I've always been a Hula Hoop enthusiast. While hooping is something that many have toyed around with as children and never again, Hula Hooping has always been a staple hobby of mine. I've got so many memories of hooping for 30 - 40 minutes straight, wondering what the world record for longest hula hooping marathon is (apparently it's 74 hours and 54 minutes.)
These past few years, I've been keeping my hoop game alive by working it into my exercise routine: just some hoop dancing, hooping on one leg, hooping while squatting - you know, weird stuff like that. I then started looking for others who took this hoop business seriously - it was slim pickings. I found some videos online which were very technical and tricky to follow. It also doesn't help that you're pretty limited in terms of movement when hooping indoors.
Last year I was at Mont Tremblant during the Wanderlust festival and dropped in on a hoop workshop annnd... it sucked. There was a prayer to the sun gods at the beginning and lots of wishy washy crap and well - it just wasn't me. At this point, I figured it wasn't something anyone took seriously on a technical level, and I just continued hooping all by my lonesome.
Fast forward a year and I was at C's bridal shower. One of the games was a hula hoop-off and it was down to C and me - and that's how I found my first fellow hooper IRL. A few months later, she sent me a link to a studio in Montreal that has Hula Hoop classes and well - obviously we both signed up.
Studios Vert Prana is located upstairs of the Lululemon store on St-Denis near the Marie-Anne intersection. They offer lots of Yoga classes as well as this glorious Hula Hoop program I'm all over. The studio is small and the class sizes are small, but the vibe is extremely intimate and comfortable.
The first course I took was called Initiation and it was all about the basics like neck, leg and arm hooping, as well as simple transitions between them all. The $60 course consisted of 4 sessions, once a week every Thursday evening, lasting for an hour and 15 minutes each. I really enjoyed it: I picked up all the tricks quickly, the instructor was incredibly kind, patient and helpful and obviously this ignited an even stronger desire to take my hooping to the next level. I registered for 2 more courses upon completion and am already thinking of what's next.
Every Thursday feels like a "night out" for me where I get to do something fun and get active in an unconventional way. I definitely recommend these classes for anyone looking to try something new and get some exercise in weekly. Not only do you pull a good sweat by the end of it, it's also great for improving your coordination and balance. Go alone or grab a buddy and get registered - it's liberating, a solid workout and makes you feel like a kid again. Most classes are offered at the studio, though some sessions are held at Parc Lafontaine for some good ol' outdoor hooping. All are very reasonably priced and If you're having some reservations about signing up, you can also get a taste of it by attending one of their Hoop Jams - though I honestly can't imagine anyone disliking this place.
One last thing I should mention... You can also get a custom hoop made while you're there. And if you like colourful and sparkly things like I most certainly do, you will be tempted! These aren't the garbage hoops you see at Dollarama or Wal-Mart, so be prepared to plunk down $30 - $60 on a high-quality (though ever-so-pretty) hoop. You've been warned!
Studios Vert Prana
4365 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC
Within walking distance of métro Mont-Royal or there is also lots of meter or free parking available on the street.
Visit them online at www.vertprana.com