By Marcie Hahn-Knoff
Think hula hooping, and vintage images of mid-20th century hoop-a-thons or memories of hooping as a child may come to mind. Children have been the bastions of hula hooping over the 60-years the modern hoop has been part of popular culture.
Enter the handcrafted hoop. Made from durable PVC tubing, specialty tapes and in much larger diameters, handcrafted hoops are heavier, have a slower rotation speed and are easier for adults to handle. Kids who master smaller hoops can easily whip larger hoops around, as well. In the past decade, handcrafted hoops have become increasingly popular and are primarily responsible for a recent resurgence in adult hula hooping.
Hooping is a simple exercise that makes people happy. The massaging action of the hoop going around the body feels good, and the visual of the hoop spiraling through the space is fantastic. It’s hard to be in a rotten mood while hula hooping – even folks who are essentially dragged into trying it end up smiling, laughing and wondering why they’d been so resistant to the idea.
Hoops can add a new angle to enjoying the outdoors. Colorful and simple, hoops are a friendly piece of equipment, they are deceivingly effective at giving a good workout; especially once basic hooping is mastered and more advanced tricks are incorporated. Specialty collapsible hoops come apart into pieces to make them easily portable, making them a fun addition to road trips, camping trips, rafting or even strapped to packs for backcountry and mountaineering trips.
Many people who gravitate toward hula hooping find it to be meditative and centering. Spirals are found frequently in nature, and humans have been intrigued by their beauty and mystery since pre-historic times. The hoop spirals around the body and the hula hooper moves back around that spiral. Some feel hooping opens energy centers and helps them to tap into something greater. Others offer prayers in the wrapping of their hoops, using them much like prayer flags, each spin transferring the message to the heavens.
Individuals of all ages and backgrounds come to – or back to – the hula hoop for a universe of reasons, but their common bond of a love for hooping weaves them into a community. Children, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, toddlers, friends, coworkers, wedding parties, concertgoers – all can be brought together by the power of hooping. Next time you find a hula hoop in your path, jump in and give it a whirl – you might find peace, community, fitness or just a big smile waiting for you on the inside.
Marcie Hahn-Knoff was reintroduced to hula hooping by glitter wearing mountain worshippers while living in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. She carried her love of hooping and handcrafting hula hoops with her to Montana where she now lives. Marcie brings hoops to gatherings, concerts and weddings and frequently packs them along while ski-touring and mountain climbing, enjoying the view from the top from the inside of a hoop.
Hoopla Hula Hoops
Check out Marcie Hahn-Knoff’s Montana-based company, Hoopla Hula Hoops, which makes collapsible and portable hula hoops that fit together with a quick clip insert design and are decorated with hand cut graphics. All materials are made in the U.S.
Available at Tart on Level 1 of the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture in Bozeman, through Tart’s website at tartique.com, and also by custom order through the Hoopla Hula Hoops Facebook page at facebook.com/hooplahulahoops.
Hoopla Hoops is co-sponsoring the free Hoop Zone, complete with hula hoops for all to use, at the ‘Lunch on the Lawn‘ mid-day concert series at the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture, every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. through Aug. 17 in downtown Bozeman.