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March 01, 2024 2 min read

Oula Water Playlist

by Jesse Gilliam

Fun fact for your next Oula-themed trivia night. There’s enough water-related Oula songs to create an entire hour-long playlist centered on the various forms of water. Within one hour we can eat cake by the ocean and drink spicy margaritas poolside (poolside is the water I’m referencing, although I guess margaritas are too). We can dance in the rainchase rainbows with Big Freedia, and moisturize with Lizzo.


Why so many water songs? One of my theories is that water is perhaps one of the most mutable of elements. Water is both rough and calm - we have moments where we’re drowning in the dark waters and moments where we’re floating in the sea. Water is both devastating and life creating. Sink or swim. We’re caught in the rip tide, or we’re jumping in the water south of the border with Ed Sheeran and Camilla Cabello. Water is also so engaging because like so many things in life, our response to water can influence our experience of water. One of my earliest memories is standing in the surf with my father, enjoying the sun-warmed ocean, when a wave crashed from out of nowhere and knocked both of us off our feet. I remember the fear I felt as the undertow sucked me through the gritty sand, but more than than I remember my father’s hand firmly finding my hand, holding me steady, and pulling me to safety.


Water also creates a powerful sense of place. I live in Seattle - otherwise known as rain city. After Oula this weekend, 10 of us stood out in the rain catching up as if it was a 70 degree sunny day. If we didn’t stand out in the rain, we wouldn’t end up talking. My Seattle Oula buddies and I spent about half of our pandemic outdoor dancing days in semi rainy weather playing trial by error on which shoes are the least likely to slip on asphalt. Different places bring different watery images. Seeing snow outside of the window of the Minnesota-based online studio classes. Remembering a group of joyful Oula campers plunging into a chilly Montana lake after careful instruction from our cold plunging expert/Oula instructor from Maine, Cholla.


What memories do our water-based songs bring up for you? Are they of sinking, swimming, both? What does it feel like to live in both moments? How about both moments within one hour? This quarter, we invite you to take some time to explore the element of water in your Oula practice. If you’ve got something to share, please send along an email (insert email here).

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