A combination of hatha yoga, mindfulness meditation and playful fun.

What if we truly embraced the notion of living in a recreational universe? One where fun can lead to self-awareness and joy? Jocelyn Gordon, founder of HoopYogini, embodies and embraces that premise.

HoopYogini integrates hula hooping with Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation. Participants use a modern adult-size hula hoop as a fitness tool to strengthen and stretch the body. The practice explores the relationship between the spontaneous spiral of the hoop and the linear and direct aspects of yoga.

Jocelyn Gordon explains, "The circular nature of the hoop gently encourages movement, freedom of expression, conscious daydreaming (a lost art for most adults) and improved range of motion. Stretching with the hoop in familiar Hatha yoga patterns releases mental and physical tension, develops present-moment awareness, and affirms the practitioner's ability to clear unhealthy beliefs and actions."

The hoop is a tool, like blocks and straps are yoga tools, and it serves as a way to define sacred space in that it becomes an extension of oneself, an expression of chakras and a reminder that life itself is a constant spiral. At times in the practice, participants sit on the floor with their hoop encircling them as a representation of their energetic space.

Rachael Aganad, a yoga instructor, Reiki healer and HoopYogini dance leader, is currently traveling with her mother, Alison Miller, in a pink car, pulling a pink trailer that has become her mother’s new home. Alison is writing and conducting workshops, Rachael is teaching HoopYogini, and both are working through the loss of Chuck, Alison’s husband and Rachael’s father.

To honor and celebrate her husband's life, Alison has been scattering his remains at some of their favorite places. Why pink? Because before he passed, Chuck asked her to travel in something colorful so he could find her. Hence, a new Ford Escape, in a customized shade of pink named “Chuck's Watching Over Me,” as a means of transport. HoopYogini, according to Rachael, has been a perfect companion for their journey, because grief, too, is a spiral.

"Sometimes," she explains, "the hoop falls to the ground or it hits you in the eye or bruises you, like life, and what's important to work through is your response. Do you stop and get frustrated, leave the ring or dance floor? Or do you, can you, swoop down, pick it up and keep dancing? I’ve seen participants laugh and learn to play and smile again."

You can communicate your story through movement by doing HoopYogini and you can be at any fitness level to participate. Using the hoops puts a fun spin on the disciplined poses of yoga. The spherical shape of the hoops can help with subtle movement, or morph into full-out dance, releasing blocked energy in the process.

"It helps people heal," Rachael says, "they use spinning spirals and hoops, moving energy as they do."

Besides massaging the body, supporting healthy mobility in the spine, soothing the nervous system, improving circulation and moving the lymph tissue, HoopYogini induces feelings of calm, euphoria and ease and teaches that transformation can be fun. It can add joy and pleasure to an exercise routine and requires no previous hoop or yoga experience.

HoopYogini instructors can be found here:

Interested in becoming a HoopYogini instructor? Consider a Hoop Camp Retreat:

To check in on Rachael and Alison’s travels, fueled by magic and driven with love, click here:

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