Well, it has been a while, once again!
I have been taking some much needed time to reflect on how I want to share hula hooping with others. I have also been taking time to LEARN, and as a result, I will have a pretty big announcement soon.
After I had my baby, I just felt like there was no way I could keep up with all the super talented hoopers that were coming out of the wood work. So my ego was saying, "you are never gunna be that good."
But then I remembered that it wasn't tricks or being the best that mattered the most to me when it came to hooping. Hula hoop dance is a very personal thing to me. It is something I do for myself, and something that I do to connect with the Inner version of me. So, I decided there was no point in comparing myself to others. After all, I am on my own journey with the hoop, and it is a journey that is unique to my hoop and I.
My practice has really been inspired by yoga over the years. Even the dance troupe that I had for a short while, Illuminadis, was based on the inspiration of integrating yoga and flow arts together. So these days, when I get groovy with my hoop, it is in a very yoga-inspired way.
I have become a HoopYogini™.
It is pretty crazy that I don't focus on those tricks anymore. Maybe one day I will get back into learning new fancy tricks, but when I pick up my hoop these days, it's to stretch and relax, connect with myself, and push myself in building core strength with intention.
I still want to share the love of the Hoop with others. And I have found a really cool symbolic synchronicity (if you will) within my academic studies, and the hula hoop. Who would have thought? If you want a really good read, you should check out "The Hoop and the Tree: a Compass For Finding a Deeper Meaning with all Life," By Chris Hoffman. It is an ecological based model of merging modern psychology and traditional spiritual teachings from all over the world. Finding balance in life is possible with the symbolic teachings of the Hoop and the Tree.
Some of you may know that I recently finished my Diploma in Peace and Justice Studies, and I also completed my Advanced Certificate in Transformative Justice. Funny enough, I have been able to find links between the spiritual teachings of the Hoop and the Tree, and Restorative Justice. It isn't something I talk about often, but I feel like this eco-spiritual symbolism truly comes out in Restorative Justice due to the values of Peacemaking Circles, which are rooted in indigenous teachings and culture. I was pretty amazed at how my studies ended up linking with my true passions in this fundamental, yet very symbolic way. Funny how things tend to come full circle...
Back in 2010, Sacred Circularities was having its first annual gathering in Ubud, Bali. I just happened to be one of the lucky participants that year. What an awesome time I had!~ Since then, the popular retreat has welcomed many inspirational teachers and leaders in the healing arts world, giving them ground to share their love and passion with others. The retreat always happens around the same time that the Bali Spirit Festival is on, so there's quite a lot of yoga and movement arts peeps around, making it a great time to meet some lovely humans. Sacred Circularities participants get to experience a soul-moving week amongst the culturally rich and exotic paradise of Bali, Indonesia. Its you, your hoop, good people, great food, and a whole lot of tools for transformation and initiation… Okay, so enough about the retreat and the island of Bali.. I only talk about this because this was first where I met Jocelyn Gordon, creator of Bhakti Boogie® and HoopYogini™. I was so impressed with her workshops-- I had a lot of fun. I really let lose. When I got home to Canada after my trip around S.E. Asia, I made a hula hoop with my new found hoop/yoga practice in mind. Flexible and light. I still have the hoop and use it quite a bit.
Just a few months ago, Jocelyn launched her HoopYogini™ website, and at the same time she launched her Spinal Awakening Series 7 - course. I was so grateful to be invited to participate in this class by Jocelyn. It came at a time when I had a lot of change going on.. but a lot of good changes. I committed myself to the daily practice of Hatha Yoga fused with Hula Hoop and Mindfulness Mediation… I almost made the 49 day mark. I probably would have been able to make the 7 week mark had I not had so much on my plate at the same time (first time mom going back to work AND school at the same time, all while being a momma to my incredible little baby, Bracken… I ended up very sick quite a few times, thanks to bugs from daycare, and the amount of stress I was putting on myself). Anyway, even though I "failed" and completing my HoopYogini S.A.S. practice for the 49 days, I didn't feel like I had failed. I just had compassion for myself and did my S.A.S. practice when I could.
Even after the first couple times I did the Spinal Awakening Series instructional video with Jocelyn, I noticed a huge difference. I couldn't believe the creaking that was coming from my body and my spine. That was my spine waking up!
