After coming back from the first festival of the summer, I was DEAD. I mean, seriously, I plopped onto my mattress and died for twelve hours. When I woke up, I didn't feel relaxed or rested in the slightest...yeah, it could have been because I was already a half hour late to work, but it was also because I had made a terrible mistake. A mistake which I am sure hundreds of hoopers make on a regular basis.
I mean, stretching, yeah, I do that when I...yawn. I give my arms a good stretch up to the sky. I might half-ass a lunge here and there...or touch my toes. But who has time to stretch when Dopapod is about to play? Or when your new Evoke arrived? When you and your hoop-crew FINALLY have a day to all jam together who is going to say, "wait a sec guys...need to stretch my quads..."
Who does that?
Well, luckily, I still remember the yoga moves I did at Shakti Sunfire's Hoop Retreat (yes, it was amazing). I met an incredible instructor named Tara, who showed us the best positions for hooping.
Thread the Needle
Not just a hoop trick, but a yoga move! For all the hoopers that love using their shoulders...this should be a stretch to do ON THE DAILY! No joke, when I get really deep in this stretch, I feel like someone poured liquid sunlight into my muscles. Mmm! So good. This pose compresses the muscles in the upper chest nice and gently, while opening all the inner and outer muscles of your shoulder. It's a more directed Child's Pose (which I'm sure many of you are familiar with). If you thought Child's Pose felt good, just wait until you Thread the Needle.
Revolved Triangle Pose
This pose is great for hoopers because of the focus on the lower back, spine, and hips. This pose is also ideal because it stretches you gluteal muscles (your butt) all the way down to your legs, which is very beneficial if you like doing more leg tricks. Over time, this pose could also help improve your balance. So if you're one of those hoopers who has been wanting to get one leg out of the hoop for a million years, this position will help you with that, and other tricks of the like.
There are so many stretches for opening the hips, but personally, Pigeon is my favorite. In fact, as I write this article, I'm in the pose now. It's not just about the hips, as we all know, hooping stimulates many (if not all) of our muscles. However, some muscles are used more than others. Pigeon hits all of the core areas where hooping takes place. Mainly hips, but also the lower back, hamstrings, gluteals, pelvis and depending on the fold, you could even fuse it with a shoulder-opening stretch....oh, the release.
Reclined Bound Angle
You can just tell from looking at this pose that is was made for hoopers. It's another great hip-opener, but, perhaps more importantly, this pose increases the range of our hip rotation. Hell yes, right? Way to bring it around town. This pose it pretty intense, so take your time getting in and out of it. I think people should stop sitting in chairs and just lie on the ground like this all the time. Think of how amazing our hoop-skills would be then!
To close out this article with a bang, I'm giving you the holy grail of hoop stretches. Might not look like much, but this pose stretches your shoulders and spine. It massages your internal organs and is ideal for when you're looking for a relaxing, but stimulating pose. Marichi's Pose massages your internal organs and promotes blood flow. So it's really helpful if you wanna get naturally energized and get in hoop-zone.
Alright, hoopers, that's all for Yoga for Hoopers Part 1. Now that you know these stretches, time to start doing them! Too many negative side effects come around if we don't stay limber. I hope you don't need to learn the hard way like I did. Much love, my friends! Happy hooping! ~Namaste