Yoga retreats are a dime a dozen, but the mere mention of a hula hoop retreat may draw looks of bewilderment in Malaysia. Asia has yet to catch the fever, but hula hooping, a branch of the flow arts, has long been on the rise in the United States, Australia and Europe.
Forever seeking novel ways to stay in shape, I booked a ticket to The Hula Hoop Institute’s Dream Hoop Retreat in Bali from March 12 to 16, 2016.
She Who Hoops
‘You’re sure to meet some interesting characters!’ chirruped my mother as I was packing my bags for Bali. Sure enough, I became fast friends with the 20-odd free-spirited, fun-loving women who had also signed up. Whether they worked a 9-to-5 desk job or travelled the world performing circus tricks, we all shared one thing in common: A sense of adventure.
Don’t Be a Square
While I initially wondered if the workshops would be redundant, monotonous is the last word I’d use to describe the Dream Hoop Retreat. Because hooping is a means of self-expression and creativity, the six world-class instructors boast their own styles and brought something different to the classroom.
‘360 Activation’ showed us how to move across the floor and think out of the box while hooping; ‘Hoopography’ (a portmanteau from the words ‘hooping’ and ‘choreography’) merged hula hooping with sassy dance moves; and ‘The Crotch Extravaganza’ displayed tips and tricks on hooping with one’s nether regions (hurrah for the all-powerful pelvis!).
In the past, I had only given hula hoops a few spins before feeling foolish or jaded. Little did I know that a plastic ring could contain so much potential. For instance, why limit yourself to waist hooping when you can literally hoop with any part of your body? You can hoop with your neck, knees, shoulders and, if you sport long tresses, hair bun!
Hula hooping offers endless configurations, which makes it easy to keep going for hours on end, and before you know it, hours have flown by.
Voted Hooper of the Year in Asia at the 9th annual Hoopie Awards 2016, Michelle Tan, colloquially known as Mishie Hoops, is the founder of The Hula Hoop Institute. A ‘practical dreamer,’ Mishie turned her passion into a full-time job by focusing on her dreams, working towards her goals, and turning them into reality.