Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hoop class skill recaps

The recap videos we shot for the hoop skills students have been learning in class are slowly making their way to Moxie's "Inner Circle" website. There are an estimated couple dozen videos taken over the last several months with the intention of sharing them on the Inner Circle as a way to help practice along in between class meets. It is expected that the clients for whom they're intended have already learned and tried the move in class, so the format is a recap and less detailed than a tutorial would be, for example. Of course, if hooping is new to you and you want to try it, you are welcome to join us at any point in a series. I add skills as we go but we're not merely trying to nail a move once, but rather develop a smooth proficiency, so we revisit moves often.

If you want to be notified when more recaps are posted, subscribe to the Inner Circle and you shall be kept in the hoop!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Living with fear is not the same as living IN fear

Fear is all around and a normal response to things we find uncomfortable and out of routine, etc. I'm not a psychologist so I'm not going to dig too deep with that one... but I do have some thoughts and examples of how I live with it.

A lovely hooper and woman I connected with in the online community and had the pleasure to meet in person, reminded me of a positive response to fear recently when she created a beautiful photo meme for me. Maria Randolph of HoopME was quick to point out how working through a fear resulted in something new opening up. I created a freedom for myself underwater that I hadn't experienced in years. More on that excursion in a little bit.... I promise I have a point here...
The meme that honored my facing of fear. Thanks Maria!
I quit swimming when I was 13. I used to relish going underwater, playing games with it and accomplished what my parents meant for me to do, because they didn't want me to fear water or be unable to survive in it. As I grew into adulthood, I still remained close to water but preferred to sit on it. Over the years, the thrill of water play was replaced with fear as I refused to let my head go below water, letting go of my swimming skill. I became a dog paddler that clung to a noodle.

I'm no stranger to facing fear, once I recognize that I need to take care of it. As I approached my 5-year anniversary with an advertising firm out of college, a milestone which would have opened benefits to me, I dumped the job. I saw no future in advertising for me so I jumped into the unknown, going back to school for exercise science (Science! The subject I ran screaming from as a kid and teen.) I absolutely LOVED it. I feared I'd be old in class. Nope, I was average or among the younger of them. I feared that I could fail. Nope, it took me longer than most, but I graduated with a 3.9. I missed the 4.0 because I got a B+ in the A&P course I made myself take but didn't need.

(A fact I share not to brag, but to point out that facing something you dread -- a potentially awful A&P course everyone hated -- could be a beautiful thing. I loved it! Worked my butt off and the strict professor scared me but it was my most crowning achievement of  those years. Not a bit of regret, as it set me up with the solid foundation I need for my life's work. Plus at the end when I aced my muscle anatomy practical, I got to "high five" that strict professor. <Grins> )

I'd been set up to face this sort of thing head on, 10 years earlier. In my mid 20s, I went on a dogsledding trip by myself with a group of people I had just met. (And in a roundabout way, it led me to someone who became a friend who ultimately introduced my husband and I. And since they were both into cycling, I had to face my fear of bike riding -- of falling off. It's perfect. We ride a tandem and I trust him completely. So where will your fears lead YOU?) I'm painfully shy so I feared being alone would be weird. Nope, I managed. Struck up conversation with some fellow sledders from New York and the trail guide thought he had to look out for me so I wasn't really alone. After my dogs abandoned me out of the gate, I was offered a ride in his sled and I said to myself, "Hell no. I'm doing this!" Got back on with MY dogs, survived, no bruises. Hung out on the trail with my dogs, enjoying a cold beer. (Best one I ever had. Nothing has ever come close.) My fellow club members? They eventually caught up and went home bruised and battered. I had been afraid during our sled briefing. Afraid! Now what was all that about? Fear, slayed. It was suggested I take a job as a trail guide, which I declined because I was in advertising, but it foreshadowed in a way, the life I have today.
Face your fears thoughtfully.

I've been a personal trainer and health fitness specialist for 8 years and 4 years respectively, and it fits my philosophy well. I promote activity while working closely with people in small environments. I insisted to my college advisor that I'd never teach group exercise because of the large group dynamic that I feared. Well I put that to rest. I've been teaching hoopdance -- hula hooping -- to groups of people now for 3 years and in fact just today, I had the joy of teaching hoopdance to nearly 30 new hoopers in an environment where it was necessary for me to use a microphone. My voice didn't sound nearly as weird through a mic as I thought it would! Found -- the freedom to share what I can teach, and be heard. Magic!