You don't have to have previous experience in yoga or hula hoop to be able to do this program. The poses and movements that you will learn can be done by anyone, young or old. Listen to your body, go at your own pace, and stretch as deep as you are able to, but bear in mind your personal limits. You will get stronger every day with repeated practice-- your spine really does enliven.
Now, I have made an effort to show up to practice every day-- not at a set time, and not for a set time, but whenever I can, for however long. The simple 7-move practice is very powerful in helping to build core strength, and give flexibility and healing to your spine. This is chiropractor approved, people! I, like many other HoopYogini's, am very excited to learn more moves from the HoopYogini repertoire. I am hoping to experience more of this program, and perhaps become a certified instructor one day.
I really like to just flow and dance with the moves I have learned so far. As part of the package, there is an additional instructional video for learning how to dance with the HoopYogini poses (or asanas). You will feel so good-- even if you are only doing a few minutes of practice every day. I have also used some poses to just ground me when I am feeling stressed out, or need a nice stretch and some breathing to chill out or re-center myself.
Right now you can still take advantage of the introductory price which is 50% OFF THE REGULAR PRICE! That's only 147.99 for the S.A.S program. Invest in your well-being, and get your body moving with this program… you won't regret it. Check out what the Spinal Awakening Series is all about --------> HERE <-------- If you do end up purchasing the HoopYogini S.A.S. series, or any other class, please use the link I just posted above, or this one http://www.hoopyogini.com/dap/a/?a=54 When you access the website from this link, before you make your purchase, wonderful technology will see my affiliate number and give me credit towards HoopYogini Teacher Certification! And you will learn the amazing power of these poses--this fusion of breath, movement and mindfulness! #lifeisawesome! #hoopyogini
There he is. My little happy Bracken Bear. Born March 10 2014, at 12:13 am.
He is the reason my life has changed so much, and for the better. It is true, when you have a baby, especially being a mom, you really learn what it means to come 2nd. Or 3rd, or 4th...
Babies are A LOT of work. But it is also true that nothing is quite as fulfilling in life as having a child.
For all you men out there, make sure you support your woman with lots of love and encouragement during this time into new mamahood. And if your daughter, sister, friend or cousin-- any female you know, is becoming a first-time mama, give her some extra love and support somehow. It's very easy to just expect mom's to be great and to be multi-taskers---because we are! But encouragement and support are so important during this time in a women's life.
I now understand why they say it takes "a village" to raise a child. It has been hard not having much family around during this new phase of life. Caring for an infant can get very lonely at times…a simple thing like taking a trip to town or running errands can be a daunting task when you are running on 2 hours sleep, can't seem to find any clothes that don't have "spit up" on them, and your baby is screaming because his top teeth are cutting thru. Your life is now planned around your baby's nap schedules. That can be a challenge in itself.
Becoming a new mother is a hard transition in the best of times. Unconditional love and support in every area is what a new mom needs (and some extra rest, and help around the house!). A newborn is usually up every 2 hours around the clock for the first month or so... sucking mom dry (if breast-fed) of energy. I remember having cluster-feed evenings where Bracken and I would spend almost 5 hours straight on the couch. 10 minute breaks here and there, and then it was back to boob. At times my body couldn't even keep up with his demand for milk. I remember being so delusionally tired and just wishing I had someone to hand the baby over to for a few hours. But babe needs mom most of the time, that's why it is important to have a good support network around you, so when you really need a break---someone's got your back.
The first few months were not how I pictured my life being with my new addition---I won't lie. There was some hard times. I will leave out the details of my personal life in this post, all I have to say is... if you wan't to be a new mom's hero, bring her a meal, come clean her house, encourage her in being an amazing mother, and ALWAYS tell her how great she looks. The body changes a lot, and it truly can be hard to feel sexy as a new mom. So any small compliment truly does make a difference.
Well, with all this baby/mom talk, what about hula hoops?
I must admit, with how crazy the last year and-a-half has been, I haven't had much time for hula hoops. Or my yoga, or much of anything to do with ME. Unless it has to do with Bracken of course. I am saddened at how fast things are going, and how big he is getting already. When I first held him in my arms, I had no idea how fast he would grow into the little adventurer that he has become. He still can't walk on his own yet, but that day is just around the corner. Then I will REALLY get some exercise.
