Mentor Student Connections: Meet Erika Machuca and Bailey Zembower
Jan 05, 2021
A mentor acts as a counselor and cheerleader of an individual who is embarking on a path that the mentor has already travelled.
In the HoopYogini Online Yoga Teacher Training
(HYOTT), new enrollees are matched with a certified instructor or Master Trainer. A Master Trainer is a Mentor who has successfully supported three trainees into their certification.
Meet HoopYogini Master Trainer, Erika Machuca
and teacher in training, Bailey Zembower
for a journey into the powerful and empowering mentor student relationship and the beautiful connections developed within the HoopYogini Online Yoga Teacher Training.
How did you discover hooping?
Erika: Almost 3 years ago, I was going through a difficult time in my life and was looking for healthy outlets. Because of some previous injuries, it was hard for me to establish fitness routines without re-injuring myself. I don’t remember where I first saw hooping, but remember seeing it many, many years ago perhaps at an arts co-op or event of some kind. I remember wanting to learn, but it was a very fleeting thought. About 3 years ago, that thought sprouted back into my consciousness at a very opportune time when I was looking for ways to release distress as well as to bring back movement and fitness back into my body through low impact activity. Hooping helped restore alignment and relieve pain that were affecting me for years.
Bailey: I first discovered hooping when a friend of a friend who spins fire stayed with us years ago and showed me what was possible with a hoop. I made my own out of plumbing gear, but didn't do much with it. I started getting more into the festival scene a few years ago alongside my now best friend, who truly got me into hooping. I saw her anxiety and self-consciousness leave her as she flowed and I wanted to experience that myself. I bought my first polypro hoop in 2019 and have been hooping every day since.
What do you love about hooping and what has it meant for you?
Erika: Hooping is the one creative project that I’ve been able to stick with – it’s a part of me. It’s fun, joyous, but challenges me ALL the time. There have been many times that I feel stagnant or hit a plateau, but then I hear a song, scroll Instagram to come across a 1-minute tutorial, or feel like dancing out some of my frustrations – all have compelled me to reach for a hoop. Though hooping can be frustrating especially when trying to nail down a trick, I so very, very rarely go there because the rest of it is so gratifying.
Speaking of scrolling watching vids of some inspiring, talented, kick-ass hoopers, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible talent out there and how so many of these hoopers/movement artists continue to inspire and share their skills through Instagram, YouTube, etc. to a whole community. I thank them for helping me and growing a collective movement, literally!
I love that hooping integrates all the four elements – earth, water, air, fire – and when you spin it out, through spiralic movement, dance, and expression, it feels like the concentration of this energy expands my prayers, wishes, and intention.
Bailey: I find myself when lost in moments of flow. Hooping has transformed my relationship with my body, given me more confidence than I ever felt possible, and ignited a passion for learning and trying new things with my hoop. I love that hooping brings out the most authentic version of me. Hooping has helped me manage my pain and moved me through difficult times.
What do you love about HoopYogini™?
About a year before I joined the HoopYogini program
and its teachings, from the moment I started playing my first dance hoop, I knew and could feel there was a relationship between meditation, spiralic movement, and my connection to Spirit. While learning to hoop, I turned to a lot of YouTube tutorials and started to use the hoop as a stretching tool. Also having previously been a different yoga program, I had been exposed to yoga teaching philosophy, so when I discovered HoopYogini training, I was so amazed and pleased to discover that all of this came together so seamlessly. I have my personal meditation practice, but the awareness and physical embodiment of experiencing the duality of Centered Pose and The Hoop and how it represents my life thoughts, and energy as I stay in the center is a takeaway that I plan to take with me each and every day.
Bailey: HoopYogini is a truly liberating practice. I was first attracted to HoopYogini as my inner yoga teacher was curious what the two looked like together. I soon discovered it is so much more than just hooping or yoga, and has brought awareness to wounds that need healing and insight to my practice. HoopYogini is an amazing tool for mitigating pain and grounding myself.
What has been a highlight of your relationship with your HoopYogini™ mentor/mentee?
Erika: I just love Bailey for who she is and ALL that she is. The highlight for me is an encapsulation of so many moments in viewing Bailey's journey to let us all be witness to the various things that she holds and allows us to partake in through her super cute social media presence. The culmination of her Spinal Awakening Series in the Hoop Well gave me so many feels. I was wow'ed by her essence and presence and thought to myself, "Wow, there's so much I can learn from this beautiful individual!" I'm honored to be in community with Bailey.
What have you learned from this relationship?
Erika: I have learned that HoopYogini is an awesome container to meet the best of the best. Bailey is a joy, a true teacher with wisdom we can all learn from and I look forward to her teachings in what she puts out into the world. And also, every single HoopYogini teacher or trainee I have come in contact with is an absolutely beautiful, divine being and I feel so fortunate to be part of this bomb, fly-ass community. This cannot be a coincidence, that so many beautiful individuals, all unique with their own flair, landed in the same place in a space that holds the hoop, yoga, and mindfulness.
How has being a mentor made you a better hooper and teacher?
Erika: I've been more consistent with my HoopYogini practice and incorporated it into my hooping routine every single time.
What has been a highlight of your relationship with your HoopYogini™ mentor?
Bailey: The whole experience has been a highlight, but the thing that brought the biggest smile to my face was receiving a festive "happy SAS" video from Erika the day of my SAS Certification and having her present as I went live with the practice. I believed that she believed in me, which made me believe in me, too.
What have you learned from this relationship?
Bailey: I have learned that no matter how long a person has been in your life, how far away they are, or whether or not you have even met them, they can become a significant support in your journey. Erika's relentless support of me and my goals - even outside of HoopYogini - has inspired me to hopefully also be a HoopYogini mentor one day and at the very least seek out a mentorship position in my community.
How has having a mentor helped you complete your certification journey?
Bailey: Having Erika as a mentor has helped to remind me that this community has a space for us all - and an Erika for us all - someone to motivate you, remind you not to take yourself too seriously, and to have fun and grow at all stages of the process. Having a mentor has kept me accountable and given me another amazing soul to look up to in HoopYogini.
Learn more about the HoopYogini Online Yoga Teacher Training, a lifestyle and leadership program that teaches you how to live from your center, teach from your core and guide transformative movement meditation experiences with the hoop as your new and favorite yoga prop.