OULA is about connection – Kirsten Paisley
July 16, 2019

OULA is about connection; connecting with each other, connecting with ourselves, connecting with our bodies. I recently had a breakthrough moment in one of my classes that I will remember forever.

About a month ago I was asked to participate in the Quarter 3 ‘Permission to Play’ OULA merchandise promo photo shoot. I jumped at the opportunity! I was so excited and honored to be asked to participate! The following week we got a message confirming time/place for the shoot. Included in the message was that it was going to be at a pool, and we should bring a few swimsuit options with us.

My heart sank. Fear and doubt set in. That little voice in my head was saying “nobody wants to look at pictures of you in your swimsuit. What business do YOU have to model for a fitness company’s merch?!” I spent 3 hours at Target the night before finding a suit that I felt good in. I felt so nervous – which is totally not like me! I kept trying to tell myself that I was asked to do this shoot for a reason, but my reassurance wasn’t loud enough to quiet my self-doubt that night.

I hardly slept the night before. Whether it was excitement, fear, or a combination of the two I’m not sure. I did my hair and makeup (which seemed important, yet silly for going to a pool party.) I got a few changes of clothes ready and headed to the shoot. Upon arriving I was immediately showered with the unconditional OULA love that we all know – nothing but hugs, smiles and love. It was like walking into the OULA studio. All my fears melted away instantly. We had SO MUCH FUN! We just played and laughed all day, and I could not wait to see the photos. The photos were released July 1 and they were absolutely amazing. The colors are so vibrant, and there is energy that you can feel coming from these images. I felt so proud looking at them. I felt so brave.

In my Wednesday class at the studio that week we were having a great time getting weird (shout out to my Wednesday weirdos!), and then as we brought it down at the end of class we got to Broken and Beautiful – a song I’ve danced to so many times before, but damn you, Kelly Clarkson, you got me that day! During the song all I could think about was how broken I felt before the photo shoot that day, but how beautiful those pictures turned out to be. Tears started to stream down my face as we finished the song.

I’m in my 4th year of being an instructor, and this is the first time I’ve ever had to stop in one of my classes to just cry it out for a minute. I’ve had beautiful moments of release in other instructor’s classes, but this time OULA got me right in the feels during one of MY classes, and I had no option but to ride the feelings train and share that moment with my participants. Through tears and catching my breath I told them the whole story, and then we closed class with dancing ‘Live Like a Warrior’ together. It was perfect.

I think that all of us see ourselves as being broken in one way or another – and maybe we are, but that’s what makes us SO beautiful! I’m so thankful for this community. I’m so thankful for the space that we all create together each time we show up to a class. I’m so thankful for my class on July 3 that held that space for me. OULA and the connection to this community has made me the woman I am today. It has released bravery and confidence in me that I didn’t know was there. I’m proud of the woman I am today because of this community. I am far from perfect, but I’m learning to choose to love myself and my body each day just as is.

This is my dancing machine, and I love it.

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