'I am everything' is not a modest affirmation. Nope. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s… well... exhausting. I had to work late… then I needed to make dinner for my family… then I had to take the dogs out. Now you’re telling me I have to be EVERYTHING? It’s a Tuesday night, for goodness sake! Sometimes it’s easier to put limits on ourselves so we can handle life one chunk at a time.
But what if we didn’t have to be everything all by ourselves?
Let me get a bit college sociology class on you and introduce Emile Durkheim’s idea of “collective effervescence.” It’s the shared energy and unity people feel when a group of people do something powerful together. For example, I recently attended Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. My experience of singing along with 70,000 other people made it a positively spiritual experience, pushing me beyond my own walls into something bigger.
Thankfully, we don’t always have to battle with Ticketmaster to experience collective effervescence. For me, it happens every week when I walk into my Sunday Oula class. For an hour, that group of people in that Seattle dance studio becomes my everything as we perform the same moves to the same songs. The coolest part about our everything is that we’re all pretty great as individuals, too. Through Oula, we get a magical moment or two to connect people from different ages, places, and backgrounds.
Last weekend I danced with a six-year-old named Louise who told me she loves donuts, pie, and her family. I asked her why she might recommend Oula to someone her age and she said, “it’s really fun, and we could try to be friends and stuff and play together!”
Almost every week, I practice Oula One with our universal mother, Mama Rose of Minnesota. Rosy let me know that not only is Oula “the official fitness format for cool people,” this type of dancing “reduces the risk of dementia.” She also notes, “dancing with intention leads to optimal learning encouraging the right and left brain to work together—brain gym at its best!”
My brief chats with Rosy and Louise made me want to know more about, well, EVERYTHING. I love that Oula resonates with people from so many age groups - there is something for everyone amidst all the formats and modifications.
So, I put out an online survey asking people of different age groups why they like Oula, and why they would recommend it to someone their age.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. I am highlighting just a few of the responses here. I was struck by the common themes of fun, physical challenge, and emotional well-being.
Maybe you’ll see a bit of yourself in these answers. I know for me, it makes being everything seem more possible.
“It’s a challenge mentally and physically. It lets me escape reality a little while staying really in tune and present in my body.”
“Oula is really fun and empowering. Even though it is exercise, it does not feel at all like it. It feels like a fun dance party.”
Dani S., 31, Sylmar, CA (Oula)
“Oula is a space to show up exactly how you are today and move your body exactly how you want. It’s pure freedom and love and community.”
Sara C., 33, Seattle, WA (Oula, One, Power, Fusion)
“It's a place to find community, be yourself in a safe space, and even be braver than you normally are. It's also about getting movement and fun in your life.”
Jenna L., 40, Minnesota (Oula, One, Power)
“Did you like to dance in your room as a kid? It's like that but to current music with a variety of routines and styles.”
Karen D., 46, Los Angeles, CA (Oula, One, Power)
“It’s not only a great workout, but a fun one. It moves your body in ways it doesn’t move in everyday life. It not only works your body but your mind. And if you let it, it can make your soul happy if you really feel the movements and the music. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever done.”
Dana H., 44, Burbank, CA (Oula, One, Power)
“It’s great fun, good exercise and highly adaptable to any fitness level.”
Jen H., 50, Missoula, MT (Oula, One, Power)
“For the fun of it and to help you feel sexy again😜”
Teri T., 59, Missoula, MT (Oula, Power)
“Oula is a super fun cardio dance workout to pop music songs. It keeps your mind and body active, and the choreography can be easily modified (as shown by the instructor) to fit all ages and abilities.”
Jim P., 66, Bloomington, MN (Oula, One, Power, Fusion)
“It’s fun to dance, and there are a lot of different moves. It keeps your mind engaged.”
Mary T., 66 St. Paul, MN (Oula, Power)
“Oula is an uproariously good time! My first class I was a bit hesitant because I’m decades older than other participants, and I don’t move like they move. But the participants were warm and accepting. Oula truly does provide a non-judgmental, welcoming, inclusive environment!” Judy, 73, Minnesota (Oula, One, Power)