I have been thinking about hoops, don't get me wrong. And I have been trying to pick it up more often and get back into it. I just have to get more disciplined at hooping instead of doing dishes or laundry, I guess. A dishwasher would be nice.
I did actually perform at the Rossland Winter Carnival this past friday. It had been 1.5 years since I had played with a fire hoop! Craziness. Felt a bit rusty, but it was so nice to just get out there and do my thing (very rare for me to be out in the evening at all these days, since little man's bed time is 730).
I've also started back at school very part-time. I am planning to finish my Liberal Arts Diploma in Peace Studies by this coming December. It is nice to get back into the academic world, even so slowly. I feel my brain doing things I almost forgot it could do...
I'm excited to get back to work, but I'm also wishing I had more time to just be a momma to my little guy. I once read an article that said no breastfeeding mom ever looks forward to going back to work. I have to kind of agree with that, although I don't think it is limited to breastfeeding mamas. Taking care of a baby or toddler is full-time work. So when you have to go back to your "job" it's like, oh boy back to work means doing 2 jobs! Thank goodness I only have one child :) I will continue to build a portfolio, both with hoops and with my camera, and I'm really looking forward to this spring/summer.. Much is on the horizon as far as attaining goals. This year I would really like to focus on my performance game, invest in some new gear, and spend more time with people JUST HOOPING and YOGA-ing. And drink tons of water. I really need to remember that one.
So here's to me, and my mama transformation... and to getting back in the hoop loop!
Peace, love and hoopiness,
So, as many of you know, I am now working on my 6th month of pregnancy. I found out I was pregnant in July. Funny thing, looks like my last post was posted around the time I conceived the little boy we are having in March.
We have been busy with lots of life planning and changing. I had to take another "real" job in order to get hours for mat leave, which was working in a kitchen. But this job is fairly physically demanding, so at the advice of my midwife, I gave my two weeks notice just yesterday. I can say that I am grateful for the work I did find, considering there is not a lot of jobs out here in the Kootenays. Unfortunately it won't make my medical/mat leave worth a lot, having worked for just over minimum wage, but at least it will be something.
So what does this all mean for hoops? Well, I will continue to donate hoops when I can (to those who need them), but fire dancing and performing is definitely out of the plan for a while, as the fumes are not good for me or the baby during pregnancy or breast feeding. As far as making hoops and selling them, this will probably be put on hold for a while as I have to focus on the baby and getting us moved into our new nest!
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any needs or questions related to hoops, though. I can get you in touch with the right people or refer you to other teachers, hoop makers, etc. :) Winter time is generally when I am not selling any hoops anyhow, but if you have some questions or need some advice, just send me an email.
Happy hooping, and sorry for the delay in updating!
It has been a while since I have updated. Life gets crazy sometimes... but back onto hoops! Today my friend Meghan takes off to South Africa to attend classes at a peacebuilding institute in Johannesburg. She is doing the same study abroad course that I did last year, although she will be taking different courses at the actual venue.
I helped introduce hooping to Meghan about a year and a half ago. So now that she is taking off on her first overseas trip, I'm taking advantage of this and sending her with 4 kids hoops. Yay! More hoops to be delivered to unsuspecting children :) Thanks so much for doing this Meghan! And please take some photos for us!
On other news, it looks like Illuminadis (my fire dancing troupe) will be getting a makeover, and we will be putting more time and energy into the new dynamic of the group. We have a new member, Kassandra... she's a crazy good 'lil hooper. This means that the core members of the group are women... watch out! Goddess power ignites! More news coming soon, and hopeful for some performance dates as well. Thank you to Kassi for giving us the drive and kick in the butt we needed to get the ball rollin' again :)
As for other news, Apsara Hoops will be at Kootenay Festival in Castlegar on July 27th (selling hoops of course!), with potential plans of doing some other local markets and festivals this summer.
Enjoy the sun! Happy Hooping.
Hello from the Philippines!
This trip was only realized about three months ago, but I have been waiting earnestly for the day I would return to Southeast Asia.
