The Hoop’s Got What You Need: 7 Ways Hooping Meets Needs You Didn’t Know You Had

"Maslow's hierarchy of needs" by J. Finkelstein - I created this work using Inkscape.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.svg#mediaviewer/File:Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.svg

“Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” by J. Finkelstein

I remember first learning about the difference between needs and wants in elementary school. We learned that we need things like food, air, shelter, water and love to survive and we learned that wants are things like toys, brand name clothing, fancy cars etc.  I later learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which expanded my context further but I still didn’t put a lot of thought into the specific needs that filled up each category. I just tried to figure out where I was on the chart and knew I wasn’t at the self-actualization stage yet but I was above the physiological section.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I was given a needs inventory  handout from the Center for Nonviolent Communication in a Creator’s Code Creation Circle meeting. We were learning how we could meet our needs in clean and clear ways which first meant we had to understand our needs. The list of needs blew me away! I found it very comprehensive and in many cases I hadn’t previously considered the things listed as needs at all. In my mind they were wants. They are nice to have if I have extra time to focus on them, but not necessary for my overall well being. As I read through the list, I was delighted to see that much of the self care I do is actually helping to meet various needs and this list is just further proof that I NEED to practice self care regularly to operate at my peak performance! My husband calls this high maintenance, and maybe it can be seen as that, but all I know is I’m much happier when my needs are met.

As I scanned the list, it struck me quite quickly that hooping meets so many needs, particularly needs that I didn’t recognize as needs in the first place. Yipee! Now I have at least seven more reasons to keep hooping! Here they are:

1. Community – Hooping has connected me to a local and international group of beautiful souls. Any city I visit, I try to hit up a hoop jam so I can make new friends. It’s amazing being able to connect with a group of strangers wherever you go, where you feel like you belong almost immediately. I didn’t feel this sense of community on a large scale growing up as I wasn’t part of religious organizations and wasn’t involved in many extra curricular activities. As a hooper, I definitely feel the love and connection that comes from being part of an amazing community.

2. Authenticity – The hoop invites me to be my authentic self. To move my body in such a way that expresses exactly how I’m feeling in that moment. It can be challenging to be authentic in a world that encourages you to conform, but the hoop continues to teach me how to be myself. I knew it was important to practice being me, but I didn’t realize that I NEED to be me!

3. Play – When I saw this one on the list, my first thought was, well play is good for people who aren’t that busy, but most people aren’t going to make time for it, so it can’t be that important. Good thing I’m not what I think most people are like! Hooping is all about play and I make it a priority all the time. Play brings fun and laughter and silliniess. I guess we need all that too. Who knew that playing with a plastic circle was so important? When we play, we’re actually meeting a need!

4. Inspiration – It can be easy to get caught up in the day to day actvities of life, but what is the point of living if you’re not inspired? Watching other hoopers bust out is always inspiring and gives me motivation to grow and expand. I can now see this is a need because when I feel I’m in a rut, I head over to YouTube and watch videos of my favourite hoopers to kick my creativity into high gear. I need that to keep going some days.

5. Creativity – And speaking of creativity, that need made the list too. I often think of people as either creative or analytical. Before recognizing creativity as a need, I thought about it as a treat if I completed all the things on my to-do list first. Now that I know creativity is a need, I will give myself even more time to play and explore in my hoop. I love taking time to ask what if, like the time I asked what if I try to combine sustained spinning with breaks & reversals? The results were great and I even based a workshop on it! I would have never discovered that combination had I not taken time to nurture my creativity.

6. Learning – I appreciate being able to learn but didn’t think this was something I needed. The hoop teaches me so much. I’m not just learning tricks and developing my flow, I’m also learning about life. Some of my favourite hoop life lessons are captured here. And what’s more, when I teach, I learn. Both kids and adults teach me so much as I teach them. The learning never stops, I knew this but again, never thought I needed to learn to be satisfied in life.

7. Movement – This one might be more obvious but I just wanted to add that I’ve recently gained some weight as the result of meeting a need to experience joy this summer. I ate and drank everything I wanted! I would like to feel healthier now and have been playing with what I call Hoop Aerobics. Doing lunges, squats, toe lifts etc while hooping. It’s the only way I can really enjoy myself while “exercising” and exercise has to be fun for me or I won’t do it. It’s been great so far and I’m excited to keep going with it. One rule I’ve given myself that will be sure to get me fit in no time is that everytime I drop my hoop, I have to do a burpee! Or perhaps, I’ll just develop more core control with the hoop to avoid doing burpees, we’ll see.

NoMo hooping

A shot of a group I was teaching at a small music festival a few weeks back. I see a lot of needs being met – play, learning, exercise, connection and more!

