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From Brain to Hips and back again. 5 ways to get inspired by a Hula Hooping novice

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

I recently went to my first Hula Fit class. I’d seen the flier for it at the bus stop and it stuck out to me for being unusual and fun. I’d never been able to hula hoop so I thought I’d go along and check it out.

For a while now I’ve been regularly writing down lists of “20 things I’d love to do” or “20 things that bring me joy” and then making sure I do at least one a day. Or when I’m feeling depleted, I look at the list and do something from it to refill my tank.

Hula-hooping was not on the list but the mantra from another coach “the more frivolous the better” was at the back of my mind when I saw the Hula Fit flier. So I booked in for a trial.

There were 4 of us in the class. When I arrived, two ladies in their 60s were already hula-hooping away with bright pink and white hoops. It really made me happy to see it because it was so unexpected. It filled me with delight and reminded me of how I felt watching the scene from Ted Lasso, when Coach Beard gets up and starts hula hooping in the middle of a club. It was so unexpected and inspiring. The surprise element was that Coach Beard was so good at it because normally he is a serious character. This clip of him hula-hooping reveals his true spirit.

So at class, I started off tentatively, at first only managing to keep the hoop going for a few seconds but with good instructions from the teacher and cheers of support from the other hula-hooping ladies, I gradually started getting the hang of it and it felt great! And whilst doing it, I tuned out of my “to-do list” and was completely in the moment.

Lessons I learned:

  • Listen to and trust your inner voice When I saw the Hula fit flyer at the bus stop, it jumped out at me immediately as something I’d love to try. But my inner voice kicked in with “you don’t have time”, “you’ll be no good at it”. But because I’m focused on self-care and what will nourish me, I managed to override this sabotaging voice and contacted the instructor for a free trial. Working with a coach can help you to tune out the “inner dialogue” that talks you out of doing what will bring you joy. A coach will not buy into the limiting beliefs you hold about yourself such as “I’m too old, too big, too clumsy …to do…” and instead help you to tune into your own real desires so that you can spot opportunities for joy when they pop up.

  • Play and experiment with something new. (the more frivolous the better) Play, movement, and humour is one of Dan Siegel’s 7 keys to Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to grow and change. He says, in order to make mistakes without perfectionism or shame, we need to step into a place of playfulness and even humour. Being playful puts the brain in an open state for learning. All baby animals and humans learn through play, which allows mistakes to be made (and learned from) in a safe environment. I dropped my hula hoop so many times in that first class but it was a safe encouraging environment to keep going and improving. With a coach, you can play and experiment with ideas, think creatively about an area you may be stuck in, and get encouragement to get out there and do it even though you think you might fail.

  • Set a goal to learn a new skill It could be something physical like hula hooping, learning to paint water colour, or crocheting; something you have to learn how to master. Dan Siegel also says In relation to neuroplasticity “New experiences stimulate neuronal connections. If we don’t know how to do something, the cognitive patterns for it don’t exist in our brains, thus new connections must be made. In order to maintain the benefits, however, these experiences have to increase in challenge in order to create new growth”. Learning a skill that you could potentially master like hula hooping, adding on new tricks, and dancing to music with the hoop, ticks this box of improving my neuroplasticity. A coach can challenge you to set new goals and support you as you learn new life-enhancing skills, this could also be trying out new ways of being.

  • Put self-care first Use the practice of writing down 20 things that nourish you and make you feel alive/"up", on a regular basis. Most “up” activities are of two main types:

    1. Mastery: skills that we learn, and basic things we need to do to make life organised and run smoothly.

    2. Pleasure: things we enjoy doing e.g. taking a long bath, eating our favourite food, going for a walk, seeing a friend, watching a good film, listening to music, etc.

When people are very busy they tend to give up nourishing activities that seem less “urgent”. This tends to deplete energy rather than boost it. With less energy, they cut off even more nourishing activities - setting up a vicious cycle leading to exhaustion. To counteract this, it's good to choose to spend more time on “up” activities and less time on “down” ones. Hula Fit is definitely an “up” activity for me. A coach helps you to stay on track with your self-care, facilitates the generation of new ideas for “up” activities, and keeps you accountable to doing them on a regular basis.

  • Commitment There’s nothing like having an accountability partner. It’s easy to allow other people’s needs and wants to take priority over our own. Signing up for 4 x Hula Hooping classes has made me accountable to going every week to get better, even when I don’t feel like it or I feel I have more “important things” to do. Having a coach as an accountability partner helps you stay focused on your goal. Nothing will change if you don't carve out the time to experiment and play. Scheduling regular coaching sessions gives you space to focus on yourself and what matters to you so that over time you will create the changes you desire in your life.

So if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired trying to change career, improve a relationship, or start a project; counter-intuitive as it sounds, get inspired by learning something new or taking up a new hobby. Look at Jo Moseley who took up Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) aged 51 and became the first woman to stand-up paddle coast-to-coast, from Liverpool to Goole. She says she became “a warrior not a worrier”. How about BMX racing, lego building, ice skating… It may seem frivolous amongst the “to dos” but for me, going to the hula fit class gave me the inspiration to write this blog post and my coach gave me the accountability to finish it.

Do get in touch to discuss how coaching can help you ignite the spark to move forward in your life and keep you accountable.


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