Hoopalicious' Blog

My Achilles heel… The Eagle Roll (or Back Roll)





I LOVE body rolls.. I love the chest roll, the back roll and all sorts of funky side and front rolls.  I have loved them from the first time I saw someone do one, but for years I couldn’t do (especially the back roll) a decent roll to save my life! I tried over and over again, got smacked in the head and face, got frustrated beyond belief, gave up and tried again, then gave up some more. There was one point where I even said; “well, forget it... I guess body rolls are not for me.” Then after a year or so and witnessing the beauty of a lovely roll, well executed I would try again. Every once in a while, I would have a mini break-through, then promptly lose it again. After many years of this I can finally do a decent roll most of the time and sometimes they are even pretty and dang smooth (if I do say so myself)! I have Gail and Shakti to thank for contributing their techniques and support in my loooong learning curve. But, while I am really grateful to be able to do rolls now, what I am even more grateful for is the process, and resulting growth I experienced from undertaking the learning of something that was so very difficult for me.

I have always been easily dissuaded by “failure” and would give up easily if something wasn’t immediately accessible (boy, my childhood was FUN... ha!). The idea of being “bad” at something was somehow so totally awful that I just simply wouldn’t do it… especially if someone else was around to see (hellllo EGO!). I know I am not totally alone in this but it has been down right paralyzing in my life, kept me from new experiences and from following through when things get tough. So, long-winded story, kinda short… Taking on body rolls when I was so god-awful was a HUGE break through. Especially challenging myself to practice at jams where others could watch me blunder my way through again and again. And you know what? Being awkward and struggling didn’t kill me. I didn’t lose any friends or die of shame. In fact I gained the valuable knowing that my worth is not tied in to my talent or what others think of me… If I hadn't sucked so bad at rolls and pushed myself to do them anyway, perhaps I would have been clung to others for approval a lot longer. THANK YOU body rolls! Ha!

 What I learned is that body rolls are all about trust, being present, letting go and softness. All things that had been difficult for the control freak inside me that just wanted to force,  “make it happen” and just “get to the end goal already!” With rolls, you need to be aware of form and technique but almost even more of a willingness to start right where you are and JUST. LET. GO. One of my tendencies was to be SO concerned about “getting it right” that I would lose grasp of my starting point (the present), and be overly concerned with just getting the hoop across my body. As you can imagine this caused the hoop to fly willy nilly in all sorts of crazy directions… can you say “metaphor for life” ?? Also, I was often anxious and somewhat rigid (still am at times), but for a good (or in my case decent) body roll there has to be a quality of internal relaxation, a willingness to accept exactly where you are and move from there, which is where the softness comes in. The most success I have had is in preparing as much as possible for success, but then breathing deep and just accepting that even if I don’t achieve the most amazing body roll, it really isn't the end of the world!  

So, while the back roll is still are one of the more challenging moves for me, it is also one of the most personally beneficial for me to engage in. I have discovered that not all the “best” moves are the ones you do really well, sometimes the process itself is worth far more than the end goal. Allright.. all of that to say… I have a new tutorial with some of my fave tips for body rolls!


Happy hooping!

Anah aka Hoopalicious



It’s encouraging to know that someone like you struggled with certain moves! I wonder if anyone is ever comfortable with back rolls? I remember reading a comment from Safire, another great hooper, that if she didn’t practise back rolls every day, she couldn’t do them. I find the same thing. It’s so hard to get them smooth! Thanks for the great tutorial.

April 13 2013 at 05:04 PM

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