/// T H I S . C O M M U N I T Y . I S . M A G I C ///
April 16, 2018

I have been honest and enthusiastic about my journey through Oula and how much it means to me. I have shared posts and so many words and praises with colleagues, friends, family, and students. I have expressed joy and gratitude in this group and community. Oula has helped me become more confident, body conscious, loving, and vulnerable. It has also given me the appreciation of others.
When I started doing Oula around 20 months ago, I honest to God, would have NEVER imagined where it would take me. I thought I was just taking a dance class. It is “the funnest workout ever,” right? It’s the truth. It really is. But even a fun workout doesn’t have sustainability without something greater. And that something greater is the community of those who choose to gather in the Oula tribe.
When I started, I was so brutally lonely. I had been cut off by colleagues because I had just had another baby. I literally wasn’t invited to participate in anything social, and as embarrassing as it may be, they actually went to great lengths to hide it from me (at least from my FOMO glasses, that’s how it appeared). My relationship with my husband was strained. (Newborn and child with potential autism). I had my family, but they were overwhelmed with the situation too and it wasn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination to be in my household.
Going to Oula was my hour to be alone and out of my head. The sweat and endorphins cleared my mind. The body movement helped move my feelings. But, I was still incredibly shy which, for me, comes off as stand-off-ish. I was so out of touch with making acquaintances. I felt so awkward having conversations with random people, even though I speak with strangers and lecture in front of people everyday for a living. Being in an “exercise” environment with “exercise” people made me so incredibly insecure. I was certainly not one of them.
It took me nearly a year to go to Kali and Bernice’s class because I was terrified that Kali would disapprove of me. It also took me a year to friend her and Staci on Facebook because why on earth would “exercise” people like me?
And then, little by little, this odd barrier started breaking down. I started talking to people. Or, people started to talk to me. I went to Kali’s classes. I friended people on Facebook.
And then I went through training.
This was it. This is what changed and opened every hypothetical and metaphorical door there is. It didn’t happen over night, but the weekend of sweat, dance, love, tears, new faces, stress, pain, delight, fear, and challenges punched a hole in my heart and let the light of my soul break free.
I was alive again because I had these women in my life. For the first time ever, I didn’t feel out of place. I didn’t feel judged. I felt and feel like I want to live in the breath and arms of everyone that I have the privilege of dancing with.
Now, instead of looking forward to the actual dance (which is still important), I yearn for the time I get to spend having conversations with people. I go for the connections and the flirting during the sexy songs, and the silly selfies after classes. I eagerly send Caitlynn messages about playlists and kids and life. I feel empathy for those who have hard days and celebrate the excitement for those who celebrate too.
I participate. Fully. In every definition there is. I give myself to the classes. I allow myself to be present, in the moment. This has given me the need to explore so many new paths that life offers and I am so grateful that Oula, that this silly dance class has given me more meaning and has allowed me to be authentic and vulnerable in more areas of my life.
This community is magic.
-Aimee E., Missoula

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