Increasing Flexibility for Hoopers

Hey Hoopers and gonna' be Bendy Babes (boys and girls!).

Do the words "I'm not flexible" or "I'll never be flexible" ring a bell?

They do for me.

Despite what you've been told, or may have been telling yourself, being flexible is accessible to any one of us that wants to be flexible. The misconception here is if you haven't been training since you were four, you will never make any progress now. How wrong that is! Here's my story. I was nineteen years old when I started training hula hoops and contortion. I had no experiencing in flexibility training or any knowledge of how my body "flowed". I started from ground zero. What worked for me was having this realization that my body was merely made of knots. Knots that I had been ignoring for nineteen years, and each knot represented a part of my past. The more I worked on untying these knots the happier I was and the more flexible I became (in both mind and body, yoga jazz).

Upon the realization that I was flexible, my body became flexible. As long as I worked towards untying those knots my body would loosen and bend into it's new mold, that be touching my toes, going for full splits, or deep back bending. It took twelve uncomfortable months and many breakthrough moments but eventually I did touch my toes and as more time passed I saw my body accomplishing what I once thought impossible for myself. And that will happen for you!

Hooping has changed the way I look at my health and potential. It has improved my cardio and coordination, strength and flexibility and inspired me to be in the best shape of my life.

Every milestone we pass, is another knot untied.

In this article I'll be sharing tips and tricks on increasing flexibility to pull off some of those tricky hoop combos and yoga poses you want to perform. I wish you all the best in your bendy journey, keep practicing and keep playing - progress will happen! Let me know if you have any tips I may have missed, feel free to share them with the community in the comments section below. Progress Pics - Mini Gallery,

1. Brainstorm and Visualize

Seeing is believing! Think of some of the kick ass flex poses that you want to work towards and visualize yourself doing them. It will create confidence in the poses. I've gone as far as to dreaming my way through the trouble shooting of balance and poise. You can doodle, draw or paint the poses you hope to one day accomplish. Having a picture to look at every day will keep you inspired.

Create a list for yourself of what you hope to accomplish in the new year.

The first yoga poses/asanas I chose were;

- Forearm Stand (foot hooping)

- Anything with a Back-bend!

- Dancers Pose

- Shoulder Stand to Tiger Pose (footing hooping and roll over) My shoulder stand to tiger pose (foot hooping roll over) was something I had thought of doing for years but doubted I could. One night, after visualizing myself performing the roll over I was able to troubleshoot the dynamics and perform the trick.

Share your brainstorming with us in the comments section,

2. Join a Yoga Class

Yoga is pretty much accessible wherever you go. Search for studios in your area and check out the local teachers. Practitioners of an advanced yoga background are usually more than happy to give you pointers on your journey.

When I first moved to Australia I couldn't afford to take yoga classes as much as I wanted to, so I signed up for a "work trade" program. The work trade programs ask for you to clean the studio and work reception tasks in trade for yoga classes. This program is available all over the world but is not often advertised. You may have to ask around and check in with multiple studios before you find the right fit. This is an alternative way you can seek mentor-ship on a budget.

Having a regular practice and studio will motivate you to make use of the tools available for yourself.

3. Accept Growing Phase

When you first start working towards a deeper practice understand that almost everything will feel weird and new to your body. It's not about looking pretty or getting there the fastest, take your time and enjoy the plausible falls and shakes.

When working towards an advanced goal, set mini goals.

For example,

"The next time I practice I will hold for X seconds"

"Today I will try X yoga pose/ asana"

Remind yourself of how far you have come. Taking progress pictures is a great way to keep up with your training.

The first time I held this, 2015

Take time and enjoy the knots you untie.

4. Bendy Friends and hoop