My Amazing Experience Traveling Abroad as a BASI Ambassador by BASI Instructor Jacque Lenhard
When life throws you lemons you make BASI lemonade.
While completing the process of moving to the USA permanently, I spent an extended period of time in my home country of Brazil. I looked at this time as a perfect chance to spread my passion for BASI Pilates. Since there are no Host Studios currently located in Brazil, I decided to travel to different studios and offer Master classes allowing me to “spread the BASI word” and possibly assist in scouting out a new Host location in my home country.
With Rael’s blessing and assistance from Stella and Jen I got to work. It was so much fun while being a great challenge. I learned how to create a website, design flyers and handouts, and also how to build relationships with studio owners while trying to sell my weekend fun-filled events. I created 9 different programs in 4 states throughout Brazil, and had enough registrations for 5 of them. The biggest challenge for me was to make sure the people who attended would leave the workshop with an interest in attending our teacher training programs. With almost every participant already a Pilates instructor, I was scared that my material would be too “simple” - and part of that is because a lot of certifications in Brazil don’t take the necessary time to make sure the student understands the work and will teach the advanced/master repertoire in less than one month. I also knew some of the participants had many more years of experience than myself and a larger knowledge of the Pilates repertoire, but nobody was a BASI instructor and that’s what made me different (or special, should I say). Even though my repertoire was only as advanced as our comprehensive course, I believe it is our approach that makes BASI different. I had 10-year teachers in my workshops that could not do a Full Pike on the Wunda Chair without looking like a mess. I mean seriously, “The Art of Contrology” looked more like the “Struggle of Pumpology” as that pedal would simply pop them up without the slightest control and connection to their bodies. So I trusted myself and challenged all participants to take it back to a more fundamental and intermediate level in order to fully understand how to progress within the work. My project was called “Improve your BASE with BASI Pilates” – kind of catchy don’t you think? After my last workshop in July, we found a potential partnership with the studio, Let’s Pilates, in São Paulo, and the courtship between BASI HQ and this studio began.
At this point, it’s July and I hadn’t had my final immigration interview scheduled yet. I started freaking out because during the six months I had spent in Brazil the only time I got in touch with BASI work was in early June at “Contrologia Brazil” where I got to take a few workshops with the powerful Sheri Long. That weekend went by way too fast and had I felt stuck in my education because I was mostly in contact with classical Pilates teachers, which is what still prevails in the community there. What to do since I can’t return to US yet? Go to another BASI community!
I travelled to South Africa for the first ever Mentor Program taught by a Senior Faculty member besides Rael. This Program was taught by the incredible Theo Van de Reit, Licensee for BASI Pilates South Africa. I made some amazing new BASI friends as well as reconnected with some old ones! It was the time of my year! I only stayed there for 2 weeks but I knew I would be back because it felt so much like home, and that’s the true spirit of BASI!
Fast forward to August, I’m back in Brazil, the Brazilian Host Studio contract is signed, and I’m twirling my fingers waiting to return to California but without any expectations of when that will happen. Well, I might as well go back to South Africa and work on my own Pilates practice. This time I went to Cape Town to work with another exceptional Faculty member, Inge Pretorious, and what was a 3-week trip ended up becoming a 3-month sabbatical. If I thought the 2 weeks spent there for the Mentor Program was the time of my life, well, there are no words to describe what those 3 months did to me. I am so thankful for the amazing support I got from our South African BASI family. It was incredibly hard for me to leave when the time came. At the end of November I returned to Brazil, for the final portion of my journey. The so-expected interview happened on December 21st, and I was able to return home right after the holidays.
Looking back on 2017 there’s so much to be grateful for, and I couldn’t have done any of it without the help and support from all my loved ones. In South Africa I experienced first-hand what it means to be a part of the BASI family, and I was also extremely proud to represent and share our work in Brazil, but nothing compares to the feeling of returning to the nest, BASI HQ.
Best, Jacque Lenhard