The movements of hula are native only to Hawaii. Once only performed by men to honor the gods, hula is now divided into two types of dance: the ancient art--Hula Kahiko--and the more modern interpretation of hula known as Hula Auana
Modern hula is the form most tourists have come to recognize, with its floral printed or grass skirts, leis and female dancers. However, Hula Kahiko is the ancient and religious-based art that has been passed down through generations. It was this ancient art of hula—the historic hula—that was suppressed as the Hawaiian culture was bent to modern times.
Today, ancient and modern hula traditions are celebrated and honored across the Hawaiian Islands. Both Hula Kahiko and Hula Auana are performed on the islands and hula continues as a venerated tradition of Hawaiian culture. The beauty of the modern Hula Auana is so revered by those who have watched the dance that it has been adopted beyond Hawaiian culture and even integrated into fitness routines.
Hula’s movements are graceful, flowing and elegant and reminiscent of the tides of the ocean that surround the islands. The beauty of the dance and the intricacies of the movements also provide dancers with a workout that matches many dance fitness routines. Movements of the pelvis and hips are integral to hula, and these movements help chisel the core.
Hula fitness may incorporate a hula hoop or the dance may serve as its own form of fitness. Channel the traditions of Hawaii with these fantastic Hula-inspired fitness routines:
Hula was never danced with a hoop, but keeping the hula hoop in rotation requires mastering hip motions similar to dancing the hula. Hooping tones and strengthens the body without the pronounced rigor of a typical fitness routine. Staying fit with a hoop doesn’t feel like work, but the body still reaps the benefits.
There are numerous fitness routines that incorporate the hula hoop. Before branching into a full-blown workout routine with the hoop, the basics of hooping must be mastered. Learning to keep the hoop in motion is simple, but can be a bit tricky for some individuals.
Beginners should always learn with a larger or heavier hoop. While a weighted hoop is easier for controlling the rotation, keep weight size to a minimum so the body doesn’t become overexerted. Typically, heavier weights are used by individuals who want more resistance in a hoop workout.
Hooping novices should learn to hoop around the waistline, where the hoop is controlled the easiest. Hip and waist movements keep the hoop in motion, and beginning workouts should focus on keeping the hoop in motion at longer intervals.
Once the basics are understood, move on to more challenging hoop workouts. Discover ways to incorporate modern dance with the hoop for a rigorous cardio boost. Christabel Zamor with World Dance New York teaches one of the best modern dance hoop fitness routines. Zamor’s instructional videos can be downloaded via multiple channels.
Looking for free hooping inspiration? Check out Deanne Love’s Hoop Dance Workout tutorial that will help burn more than 200 calories per half hour of hooping. Love is masterful with the hoop and offers video instruction to teach numerous hoop movements...all of which work the body.
Hooping for fitness goes beyond the basics of hip movements and dance. The hoop can be rotated anywhere on the body, and each crazy motion offers its own unique benefit. Challenge the body to rotate two hoops at once. Don’t focus only on the waistline, however. Try rotating around the hips and the waist at the same time. For more resistance and a heavy workout, use weighted hoops. The body should feel the burn!
Learning to hula takes time and patience, as the movements involve coordination of the hands and arms and the movements of the hips and waist.
Beyond the islands, the love and appreciation of the Hula has thrived. There are hula instructors across the country, and, in many areas, there also are Hula societies who are dedicated to serve as the hula hub for their areas. Individuals located in the Midwest who are looking for instructors or resources can visit the Association Group Members list via the Hula Association of the Midwest. The Kumu Hula Association of Northern California also serves as a resource for those interested in Hula.
For individuals who want to learn to Hula but lack a local instruction, online resources remain the best source of instruction. Find videos and numerous resources about the Hula on HulaDanceHQ.com. The site includes videos for Hula instructions for kids, videos focused on learning the dance steps and guidance on mastering the hand and arm movements.
Those looking to step up the benefits of the dance by integrating the movements into a fitness routine may gravitate towards the Island Girl Workout. The instructional video is taught by instructor Kili Kilihune and focuses on the abs and the “buns.”
Capturing the beauty and history of Hawaii, the Hula is an art form that combines alluring footwork, graceful arm and hand gestures and rhythmic hip movements for a dance that is purely paradise. Use hoops for a unique hula fitness routine or learn the art of the dance to appreciate and reap the blissful body benefits.
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