Kali Lindner of OULA Fitness talks about why it is now more important than ever to bring what makes us human to the work that we do. She shares how a tragedy in her personal life helped shift OULA from a “fun dance workout” to a transformational and healing space that many have described as life changing. Since its start in 2011, OULA has spread across the United States and six countries with the goal of supporting women wherever they are on their journey.
OULA and Mental Health
“”From November 2016 – January 2018, Dr. Tracy Hellem and colleagues conducted a study that evaluated OULA as an intervention for women with moderate levels of depression. The women attended OULA at least once per week for 12 weeks, and then abstained from OULA for one week. Depression and anxiety severity were measured weekly using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and Beck Anxiety Index (BAI), respectively.
Further, happiness was measured each week using Subjective Happiness Scores (SHS). The researchers found that over the course of the 26 weeks there was a statistically significant reduction in HAM-D scores (p < .0001) and BAI score (p < .0001) and an increase in SHS scores (p < .0001), see charts above. After controlling for baseline anxiety and frequency of attending OULA, the change in HAM-D and BAI scores remained significant, but not for SHS scores. Moreover, when women abstained from OULA after the completion of the 12 weeks, they noted an increase in HAM-D and BAI scores, see week 13 charts above. While randomized controlled studies of OULA are warranted, these preliminary findings are promising.
For more information –> Depression Study Findings
Through Oula I've yelled lyrics until I believed them. I've moved in ways that released years of ugly stuck in my body. I've reframed my thoughts. I've laughed, cried, been angry, felt sexy, felt confident; and I've been allowed by the wonderful people I dance with to have all of those feelings and know that I am safe to express it all. I'VE LEARNED TO LOVE MYSELF.
I came from a background where I was never "good enough" to be into fitness. OULA changed my perspective on how we use our bodies as instruments for our souls, rather than just using them as tools for gains.
I just want to thank you Kali for listening to your heart, to the tug telling you to create this format. It came at such a pivotal time in humanity and it is allowing and giving so many of us the opportunity to create more space for our hearts. I feel blessed to be a part of it.
I never felt it was OK to look sexy or feel sexy…until Oula. What you created changed my life, you have changed my family’s life. Oula woke up that sleeping girl, my authentic self who was scared to shed her protective armor. For once in my life I can cry, hug, wear yoga pants to Target and feel sexy, confident and powerful.
Everything I was unknowingly holding in, all the worries, all the ache, exploded. It felt like I was the only person in the room... I was gasping, trying to breathe to dance more than cry, to push all the yuck I didn't even know I was holding inside my mind and heart out. Damn do I feel better!
I will, for the rest of my life, be grateful for Oula and the unique way that it has matured my sense of self, my confidence, my emotional well-being, and of course how I feel like a badass after each class.