A BarreAmped Teacher Training Reflection by CamillaDecember 10, 2018 |
Testimonial from the BarreAmped Teacher Training at Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui:
"An amazing, educational experience in a blissful setting! All of the teachers did such a great job and made it seem so effortless - the teaching, the organisation of everything, their undivided attention to the individual needs and interests of their students, the way in which they all were so positive, inspiring, available and supportive! As for my fellow aspiring barrerinas - a lovely, easygoing bunch of girls. Very enjoyable!" - Camilla Lindberg
Camilla Lindberg: a bit about my personal intentions and my experience of the structure of the training and of the retreat:
BARRE TO ME. I discovered barre 2.5 years ago, when a friend invited me along to a class at the newly opened Barre 2 Barre studio in Singapore, and immediately fell in love with it. More than 300 classes later, I signed up for this 8-day combined Level 1 & 2 BarreAmped course in Koh Samui. My first ever retreat - and my first ever wellbeing-related teacher training course. The idea was to absorb and comprehend as much as possible, theoretically and practically - and to connect with girls equally passionate about the form and method. As for the course elements, I loved the anatomy aspects, the exercise breakdowns, the co-teaching (even if I also kind of dreaded it, haha - it was very useful!) the classes, the way each teacher explained everything, the way their own passion and creativity shone through, and the insights offered by the other students. I loved learning more about myself, my own anatomy, the anatomy of others and what to be aware of. I do wish I'd been less nervous and more confident at the exam, but at the same time I feel that I've now got the tools to connect the dots between what I know and love from my own practice and then the background and structure of everything from the individual muscle engagements to the movement variations to the class formatting. Still so much more to learn, including how to keep my own good form while communicating good form to others, haha :) It's very fascinating!
OUR MONEY’s WORTH. We went through an intense and intensive daily programme, from around 7:30am to 9pm, conducted in an idyllic wooden yoga studios on the beach: exercise classes, lectures on form and alignment principles of BarreAmped, anatomy overview using a skeleton called Steve, exercise dissection, pre- and post-natal and injury modifications, class framework and formatting, teaching skills, practice and code of conduct, co-teaching … THE LOT! A full body workout with traits from pilates, yoga and dance, BarreAmped is all about small, precise, mindful muscle engagements and movements, contractions within contractions, with isometric holds, to really feel a burn, shake and effect in all of the right places, i.e. create long, lean and strong features whilst protecting joints and supporting a good posture. Having happily practised it for over two years, I like to think that I always come to class with a focussed mind, carefully observing myself and each of the teachers, their different styles and cues, their words of encouragement, adjustments and troubleshooting. In this short week, though, I learn so much more, especially the vast difference between being a (passive) student and assuming the perspective of a teacher – and what it means that every body is different. And how much I still slouch although I’ve been thinking about keeping a neutral spine for so long – it’s all a process. Barre has always been a sanctuary for me: the good energy in the Barre 2 Barre studio, the lovely community, the nurturing attention to detail, taking classes at other boutique studios when travelling. When at night, my boyfriend asks me what my favourite moment of the day was, something barre-related often comes in as number one; I’ve brought countless friends visiting from overseas to classes and loved to see how they found it both challenging and invigorating; I’ve felt the positive effect on my own body and mind. The only other types of physical movement I really feel attracted to are running, swimming and yoga, partly because they allow me to completely switch off and focus on my breathing. Now, in order for barre to really feel satisfying, some cerebral effort is needed. Until this week, I never quite understood how much, haha.
CHALLENGE! In one way, it was great to move straight from Level 1 to 2, as it meant I had a good idea of the general format and was in the zone ... In retrospect, though, I am a bit gutted that I was rather fatigued by Thursday night (i.e., one day into Level 2). I wish I'd had a half day of fresh and calm self-study time to slowly let everything settle. That said, part of my intention of going was to interact and socialise with fellow barrerinas and to unwind from months of work-related stress so I am glad I joined the Bootcamp and Fire classes as well as the snorkelling trip and the communal meals, which had been incorporated into our schedule for good measure. And I’m glad I went to bed early and got up to swim in the gorgeous beach-facing pool at sunrise. And even if it wasn't my best test performance in history, I do now have the resources (incl. nicely illustrated comprehensive books!) and memories of everything the teachers taught us to help me immensely going forward, in my own time.
THE RETREAT. Quaint, lush, wholesome eco vibes. Open, airy spaces. Natural, vegan, msg- and refined sugar-free food made fresh for every meal - perfectly matching my inclination to match healthy training with healthy nourishment. A cool salt water pool. Ocean view. Spacious, clean rooms. Impeccable service. It was the first time I’ve ever gone to a place and not left the hotel grounds (except for that snorkelling trip and a dinner out on the last night!). I simply didn’t feel the need - I was so immersed in the feel of it all, haha. Yogis and meditators staying at the retreat observed us with perplexed looks on their faces - what are these crazy people doing working out and studying ALL OF THE TIME??
TIMING REFLECTION! When I signed up for this course in the early spring, I had no idea I’d be leaving Asia and my daily practice at Barre 2 Barre a mere month after the course, which makes it such a sweet way to say goodbye to this, the initial, part of my barre journey. Other than keeping a journal and taking photos, I kept the week free of digital elements. I wanted to be as present as possible. The days were packed full of good stuff, and whether or not I actually passed the exams and got the certificate (I did!) was less vital than the course itself and the self-care and -growth involved. All I cared about was the learning process and the barre community feel and the retreat situation. If I really want to teach, I’ll get there; but for now, the focus was on immersing myself in the process. Then perhaps sometime in the new year, if it makes sense, I might do a barre teacher apprenticeship. For now, I was excited and grateful that this was happening. Flying off alone to a tropical island. The opportunity to gain a deeper insight into and awareness the workings of the BarreAmped method, which I find so easy to love so much even if it makes me shake and ache, not to speak of my own physique and mind-body-connection and those of others. In the company of prima barrerinas from all over the world, but mainly Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore.
DAILY RHYTHM AND HIGHLIGHTS. Morning swims and looking at the sunrise from the wide, white beach; physically and mentally exhausting and stimulating work all day; new friendships made through pea butterfly juice, endless amounts of raw veggies, sweat and laughter with a bunch of girls exuding good vibes – everyone was open and friendly, and it was interesting to experience our different dynamics coming together, our different motivations for being there, whether solely personal or also professional, and our different stages of progression, of fatigue kicking in, of needing some time alone to process, of connecting and supporting each other. Some of my favourite moments were when Karen taught a Fire class, Hayley and Jess taught Bootcamp classes, Denise taught a Barre Yoga class and Ali taught a TRX class… yes, there were the wooden yoga shalas, the beach and ocean view, the palms lining our little oasis rustling in the fresh salty breeze… but truly special about the classes was the radiant, vibrant, focussed energy emanating from everyone during the exercises and the teachers’ spot-on observant cues and heartfelt encouragements… that’s what was addictive.