How to spot if you are cheating:
2. If your upper body sways while you hula hoop your hips. Especially if your shoulder area gets pushed backwards from the incoming energy. Any instability in the upper body shows a lack of structure.
question: relax structure where upper, middle and lower move somewhat independently or connected? if you are connected, wouldn't moving your hips also moving everything else? in the same vein as your hand connect to your hara, and your hara moves wouldn't your hand moves as well? or am missing the point somewhere which is very likely?
i would add squatting up and down to make sure you don't brace the legs or circling the knees would work too or do both.