Friday, October 15, 2010

on spinning the other direction

Today I tried something a bit different... for me, anyway.

I woke up to the most beautiful, mystical morning. The air felt crisp and smelled of autumn and the sky was clear. I stuck my head out the window like a little kid, excited to see if it would be nice enough for me to hoopdance outside on my day off of work. It was. I was elated.

I have been having a bit of trouble with my lower back, just aches and dull pain since I began to hoopdance two months ago. I decided it was my lack of stretching, so I began to stretch before, during and after my hoop sessions. This failed to solve the problem, so I went to the online community of hoopers to ask for help. It turned out that what I really needed was fairly simple. To spin the hoop the other way.

This will mean absolutely nothing to most people (which is understandable), but everyone who dances with a hoop has a favored direction, their 'hoop direction.' I hoop to the right. What my back needed was for me to hoop to the left sometimes. Caroleeena, an esteemed hoopdance teacher, put it this way:

"Hooping in both directions not only develops both sides of your abdominals (and who wants a three pack, am I right?) and both sides of your back muscles, it supports your spine, increases your balance, helps you find your Center, allows you to move freely in all directions and to learn new movements faster as it re-wires the neural pathways in your brain, effectively making you smarter. It enhances your ability to do every pattern-related thing in your life, including but not limited to music, dancing, drumming, mathematics, planning and organizing."

So I picked up my hoop and spun it to the left.

At first it was awkward, uncomfortable, and difficult. I felt taken back to my first day hooping, when I spent an entire day locked in my room, bound and determined to be a part of this 'hooping thing.' Every step was filled with flailing arms, falling hoops and broken wall decor. I was dripping in sweat, exhausted, but I told myself that I wouldn't take 'no I can't do this' for an answer.

By the end of two or three songs, I could literally feel my back muscles thanking me for finally figuring it out. It felt almost refreshing. Suddenly I didn't have to worry about dropping anymore, and my muscles got comfortable doing something new and weird. I did it! I changed my direction! Shortly thereafter I ran out into the patch of sunshine in my yard and attacked the practice with my mini hoops that had me so discouraged yesterday.

I was inspired by today. I was inspired by myself, by my perseverance in doing what feels impossible right now, but will yield unbelievable results down the road.

Dear Me-Next-Time-You-Even-Think-About-Quitting:

Always seize the opportunity to try something a different, something a little uncomfortable. Put yourself out there and decide that you will get it down. Maybe not today, and maybe not this week. But you will. You can always lean on the many things you already know as encouragement to keep going. Besides, you thought you would never be able to hoop at the shoulders or do the vortex, and now you rock them. Love, Me