Hoopswhirled was founded in 2007, by artist, dancer and movement enthusiast, Diana Defries. Diana started dancing almost as soon as she could walk, learning various forms of dance including ballet, tap and modern styles. Later moving on to ice skating, martial arts, and weight training to improve physical strength. Weight training led to the world of competitive bodybuilding which she was involved with for 16 years, both as a competitor and a judge.
In 1996, she left the sport, but continued weight training until Spring 2002 when a 10kg weight fell on her foot during a gym workout. In a split second, everything changed and she could barely walk. Long-forgotten training injuries came back to haunt her. The constant pain led to inactivity and weight gain and she began to believe she would never recover.
In May 2006, an ad for a hula hoop piqued her curiosity.
Clicking through to find out more, a whole new world of possibilities opened up. Especially being able to exercise again (basic hooping involves no impact so is kind to foot, knee and back problems). Hoping this was the answer she’d been searching for, she ordered a hoop (from America). When it was delivered, she had a go immediately… and realised she had no clue about hooping! After less than five minutes of trying (and failing) to keep that hoop spinning, she had to lie down – she’d lost so much fitness!
It took three weeks of short daily practice sessions before she could spin her hoop consistently. There weren’t any hoop instruction videos online in early 2006, so learning was a slow and slightly frustrating process of trial and error.
All the while, she kept researching. One of those searches provided details about Hoopgirl (aka Christabel Zamor), who was offering a teacher training course in LA, in November 2006.
Diana had no idea how she was going to get there! Nevertheless, in spite of her injuries and slow recovery, and fully aware that she was far from ready to teach, she made up her mind to do the training. During that time, her husband was pleased that she was feeling brighter as well as getting fitter. Keen to help, he organised a holiday trip to LA so she could train with Christabel. Diana will always be grateful for his amazing support and kindness.
In November 2006, she attended the Hoopgirl teacher training, which was three intense and challenging days which kickstarted her journey as a teacher which continues today.
Inspired by Hoopgirl’s philosophy and generous spirit, Diana began a journey of personal development, imbued with a sense of curiosity about what might be possible. A feeling which permeated the early days of Hoopswhirled…
while Diana was still “figuring things out”!
Since then, there have been many hoop and other classes, lots more training courses, an array of fitness qualifications and considerable amount of exploration and development.
Hooping offers many useful metaphors for living better, being happier and healing.
Even though she no longer teaches hooping, Diana is grateful that she could share hooping – which brought her so much joy – with so many people.
Diana’s focus has now shifted away from hooping (with love and gratitude for everything) in order to explore what might be possible, in a deeper way.
She believes we must each find our own path and the mishap that injured her foot has become a metaphor for changing direction in life.
Ultimately, it seems there’s no end to ‘figuring things out’.