What's truly magical are the journeys we allow ourselves to be on. Despite my protests I was won over by a hula hoop, looked up a lovely Hoopnotica instructor for lessons, and then noticed a teacher training coming to town after just 3 lessons. I went. Let me count off the fears... got lost downtown, parked in a junk yard, braved a fierce guard dog, went in the wrong door where it was dark and shadowy voices echoed, to eventually find one of the warmest environments a person could fall into. Despite all of that and my new, unrefined skills, I was welcomed with hugs and encouragement by Jocelyn Gordon and Jacqui Becker who at the time were master trainers with Hoopnotica and have since evolved with their own ventures themselves. I was intimidated at first. They were sooo good and my skills were.... raw. But there was nothing to be afraid of, or to feel bad about, because with their guidance and the joy of my local teacher Shavonne Readus, I was able to grow into my skills and become an instructor myself.
Open your eyes to what scares you.

So it's in this hooping community that I noticed a mystical hooper -- because we're always reaching beyond ourselves, right? -- and was inspired by her to explore some underwater hula hooping because of the beauty she created. Her name is Vivian Spiral, and her unusual performance art locations have included underwater. The images and video are stunning. I wanted to try it myself despite no longer being able to swim. It was challenging! I am not her and I cannot be her, nor do I report to be, because I am not. I can be me underwater though, and despite shaking in fear anticipating how I'd hold my breath in water after quitting so many years ago... I took the plunge. And wow! I played. I played through my fear. I saw things I've never seen before underwater, because I opened my eyes for the first time. I let go of the fear of the unknown, and let in the under water world and so much more. The lake was cold, and yet it was a blast to dunk again and again -- so free! I shivered but didn't want to get out. It was as if I'd rediscovered the kid I used to be. Maybe I will return to swimming!

It's this exploratory period that I've been enjoying as an adult that gives me a youthful glow in my heart. I feel in my soul that I am 25. The world is my adventure. Everything awaits because there is freedom in facing the other side of fears, as Maria so thoughtfully pointed out. I'm terrified of heights but I wanted to try aerials last year. Then I saw an article in my local paper about a new aerial studio opening. I signed up for classes right away. This year, I tried the cyr wheel.
This was after I stood on it.
As a trainer and instructor, I meet people who are taking those first steps to rediscovering something for themselves. Perhaps they're shy at being seen, or don't think they can accomplish weight loss or unsure about trying a new hoop move and my purpose for them, for you, is to say hey -- I travel this path too, I've got this, I've got you, I'm at your side.

See you on the other side of fear.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hoop class at the Costick Center on Sunday August 3!

I will be translating my real world observations into a new post soon but in the meantime, note that hoop class on Sunday August 3 is in a special place! We will be at the Costick Activities Center in Farmington Hills. I've rented the gym from 2-3:30 in order to introduce the thrills of hoopdance fitness to nearly 30 new hoopers! Contact me soon if you would like to join us. It is sure to be a blast.

Plus, despite the stores and advertisements, summer is NOT over. There are a few events still to come this summer (and beyond!). Some outside, some at the studio. Follow Moxie's facebook page or subscribe to this blog to stay updated on what's coming!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Staying young with play

I think we need to play more.

Kids play, they're encouraged to be creative and they laugh a lot. When we grow up, we think we're supposed to be serious. We feel embarrassed if we're not perfect at something or make mistakes. We go to work. We do housework. Even our recreational time is called a "workout".

Why? No wonder people try to get out of it. Well let's take it back! There is no reason why we can't play. It's not childish. There is something built in to humans to play, to explore, to learn new things.

So that's what I'm doing. I work with a dragon boating team, on their landing training. Based on the strength requirements for the sport, I have them doing a mix of upper and lower body exercises, all with emphasis on the abs. Above all, I've tried to keep it fun. I bring in big balls, little balls, even tiny balls into the dance studio I rent. Last week they were standing on balance domes and playing hot potato. We do bodyweight suspension training, use agility ladders and play with hula hoops.

I also teach a hoopdance class afterward. Everything is based on the science of exercise and the results of a fitness evaluation for each person, but after that, it's about play. Movement is meant to be enjoyable, not drudgery. Our bodies are designed to move and even if there is arthritis or pain, movement is better than no movement. Studies have shown that exercise helps people manage arthritis.

I don't believe we have to run marathons to be fit, nor do I think we have to be beat up to be fit. Increased heart rate is good, sweating is good, and to create change within the body... some muscle fatigue. It's all good though -- Don't you remember coming in from playing for hours and feeling a little wiped out? That's it!

Go play.