I am actually here to continue my studies in Peacebuilding, which is what I kind of fell into when I returned to University studies in the fall of last year. I was given a small scholarship to help with the cost of the trip by the Irving K. Barber foundation back home in B.C. I will be taking an Arts Based Peacebuilding course in Davao city at the end of this month, where I hope to share my love of the hula hoop and the flow arts with the other Peace Warriors that are coming from all over the world to study at the same institute.
I decided that I wanted to implement a mini-project while I was here: sourcing materials, building the hula hoops, and finally giving them away to families and children in need. I have decided that I am going to name all the projects and initiatives to spread the hoop love (and the flow arts in general) "Peace in Motion." The aim is to provide access to toys (hoops, poi, etc) and teach others about their uses and how they contribute to create healthy, peaceful individuals and cultures. These art forms are beginning to take the world by storm, and everyone should be aware of the power of the Arts to heal and inspire.
Thanks to the internet, I have been able to get into contact with the flow arts community here in the Philippines and am so lucky to have Bernadette Yu, of Hoopaholic Cebu, to help me with my project! Today we are going to get the materials for the project--- its going to be a crazy few days here in Cebu as we make as many hula hoops as we can manage. Then I just have to figure out how and where exactly I am giving them away.
I just flew into Cebu last night, after 3 days in Manila. I must say that unlike true fashion (for me) I haven't even taken any pictures of the country yet! I've been busy catching up on sleep due to jetlag, and also preparing more details for my trip and my project. Believe me, sitting in front of my computer for hours every day is not exactly what I want to be doing right now, but before I left Canada I was so busy and so rushed with so many things to do. So today marks the day where I have FINALLY started building www.travelkitty.org --- a web domain that I have owned for 3 years now, but have not found the ambition or time to get it going.. until now.
So over the next few days I will be building hoops and getting into contact with the communities here that are going to help me get my project off the ground. I hope to take many pictures so I will have lots of content to draw from as I regularly update this site, and my new site as well. Travel Kitty is a website that I will use to post all my travel stories and pictures, as well as all the information related to hula hoop projects that I hope on implementing as I travel the world over the next few years. I'm even going to get my arse in gear and post a section for older travel shots and stories that I never got a chance to share before--- from Africa and Asia.
I hope you enjoy looking for the updates, and I encourage you to "share" them with your family and friends and repost on facebook.
The flow arts are something that I am greatly passionate about because they have changed my life and have helped me to connect deeper to myself and to so many others throughout my adventures and travels. It is exciting for me to be able to meld my passion with my academic studies, and at the same time introduce these joyful art forms to others along the way. Even if the hula hoops I am giving away only bring a smile to a child's face for a few hours, it is SO worth it.
I will be posting the first stages of the project within the next couple of days on the TravelKitty website, so stay tuned!
If you would like to donate a small amount of money to the project, (which will be used for the construction of the hoops) you can do so on the hoops page of this website. :)
Love, Peace and Circles,
read the article by Philo Hagen.
So now that I am taking Peace Studies at Selkirk College, I have found ways that hula hooping, and movement arts in general can be used as a peacebuilding tool. It allows for inner peace and transformation of the individual-- it also offers a way to transform relationships and get people out into the community together-- being co-creative beings. It works on the individual and community level to create groups of people that have an evident mind/body/soul connection, or in other words, the freedom expressed through dance-- a way in which life has been celebrated all over the world, past many cultures and centuries.
I am allowing the creatie self-expression in my life to inspire others (I hope) and am putting it to use in my courses at school. I was asked to create a service-learning project that would help a community or person. I decided that I wanted to team up with my friend Dana to offer free yoga/poi and hula hoop lessons once a week for 5 weeks straight. We have been meeting up at Selkirk College in the gym (Castlegar) every friday at 530 ( til 7 pm). All ages 14+ are welcome. Please don't hesitate to bring a friend, we really love introducing the movement arts to as many people as we can! ;)
Further down the road, I will be going to the Philippines thanks to a scholarship I received from the Irving K. Barber Foundation. There I will be learning at a Peacebuilding Institute in Mindanao and I will also be trying to implement a mini project that I have set for myself --- sourcing materials, constructing and giving away as many hoops as I can!
This is where you can post anything on your mind, comments, questions, whatever!