Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Passion is Not a Passing Fad.

Recently,  I have been struggling with teaching some of my hoop students. When I have classes full of students who are into hooping only as the latest exercise fad I have a hard time coming up with things to keep them interested and frankly, if someone is taking nothing out of the process other than "this will make me thinner" I have a hard time feeling motivated to teach them.

I don't want to feel like a spokesperson for
some silly fad. Sorry, Suzanne.
Of course, the hoop is great for weight loss and I think it's fabulous when folks use it as a tool to get into better shape. But, in the context that I teach these people are in very good to phenomenal shape and are simply trying any little thing to get an edge on where they are now. I can't stand it. I left the part of me that was obsessed with appearance far in the past. It was an unsatisfying and hollow value system that I am glad to have grown out of. I know I am supposed to be there for my students - but when folks obviously don't care about practicing nor do they take the time to learn the skills needed to progress, it's hard to be there. 

I see classes as a contract. The relationship won't work unless both parties are on board and ready to work. I understand that some folks don't have the time to practice at home, and I appreciate when they use the class as practice time. When they are there just to chat and get some cardio in for the hour, I question why they attend this class and not hit the gym for an hour.

I have a considerable amount of guilt because of this view. Why can't I show them how much more there is to get out of hooping? Why can't I motivate them? Isn't that my job as a teacher? What more can I be doing? I think the difficultly arises from how my view on hooping has changed recently.

The way I feel about hooping has always been this strange liminal zone. It is one of the most important things in my life, yet, I am not spiritual and I am not spiritual about it. I don't care if others feel that way, I simply don't relate. When most 'hard core' hoopers seem to be somewhat spiritual about the practice, it can be easy to feel detached.

But, of course, it is more than a hobby or exercise tool. So, I don't fit in with the hoop dabblers, either. Truth be told, the way I feel about hooping is this: it is the only thing that makes me feel normal.

 Not feeling like this everyday was
something I once thought was impossible
I have struggled with crippling anxiety issues ever since I can remember and somehow, the hoop makes those feelings disappear. I love to move. I love to create and explore. When I hoop I do all those things. My head finally turns off and I can simply feel good. I put my heart into my practice, and when I am standing in front of a room of people who see my passion as a passing fad to help them lose a few I get so frustrated and sad. It's like I have become someone who perpetuates the values that I worked so hard to get away from.

Honestly, I am sure this is mostly my issue. If people want to take a fitness class, who am I to stop them? I think I may just need to revamp the way I promote hooping. I want people to feel the peace and exhilaration of self acceptance while they are in the hoop. Building confidence and joy with the self is the greatest gift that the hoop has given to me and  I want to give it to others.

Change is good and important. But I don't want people to bash themselves over the head trying to change themselves. I think it's important to accept who you are right now, and from there, change can come in the form of growth. 

How can I explain this growth to students? Of course,  not everyone will understand nor will they want to. I want to pass along the gifts that hooping has brought to me, as cheesy and New Age as it sounds. I have absolutely no clue how I will do this - but, I know it will come. I guess I am simply growing myself, as a hooper and as a teacher. I have new goals and now, and with time, there will come a way to make it happen.


Shannon said...

I started hooping to lose weight. I've never been to a hoop-cise class. I'm assuming that hoop-cise classes would be more waist hooping with stuff like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5os3MxFwW8&feature=related.

I don't know why I hoop. I don't know what it makes me feel. I don't know why I've moved past lose weight thing.

You can't force people to feel the passion. That's why all friends aren't straight up hoopers like me but they at least will waist hoop with me. Even the one that went to the class with me, doesn't really care as much as I do about it. I guess the hoop has to find you first.

KymSpins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
- C. said...

The thing to remember is that it is NOT your responsibility to give self acceptance to anyone (except yourself, obv).

You offer your skill and passion, people will interpret that as they choose. You cannot guide the interpretation part, but that doesn't make you a bad teacher, it's just how it goes!

Besides, I have found one of the most powerful teaching techniques is just to lead by example: just keep putting your style out there, don't worry about "guiding" - it will resonate with more people than you think :)

KymSpins said...

Hmmm very true. Yes, I think that's my biggest "problem" is trying to get people to feel the way I do (which is...an impossible goal) simply because it has changed my life so much for the better. Le sigh. Can't be forced! Being yourself is always the answer, haha.

KymSpins said...

@Shannon: I think you are right. The hoop either grabs you are it doesn't. Most of my buddies aren't hoop heads either. These are folks who walk in and seem to be asking for something I don't understand and can't give. Ya know? I leave feeling so frustrated and confused.

Shekinah said...


Janelle said...

Shannon has it right. Hooping isn't a tool, it's a friend that meets you along your way and helps you along. It came at exactly the right time for me. The same will happen for other people, and I know this.