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 -

“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 3

Ok, so how did week 3 go? Well, pretty good since I lost two pounds. Down to 133 pounds now, yipee! As this challenge moves forward, I notice that I’m actually feeling a little more competitive and am more interested in the actual weight loss part of this than I was to begin with. I’ve found that tracking my food intake in the MyFitnessPal app has been really enlightening – when I was doing it. I have lost traction on that because I didn’t make time for it for a couple of days, then I never went back to doing it. I’m going to start again today and do it for the next 5 days to finish off the challenge. It is super helpful for education around how many calories are in the foods I’ve been eating. I always read labels so I have a good understanding of the nutritional value of packaged foods but had little understanding of how many calories are in 2 cups of mixed greens or a banana for example. I was very excited to find out that there are only 20 calories in the greens portion of my daily salad and about 105 calories in a medium banana. I always eat fairly healthy, but I often eat too much for weight loss. I must eat just enough for weight maintenance because I haven’t gained weight in years now and I can manage that without tracking my intake.


1/4 Cup of Almonds & Cashews

The other thing the app is helpful with is giving me an idea of how much carbs, fat, protein, sodium and sugar I’ve consumed. Last year my naturopath encouraged me to snack on nuts and seeds instead of gluten free crackers as the protein would help keep me feeling fuller longer, and nuts aren’t packed with all the other garbage that crackers have in them. I love raw cashews & almonds now but because of this app, realized that I was consuming two servings instead of one. Because of the nuts and the avocado I often throw in my smoothie, my fat daily fat intake was skyrocketing. There can always be too much of a good thing I guess. I’ve limited my nut intake to 1/4 cup in total instead of a 1/2 cup and all seems to be good.

Another highlight from week 3 is that I went camping at a small music festival/equinox gathering and didn’t have a single alcoholic beverage! That is a first for me in my adult life! I really just felt the booze wasn’t worth the extra calories and I wanted to really challenge myself. Food was provided all weekend, and it was all mostly organic and very healthy so I didn’t even really have temptations to eat junk. I wish camping was always that easy for food!

Well, onto the homestretch now. I’m excited to see how I fare come September 30.