Kids' toy key tool in Richland woman's unique fitness program

Deborah Deasy
| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:04 p.m.

Gyrating Diane Pastva, a Richland mother of four grown children, routinely turns heads with her $400-plus, LED-equipped dance partner.

Last month, Pastva danced in the dark at the Altar Bar in the Strip District with her pricey and programmable light-up hula hoop.

“Everybody is kind of amazed by it,” said Chuck Pastva, who gave the gizmo to his wife for Christmas.

It's among the many hula hoops that Pastva uses as Western Pennsylvania's only certified and licensed Hoopnotica instructor.

“It's not something you make a living at. It's a hobby,” said Diane Pastva. “I'm a retired registered nurse. I do this for fun.”

For $25 an hour, Pastva teaches groups and individuals how to rock and roll one's torso for fitness, and how to keep a hoop twirling around one's armpits to knees, plus, exercises that incorporate holding a hula hoop away from one's body.

“It's a full body workout,” Pastva said. “You can burn 400 to 600 calories an hour.”

“Hooping” tightens abdominal muscles and exercises muscles in the buttocks, thighs and calves, according to Pastva.

“It's supposed to straighten your spine, and increase your flexibility ... It's also good for your balance, and your hand-eye coordination,” she said.

“It's a stress reliever. There are people who say this has changed their life.”

A number of Hoopnotica devotees also report losing a lot of weight, said Pastva.

Gabrielle Reading, an Art Institute of Chicago graduate, founded the Venice, Calif.-based Hoopnotica exercise program in 2006.

“People don't know about it,” said Pastva, who has taught several Hoopnotica classes at the Northern Tier Regional Library in Richland.

Hoopnotica fitness and dance programs are approved by the American Council on Exercise and Aerobics & Fitness Association of America.

Pastva, a self-taught Hoopnotica practitioner, originally saw a Hoopnotica ad in a magazine and ordered some instructional videos.

Last year, Pastva attended a certification program in Florida that included a written test and demonstration of her teaching ability.

Pastva now is certified to teach Hoopnotica Fit, and two levels of Hoopnotica Dance classes.

She also carries liability insurance.

As a Hoopnotica instructor, Pastva uses hula hoops of assorted sizes and weights.

“The beginner hoops are heavier and larger in size,” she said. “The little hoops are very hard to use. That's why a lot of people cannot ‘hoop' with a child's hoop.”

As girl growing up in the 1960s, Pasta used one of the plastic Hula Hoops introduced by the Wham-O toy company in 1958.

“They were $1.98 when they came out,” Pastva said.

Pastva also sells $25 hoops that she makes with irrigation hose wrapped in colorful tape.

“The Egyptians had hoops,” she said. “They were made of dried grape leave vines.”

To schedule a group Hoopnotica class or individual Hoopnotica instruction with Pastva, call 412-596-9633.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

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