Spinning poi is an ancient Maori art form that has found surprising popularity among modern trendsetters. But if you are just beginning to enter the world of poi, the intricate maneuvers and hypnotic patterns may seem a little overwhelming at first. As you start stumbling through your first spins, keep these four tips in mind to help you avoid bad habits and ensure that you develop the best technique possible.
Practicing With Expendable Equipment
Real poi, particularly LED poi, are fragile and can easily be damaged or broken by inexperienced spinners. Rather than waste your money replacing an expensive set of poi right off the bat, it may be better to improvise your own until you know what you are doing. One popular method is to pour some rice into a long sock and then tie a knot above the rice ball. This simple poi will get you through the basics, and you can then move on to more flashy poi when you feel comfortable with your skill level.
Focusing on Form
When you are in the middle of whirling poi circles, it can be hard to gauge your own form accurately. If you do not have a poi spinning expert on hand to critique your form, try recording your practices and comparing the maneuvers to those of professionals. You will also need to learn how to follow a plane, or the maximum distance the poi are allowed to extend away from you while spinning. This ensures that your patterns will be coherent, especially when doing time-lapse photos of LED poi. Try standing in front of a wall while spinning to catch yourself when your poi extend too far.
Taking a Dance Class
Although spinning poi is not technically a dance style, you can still benefit significantly from improving your coordination and rhythm. Dance classes are one of the fastest ways to develop these skills, encouraging flexibility, reflexes and fine muscle control. Of course, if poi spinning classes happen to be offered in your area, you may want to invest in a course there as well.
Choosing Your Poi Style
Once you are through the basic steps and ready to purchase real poi, such as from Light up and Juggle, you will need to consider your preferred style. LED poi, which flash through the night and can even be programmed to change colors, are the current big trend. There are also standard poi for use in the daytime, as well as fire poi and poi that emit sparks for those with a flair for the dramatic. No matter what you choose, you're sure to get many hours of enjoyment out of this fun, artistic and athletic hobby.