Aerial hoop, also known as aerial lyra, can be an intimidating apparatus for beginners, since many moves focus on balancing your body weight on the hoop. This sensation can feel shaky, unsteady and a little scary if you aren’t accustomed to it! Thankfully, the fear that accompanies balancing on the hoop is something that will slowly fade away with time and plenty of practice. After all, what better way to improve your balance than by putting it to the test with new, challenging poses? These four beginner hoop balances will help you find your center of gravity and steadily increase your confidence on the lyra with each and every practice.
Man in the moon is one of the very first poses most of us learn on the lyra and that’s because it gives you all the sensations of balancing on the hoop while still being relatively secure. For this move, shift your body so that one shoulder blade is pressed against the side of the hoop and bring your feet to the opposite side. You should feel your body pressed against the hoop from your shoulder down to the base of your spine. Next, slowly walk your feet up the side of the hoop while using gentle pressure to keep you in place. You can completely release your hands here and play with the feeling of being perfectly balanced in the hoop.
This pose gives you an added challenge and will deeply engage your core muscles to keep you balanced. Beginning in your traditional man in the moon, bring your hands so that one is holding above your head and the other is grabbing the hoop just above your lower back. Slowly bring your legs away from the hoop in a straddle position as far as you comfortably can. This may feel shaky at first, but it’s a great way to experiment with balancing your body weight from the center.
Many balance exercise focus on leaning backwards, but this pose will help you use your upper back muscles to keep yourself upright while leaning forward. To get into this pose, you will need to enter the hoop by shooting your legs up through the middle and pulling your body up until you are balanced on your hip bones. You can keep your hands on either side of the hoop for stability or experiment with removing one hand at a time while using your back to stay balanced.
This versatile exercise has plenty of variations that can challenge your stability in different ways. Begin by sitting in the middle of the hoop and leaning backwards until the bar reaches your lower back. From here, bring your legs out to a straddle position against the hoop and release your hands all the way down. You can stay here or slowly bring one leg down at a time while working to find your balance point.
Blog images by Mary Jo Gruber
Cover image by @bOnker.s
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