"Hula hooping has changed my life.".... I have lost count of the number of times I've heard that said.

Hooping is great fun and different people get different things out of it.  One story I hear a lot is from women who have started hooping because they have heard it's great exercise and good for core fitness and the Tummy.  It is - but that reason is soon forgotten as hoopers become addicted to learning tricks and finding their own style.

Hooping is great for building muscle tone and for cardiovascular fitness but it's so much more than that.... it's fun!  Learning new tricks is a workout for your body and mind and starting to move around with the hoop feels great.

Here are two case studies:

Joanne started hooping after having her daughter.  She wanted to 'get her body back' and have fun.  Five minutes into her first class she was hooked.

She set up a social group for other enthusiasts to meet, play and practice and now, years later, has travelled around Europe to meet 'hoop friends' at weekend residential hoop events.  She doesn't consider herself to be a great hooper, she just thinks hooping is great.  She loves mastering new tricks and appreciates both the personal and social aspects of her hobby.  

As well as "changing her social landscape" and opening up a wide network of friends, she practices alone at home and this has helped her through difficult times.  Solo practice can be meditative and healing.  Joanne says she "hooped through" her grief when her dad passed away, and the quiet focus helped her to cope.  Joanne also has to travel for work fairly regularly and, through social media, always finds hoopers to play with in the destination city.  

We are a community, join us!

Rachel is in her early 20's and, one sunny day, saw some people playing with hoops in a park.  She had a go and, you guessed it, was hooked!  She came to a class and her enthusiasm and skill meant she learnt really quickly.

Going from a class to jams and meet ups, she entered a new social circle and joined a hoop troupe who perform at events and festivals.  Hooping at family events and talking to people outside her previous social sphere made her realise she wasn't happy in her office job.  Rachel has recently qualified as a foundation stage school teacher, and her hooping and joy of play helped her secure the job -  and of course she teaches hula hooping to the kids at her school.

Oh, and then there's me.   Like many others, I started hooping to shift a bit of my mum tum in a fun way and I haven't looked back.  There came a point where I should give up such a silly hobby for a mum of three or, er... make it my job.  So here I am!  A hoop teacher!  And I love it!  I teach regular classes and one-off workshops.

My favourites are the people who say "Oh I'll never be able to do this, I'm rubbish at this sort of stuff" and then, five minutes later, are hooping with a massive grin on their face.  People often try to use a kid's hoop and despair if they can't do it.  Don't!  Find your local hoopers, try some adult hoops, pick the size you like and get involved!  There are loads of hoop classes, hoop jams and spin meet-ups around the country.

Some people like to do it by themselves with some tunes on, some like the structure of classes and others prefer the informality of a jam or going to the park with a couple of friends.  The main thing is, it's fun.  Connect with your local hoopers - pick up a hoop and play!

Oh and don't take it too seriously....it's just a toy.

Cathy Mizula, Manchester Hoop Teacher

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