///W E . H E L P . E A C H . O T H E R . G R O W///
June 2, 2018

Sara is a trainee that attended our March Training in Missoula. She received one of our training scholarships, funded by the donations of Oula Studio clients in Missoula (for more info about these scholarships, click here.) Following the weekend, we asked her to tell us about her experience. Thanks Sara, for taking the time to write about your experience in such a beautiful way! We really appreciate the chance to learn more about our trainings through the eyes of those participating!
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///A B O U T . M E ///
My name is Sara. I am a junior at University of Alaska Anchorage and I am currently working on my bachelor’s in health sciences with a minor in athletic training. After I graduate, I plan on attending grad school to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. I’ve always been pretty active and was looking for something to keep active after I graduated high school. That’s when I found OULA (over 2 years ago) and I’ve been doing it ever since.
///O N . F I N D I N G . O U L A///
I took 9 years of dance lessons when I was younger, but quit when I was 12 when I move to Alaska. In high school, I was always really active, but after I graduated, I struggled to find an activity I enjoyed and was a good work out. Then I got a gym membership with the only gym in Alaska that offered OULA (which I didn’t know when I signed up, but I’m glad it worked out perfectly). I had just finished playing in competitive sports and from my dance and cheer background, I caught onto the moves quickly. The friendly environment and people was what kept me coming back. I wanted to know all the moves and feel like I was good at something again so that was also a factor. But during one class, my instructor said, “feel that emotion, can you feel it?” during a song, and something changed from that day on. After about five or six months of doing OULA, I understood what it was about. I realized what it was like to become vulnerable and challenge myself to all these feelings I didn’t think I could feel or I was allowed to feel. Now the reason I keep coming back for OULA is because of how it makes me feel. I let in the emotion of one song and it opened up something I could have never imagined.
///W H Y . B E C O M E . A N . I N S T R U C T O R ?///
A little after I had the realization of what OULA really is, I started dancing for myself in whatever way I needed, not to get the moves down perfectly. My instructor noticed quickly and brought up the idea of attending an OULA training. At first, I thought, “there’s no way I can do that.” A few months later, my instructor brought up the idea again and this was around the time I was looking at grad schools out of state. I will likely move to Texas to be closer to family and one of my first thoughts was, “I can’t move to a state that doesn’t have OULA” so when my instructor brought up the idea of the training again, I decided I could bring OULA with me and I could have a job I love throughout grad school.
///M Y . T R A I N I N G . E X P E R I E N C E///
My favorite part of the training weekend was when everyone took turns teaching their song. It seemed like every person got a song that was meaningful for them to teach. I’ve been following an instructor for over 2 years in every OULA class I’ve gone to. Being in front of everyone and leading them through the song and getting them to connect with the song emotionally was a surreal experience, one that made me look forward to becoming a certified instructor.
I learned so much about myself going through this training. There were a lot of things I’ve learned by being in my hometown OULA class, like it’s okay to allow yourself to feel every emotion and it’s okay to go to whatever place you need when a song is on. During the training, these lessons were magnified. There is an amazing OULA community in Alaska. I learned more so in Missoula that OULA attracts the most pure, kind, and supportive people around. Everyone who needs OULA in their life will find it sooner or later and add to this beautiful OULA community. Another thing I learned is that you are like the people you surround yourself with. I look around an OULA class and love seeing the people who are there. I learned that I am becoming more like the beautiful souls in this class each time we dance together. We help each other grow and better ourselves. They are more supportive than any other group I have been a part of. I can honestly say I have never felt so loved as I do when I walk into an OULA class.
The most valuable moment from this training was right after I finished teaching my song. At that moment, I felt that I have what it takes to become a certified OULA instructor. I second guess myself all the way until that moment. After I finished, a couple of my fellow trainees came and hugged me and congratulated me on teaching my song. While I was teaching my song, I felt like I had finally found where I belong. As soon as I walked into my first OULA class, I felt like I belonged there, but teaching at the front of the room was a different sense of belonging.
Since I have working on this testimonial for a while, a few months have already passed and I still have about a month until the deadline to turn in my certification video. After the training, I was looking forward to finding my own voice and style while I instruct my own class. I looked forward to teaching a few songs to my friends and testing out what styles work for me and feel natural. The thing I look forward to most is filming my certification video because I plan on inviting my 4 biggest supporters in my AK OULA community, including my instructor and friend, Annie. I taught a song in class last week and I came in early to practice it before most people showed up. Annie and my three other friends were there and quietly watched me as I went over the moves for the song to ensure I knew what I was doing. I could see their expressions in the mirror and it hard to not smile when I saw how excited and proud they were of me. After I taught the song to everyone in class, they were congratulating me and complimenting and what they liked about my style of instructing, I was glowing for the rest of the day thinking about how much they care and how proud they all were. I can only imagine how they will be when I tape my hour-long certification video.
///F O R . F U T U R E . T R A I N E E S///
For anyone who is deciding whether or not to attend a training, I would tell them to do it. This training was one of the best experiences of my life. I already loved OULA before attending, but the training gave it an even deeper meaning. I am so grateful for every woman I met at the training. Everyone was very accepting and genuinely cared about how I was feeling and what I said. I felt like a completely different person after attending the training. I could still feel the love from everyone a week after attending the training. I would 100% recommend this training to every single person I know.
To other future trainees, go in with an open heart and open mind and you will truly be amazed in how life changing this training is. It has the best people, mentors, and lessons to learn. Just a little secret, everyone is scared to teach their song, but teaching your song is the most amazing part. Nothing compares to teaching that first song and getting incredible feedback from the mentors. Trust in the people running the training and the people attending it, there is so much to gain when you walk in with an open heart. I would do just about anything to return to my OULA training and experience it all over again. Soak in every moment of the OULA training because an OULA studio is honestly more magical than Disney World.