Post by Elana Millman I have been hooping for 6 years. I have seen this community grow from a small pocket of former ravers and party kids with an ardent interest in something a little kooky to a tsunami- like force that incorporates all people regardless of age, size, race, gender, class. It is mind-blowing, inspiring and so beautiful. Despite all of the differences in hoopers, the practice of hooping creates a certain type of person. For the most part, hoopers are creative, gregarious, out-of-the-box thinkers who are not afraid to look a little silly in public. From what I have seen, hoopers have above-average intelligence, independent spirits and are, of course, devastatingly good looking. But why are hoopers such consistently awesome people? I believe it is all in the heart. Hooping forces us to do certain things with our bodies that go against how we normally hold ourselves in busy, slouchy lives. On the first day of hoop class, I teach people the importance of posture. The hoop simply moves better if we are standing straight, hold in our waists and are engaged with our bodies and breath. By simply standing and breathing, we create more negative ions in the body, more positive happy feelings and a deeper connection to self. As we move along in class, I teach the all-important shoulder-hooping--- for many the holy grail of tricks for a new hooper. In nailing chest hooping, we have to push our chests up and out, stand straight and present our hearts to the world. We regularly move in this position in hoop dance- hearts out, eyes up, smiles broad. I firmly believe that by practicing this posture, not only are we putting our hearts out into the world but also creating more love for ourselves and the world at large. I come from a massage and wellness background. With that, I have a firm connection to my body and how it moves. When I started shoulder hooping (and finally nailed it), I found that I moved a lot of stagnant energy around my heart. In fact, one cold exuberant night in February after conquering the move, I went home and cried deeply. I was surprised that hooping was able dislodge stagnation when acupuncture, massage and cranial sacral could not. I was able to feel a better connection to my heart and to myself. It was liberating. Hoopers, by connecting regularly to our hearts and the feelings of love that surrounds this vital organ, bring the best of humanity up to the surface--- More love, more compassion, more expression, more joy, more positivity, more giggles. That is why hoopers are awesome. Keep your hearts open, dear friends and happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.