. down and many to go, but I’m always looking for new ways to get my workouts in. So hooping has again showed up on my radar and I’ve been enjoying hooping this past week. It is a great cardio workout!! Some friends & I are even getting together to make hoops & hoop in the park! So just remember that no matter your size or skill level, if you want to give hooping a try, just DO IT! Go outside & play!

Catina Jane Gray is a self-taught mixed media artist, jewelry designer. & photographer living in sunny Florida. Be sure to check out her whimsical art and jewelry at her site, Catina Jane Arts and at her Etsy store too.

Hooping in the Heartland

25 May

As we left Austin, TX, I was sad because I didn’t think I would be able to find many “organized” hooping events in the Midwest. And while there aren’t as many meetups to choose from, I was pleasantly surprised to find a small community of hooping enthusiasts in Des Moines!

On our last weekend in town, I just happened to come across a card that a friend had given me for a free week of yoga at Firehouse Yoga. So I went to their site to see when the classes were…and LO AND BEHOLD! There was a hooping class scheduled for the very next day! I let out an audible *GASP* and ran downstairs to tell anyone who would listen 🙂 It turns out that the woman who runs the class is good friends with the friend who had given me the card in the first place. Ahhhhh the serendipity. Love it.

Dawn is the hooper extraordinaire who lead us in our spinning adventures on Saturday. She is a sweet soul who teaches new movements with ease and makes everyone feel comfortable, regardless of their skill level. She had just gotten back from a hooping event with Hoopmamas in the Kansas City area…oh how I wish I could have gone to that!

Dawn said that there will be a new hooping session starting this summer, and there will also be a yoga-hoopdance fusion class (see Firehouse site for details). So fun! If you live in the Des Moines area, be sure to get yourself and your hoop to her class. You won’t regret it! And besides, it’s next to Mars Cafe. You can’t go wrong a little iced caramel soy latte after class! 🙂

If you are new to hooping, don’t be afraid to seek out ANYTHING and everything hoop related in your area! Even if it’s just a few other hoopers getting together in a park…GO! You will be amazed at what you can learn. Everyone does their tricks differently and has a different “style.  Every time I gather with other people hooping, I come away inspired and excited…with a few new movements to work on!

To find other hoopers in your area, you can check out Meetup or check the regional forums on Hoop City. Or, as I have said before…START YOUR OWN GROUP! Here is a great “how to guide” from SaFire if you want to gather some local hoopers.

Thanks for the hoopin’ fun Des Moines!