In addition to learning about the types of needs we have, I also learned that we can always tell when our needs aren’t being met because we are unhappy in some way. I think back to before I started hooping over six years ago and can honestly say I’m a much happier person now. I consider hooping to be one of my essential self care practices and understand why it fills me up, it’s because it meets so many of my needs. Hooping truly  fulfills me! It allows me to feel my core desired feelings (abundance, support, connection, flow and joyful radiance) each and every day. I even spotted some of my core desired feelings on the needs list, proving to me that daily connection and joy are even more important than I previously thought. What a beautiful gift I’ve received from this little plastic circle.

❤ Nicole

September Clean Eats Sweeps: Week 4

The clean eating challenge I took part in over the month of September has ended and I feel much better than I did on September 1. I lost three pounds overall and one inch!

I’m quite happy with those results since I wasn’t incredibly strict with myself and didn’t eat 100% clean. I had gluten free bread a couple of times, still topped my salad with goat cheese and nibbled on swiss cheese too. Cutting out alcohol made the biggest difference for me. I eat pretty well most of the time, but those empty calories in booze really add up.

I think abstaining from alcohol in the last two weeks and exercising in the last week of the challenge helped melt away those last couple of pounds.

Even though I’m a certified fitness instructor, I don’t really enjoy exercise in the traditional sense. Burpies and push ups and lunges are not my favourite thing to do but an opportunity came up to try out a free bootcamp class with the other ladies competing in the challenge. I decided to go for it, even though I was scared.

I have a decent fitness level from hooping, but bootcamp is always humbling for me. As soon as I got there, we asked the teacher if she would go easy on us. She basically replied no, as this was the last class of the series. Oh shit.

I somehow survived class though, pushing myself through countless lunges, squats, presses and sprints knowing that my body could do everything it was my mind I had to convince. I was slower than everyone else but still managed to get everything done. My legs nearly collapsed at the end of the class, but I did it!

I didn’t hurt the next day, but two days after I could barely walk or sit. I tried to keep moving so I didn’t get too tight but didn’t have a whole lotta luck.

I decided to go to a hot yoga class led by my favourite instructor on the third day after bootcamp because I felt like I could move with a little less pain again. I love this particular teacher’s classes because they are fun and challenging with the perfect amount of yogic philosophy.

We always do crazy advanced poses that I try to get through and in this class we happened to be working on opening our hips which was great since my quads and hamstrings were so tight from bootcamp still. I felt great after and when I weighed myself the next morning I was down to 132 pounds. I think hot yoga helped me burn some fat and let me sweat out some excess water weight.

The challenge is done but eating clean just seems like a habit now that I’ll continue. It took me all of my 20’s to get here, but I want to continue honouring my body and take care of it as best I can. My 30th birthday is now under two weeks away and I can safely say that when I wake up on October 18, I will feel pretty awesome!

September Clean Eats Sweeps: Week 2

Week 2 was an interesting challenge for clean eating because I was planning on spending the weekend at the cabin. My habits are pretty healthy during the week when I’m on my regular schedule. The issue is that not being on my regular schedule requires a lot of pre planning.

I had a work meeting on Monday night where dinner was provided. As my gluten, lactose & onion free option I was given a sandwich with deli meat on a gluten free bun. Not very clean, but my only option given I hadn’t planned ahead. Sometimes food allergies are so much work, it’s annoying to have to think about pre planning meals beyond that. I knew a weekend at the cabin would be a challenge, not only in terms of food but also for alcohol consumption. A typical weekend at the cabin includes chips, hot dogs, cookies or chocolate and lots of wine. That certainly would not be acceptable this trip! I’m quite proud of myself for bringing ground chicken lettuce wraps, hummus & veggies, fruit and seaweed snacks for my meals. My big treat was cashew butter and banana’s. One of my favourite healthy snacks. Mostly though, I’m proud of not bringing any booze! I did have two of my husbands ciders and a mango margarita on Saturday, but that was it for the whole weekend. I allowed myself those drinks partly because I was getting a bit cranky from the lack of sugar I was consuming and partly because it was my last visit to the cabin this summer and the weather was beautiful. and I don’t need to completely punish myself. I spent some time hooping, playing badminton, throwing a football around and walking dogs so that must have done something to combat the extra calories too.

I think that the hardest part of clean eating is the planning. It’s so much easier to make pre-packaged food or grab fast food but I know I feel so much better when I eat clean. Even though I haven’t been 100% clean so far, I’m happy with where I am because September has been busy so far and I’m not in the position to devote all of my time preparing food. I’m doing what I can and still living my life too, and I’m OK with that. I’m  back at 135 pounds, so down a half pound since last week and that is also OK. These next two weeks, I am really going to challenge myself – no alcohol at all and if I do have a meeting where non-clean food will be served, I will make a better effort to bring my own food.