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How Supriya Srivastav changed her life with a hula hoop

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Supriya healed from a bad break-up, overcame depression and made her body fit with the round toy

Supriya Srivastav does what she loves. She runs a social media consulting firm, Purple Filter. She teaches kids, women and a few men how to twirl their waist with a hula hoop. Through social media, she helps a few people suffering from depression.

Life, she says, is content. But it wasn’t until a few months ago.

She had a bad breakup in 2017. Then, last February, her “dadu” (grandfather), who was her “biggest support system”, passed away.

“I could not move on from it. I just stopped functioning,” she says. She knew it was the onset of depression. Because she has suffered it before, when she was 24, in 2011.

“I was sexually harassed at my workplace. I knew there was something wrong about the whole thing. But at that point, I thought I must have done something wrong, too. I was naive,” she says.

Supriya, from Bengaluru, went to Delhi to stay with her parents for a while. For six months, she was on antidepressants. “It was a difficult time for my parents, too, to see me taking pills every day.”

She gradually overcame it, returned to Bengaluru and focussed on her career. But following a job-switch in 2015 (which, in hindsight, was a bad idea), a breakup and a death of the person she loved the most, Supriya was sinking into depression again.

“This time, I was determined not to take pills. Of course, there is nothing wrong with it. But I felt I could do without them,” she says.

Watching her from the corner of her room, when she used to lie idle on her bed, was her new “companion”: hula hoop.

Going in circles

Supriya’s first encounter with a hula hoop was happenchance. She was holidaying in Goa, when she heard a Russian tourist say, “Indians are boring, they won’t do this”, pointing at a dark green hula hoop on a table.

“I was slightly intoxicated. And, I wanted to disprove her,” Supriya laughs. She twirled the hoop with her waist for two-three minutes. “It was for a short time but I liked what I did. I was feeling like a child again.”

After returning from vacation, she ordered a hoop online. “I used to hoop for five minutes. Then, it became half an hour. Now I can hoop with my hair bun,” she says.

Hooping, she says, is addictive, for it exercises the whole body and lets you have fun. “You might be embarrassed to rotate your hip with a big circle for the first time. But once you try it on, you’d want to do it more.”

Hula hoop helped Supriya get fit. “I used to stress-eat a lot. I was gaining more fat. I was reluctant to pose for photos.” She wanted to be fit but was averse to gyms. So, this was an added motivation to hoop. “I now love the way I look.”

Among her students -- about 40 of them -- is a postpartum mother, trying to lose weight. “When she hooped for the first time, she had pains. She took a break but she came back, saying she really enjoyed it.”

Hula hooping, despite being a fad in several places in the west, isn’t a big deal in India, yet. Supriya’s next project, hence, is to popularise the activity. “There are a few popular hula hoopers in India. They do some spectacular tricks, which, for a beginner, might look tough. But anyone, literally, can do it. This is the message I want to promote. I want others also to enjoy something that changed my life.”

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 7:30:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/how-supriya-srivastav-changed-her-life-with-a-hula-hoop/article27059403.ece

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