Oula in Missoula

Oula_Dancer_Logo_Final_SMThe first official stop on my road trip was Missoula, Montana.  The drive from my Father’s house in Coeur d’Alene, ID was not a long one so within three hours I was pulling into Missoula.  My friend and host Erin asked that I meet her at her office downtown.  We hadn’t seen each other in over a year so after a quick hug we caught up, chatted about my upcoming journey and then made a plan of action for the evening.  She had recently started an exercise program and was seeing amazing results.  She invited me to her evening workout class called “Oula”, named for the town in which it was created; Missoula.

When I asked her for more details she essentially said that it is a class that you dance like you are in your room with nobody looking.  I immediately pictured half naked girls dancing in dim lights with a hairbrush in their hand.  I had no idea what I was getting in to but it was my first day on the road and I needed to get a workout in so I was game.

We arrived at Peak Fitness (http://www.peakmissoula.com/) where I was given free access to try Oula for my first time.  We gave ourselves plenty of time prior to the class so that we could do some TRX strength training.  This was something I understood, I had worked with TRX trainers quite a bit and was happy to see an old friend.  Erin taught me some new moves that would prove rather challenging and had my arms shaking like I had been holding a Shake Weight for days.

We proceeded up to the fitness studio for our Oula class and found our place in the back of the room.  I noticed a few things, the lights weren’t very dim and everyone was fully dressed and there were no pillow fights. I looked to Erin and she told me she was proud of me for jumping right in which boosted my confidence for a moment.  The next thing I know the music has started and there are specific dance routines that everyone is following.  This isn’t the free for all I was promised! I was planning on doing the African Anteater Ritual Dance from “Can’t Buy Me Love” for the entire 60 minutes.

As the instructors started their moves they reminded everyone that Oula was something you needed to try several times to learn the moves and to not be discouraged if you were new and weren’t able to follow.  Not being able to follow was an understatement in my case.  The class was going left, I was going right, they were moving forward I was moving backward.  The humiliation I would normally feel though, wasn’t there,  being in a new community and knowing you were going to be leaving shortly helps relieve the pressure.

Standing, twirling, moving in the back of the room I was able to see the rest of the class and they were working it, this was definitely a good workout once you had the moves down.  If I were in a location that had Oula available I think I would definitely give it another few tries, who knows I might surprise myself and actually be able to follow choreographed dance moves.

As we left the gym one of the instructors, Jen Bertland approached me and asked me how I liked the class.  I told her it was challenging and she encouraged me to come back for more.  I let her know I would keep my eyes open for Oula on my trip but that I was heading out of town shortly.  She was kind and supportive and by the time I checked my Facebook that night she had already started following Losing Weight off the Interstate.  Thanks Jen for the support!!

Peak Fitness Downtown Missoula.  150 East Spruce Street.  406 317-1960

Oula (www.oulafitness.com)

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