HoopYogini™ Practitioner Spotlight: Christel Lautel of Hoop de Mars, France
Christel, Founder of Hoop de Mars, shares that hula hooping helped to change her body and heal depression
When did you begin Hooping?
Christel: I began hooping 3 summer solstices ago, at a day party in Los Angeles.
Tell us a bit of your hoop story. How has HoopYogini™ changed the way you hoop?
Christel: I, like almost every child, has picked up a hula hoop at one time or another in their lifetime. However, most of us put it down when we come of age; along with our dolls and other toys never to be thought of again. Fast forward from my childhood to my 29th year of life, where I found myself grappling with severe depression I was experiencing because of the loss of a job and an avalanche of other personal troubles in the same week. Needless to say the wind had been completely knocked out of my proverbial sails! For the first time I found myself grappling with something I had never experienced, and was not sure of the right way to help myself heal (I have never been a fan of western medicine). After about two months of moping around the house, I decided to attend the “Shade a Day Party” event at Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley; to celebrate the summer solstice with some friends and try to cheer myself up a bit. While I was at the park, I ran into a friend of mine named Corina. She along with some of my friends had recently gotten into the Burning Man scene, and developed a passion for hooping and flow arts in general. When I saw her that day, she had a bunch of hula hoops in tow. I had seen girls hooping at outdoor events many times before, but never thought I could or should do that! To me they looked like modern day fairies disguised as hippies or Burners, and I considered myself a solo dancer; a slave to the groove as it were. However the moment I saw Corina, she thrusts a hoop in my hand and says, “Here, you look like you need one of these today”. To which I reply “I haven’t used one of these since I was like 8 or 9 years old”. She looks at me smiles and says “You will today”.
While out there hooping something happened. I felt something I hadn’t felt in I couldn’t remember when, it was as if it was a completely new sensation in itself; yet I knew I had felt it before. It was that beautiful carefree feeling of my childhood, and at that moment all the pressing issues of my life melted away. Like snow on the first warm day of spring, and in that moment I knew that not only was hooping for me, but it would be something I would be doing for the rest of my life. They next day I bought 2 Toys R Us hoops, and went straight back to the park by my house. I found myself spending 3-4 hours at a time playing, and as the months passed on not only did I completely come back from the depression, my body changed in ways I never dreamed possible. Through hooping, I have gained a sense of self that I never knew possible. I rediscovered myself AND my body, became more fit than I have ever been, and the depression was gone. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to parlay my passion for hooping into being able to work for myself teaching others the joy of hooping. Allowing me to not only invest my time into building something positive for me and my family; but also giving me the opportunity to give back to my community via my non-profits Hoop de Mars & Les Cerceaux de L’Espoir. “Sharing with people the joy I found in a simple piece of plastic shaped in the form of a circle.”
What is something that you discovered inside of your hoop that surprised you?
Christel: Myself!! Inside my hoop I discovered the best way for me to combat the stress of the outside world, a space just for me to focus on you guessed it: me, what my true goals in life are, the ability to gain clear focus on how to move forward, and a feeling of immense joy that I feel I need to share with the people.
What does HoopYogini™ mean to you?
Christel: HoopYogini™ is a method of practice that helps bring my mind, body, and spirit into a centered connected focus, that I can take into my day, and sets the tone for my hoop practice.
How does the HoopYogini™ experience differ from other disciplines you have trained with?
Christel: HoopYogini™ is the only Yogic practice that truly resonated with me. The feeling of calm and peace that I felt after the very first practice is something that I had never experienced before! Not only was it the yogic practice, but it was also a wonderfully challenging workout.
What do you love about your HoopYogini™ Practice?
Christel: Honestly I love HoopYogini™ because it is straight forward! It is everything I was searching for in a Yogic practice minus the dogma. I thought it was a wonderful way for someone like me, who was not so keen on other forms of yoga or the “yoga scene”, to be able to enjoy and experience the benefits of yoga. HoopYogini™ changed my mind about what a yogic practice was “supposed to look like”, and gave me something I felt was more accessible and applicable to my daily life. I love that it is effective; this is something one may notice after just one practice. It is a challenging workout and an excellent tool to use as I say “to get your mind right”.
Tell us about something that surprised you, when you first experienced HoopYogini™?
Christel: The sense of calm, peace, and yes happiness I felt immediately after the practice I did with my husband. After we finished, over dinner, even my husband had to mention “Wow you are in an extremely good mood, it must be the HoopYogini™”. I was literally on Cloud 9 that evening. For me that cinched it. After that night, HoopYogini™ has been a staple in my fitness regimen.
How have your body, your life or your relationships changed since you started Hooping and since you started your HoopYogini™ practice?
Christel: The thing I noticed most since I began my practice is a shift in the way I deal with things and people in general. I am more patient and able to deal with stressful situations with ease.
What would you share with a novice/newbie in order to help them get the most out of the practice?
Christel: Come to it with an open mind, stay consistent with your practice, and try to really stay in the moment while you are in your practice.
What parts of your body have you found a deeper connection to? How has this connection supported you?
Christel: I have found a greater range of motion in my hips and spine, found a new strength in my legs and core, not to mention I gained a more toned set of glutes (that “Goddess Pose” is something else!). My arms have more definition and grace in movement, my posture has improved greatly as well. Part of the reason I began the practice was to improve my posture and give some much needed TLC to my spine. That’s definitely something I would have never experienced had I not implemented HoopYogini™ into my daily practice.
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