LFTL, SA Impressions
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa to attend the Learn from the Leaders Symposium held in Pretoria. It was also a little vacation,I got to visit Cape Town where I lived for three months in 2017. It was my third time to South Africa. I fall in love with that country and the people’s hospitality more and more each time I go. There’s something magical about that place. Oh wait! Isn’t that where Rael is from? Well, like I said...Magic.
I started in Cape Town,where I quickly set up the lifestyle I used to have whilst living there last year. It truly felt like I never left. I had my gym routines, my coffee dates, and of course, my daily visits to our BASI host studio and affiliate studios. We’ll skip the whole socializing part of it or leave it for Instagram.On a Monday night, I flew to Johannesburg along with some of my BASI family and we stayed at the guest house near where the conference was going to be held. There were about 10 of us at that guest house. It's needless to say how fun it was.
The actual studying began the next morning. First, I attended the Pilates through Pregnancy course conducted by BASI Faculty Ashley Ritchie for three days. I really felt like home at Body Intellect studio as that’s where I attended my first Mentor Program in June 2017 with the incredible Theo Botha. For the first two days of the course, it almost got me wanting to have a baby of my own, but when on the third day we went into labor, the picture wasn’t so pretty. I cannot believe how difficult the modified repertoire could become. We did a pre-natal and a post-natal mat class, and there were a couple moments where I had to break and regroup. Those mammas have it pretty rough. No joke.
Friday of that week was the official symposium commencement. The venue was exquisite, full of nature and a true African spirit. While walking to find my classes, I could feel my cheeks cramping because I couldn’t stop smiling. Such a thrill to reunite with so many old friends and meet new ones, while doing something we are all so passionate about, at such beautiful place.
My day started with Lisa Lamberti’s Power of the 10 mat class. It felt so good to move and experience a different voice guiding me through the practice. I then attended Sam Wood’s Pilates for Chronic Pain Syndromes workshop, and in the afternoon Mario Alfonso’s Mobility of the Lower Spine workshop. Whoa! Mind blown already, and it’s only day one. Needless to say, we all went back to the guest house for some wine.
Day two is always a bit easier. We are over the hype of the first day, and know there’s gonna be another full day of learning and playing, so it seems like everyone is a bit calmer. Plus, the conference party is at the end of day two, so maybe everyone was just pacing themselves. The morning mat class I chose was Baptiste Herbert’s Hard Core. It felt like a true solid BASI mat class, which got me sweating. I then headed to Inge Pretorious’ Pilates for Men workshop. What I loved the most about this workshop was, despite the fact that the majority of the equipment repertoire was advanced, she always showed a mat variation that is accessible to almost every male client I have. In the afternoon, I was back with Baptiste to work Around the Wunda. This is relatively small equipment that I kind of avoid since it’s so freaking hard. I learned some incredible variations that I have already started incorporating in my own practice. At the end of the day, we gathered for the party. It was great that nobody brought a change of clothes, so it was a legging party! You know when it rains on weddings people say it’s good luck?! Well, it poured at our party. From the skies, from some eyes, and from the wine bottles.
And then day three, the saddest of them all. I took Theo’s Marathon Mat to kick off the day. It’s so fascinating to experience the work through someone so passionate. She leads the class with a big smile, and I could feel the vibration in the room putting BASI's principles at its finest standards. What a great group!
The last workshop I chose was Tash Barnard’s Pilates for Kids. It was really fun and helpful to me as I work with two siblings under 14 years of age. We got done a few minutes early, which honestly was perfect for me. I am such an emotional person and I don’t do well with goodbyes, so I literally snuck out right after my workshop and back to the guest house to avoid the tears. I said a few personal goodbyes and messaged my closest friends, but my “Thank you and see you soon” note was on social media.
My trip was about three weeks, but let’s not forget that, it took me three days to get there and two days to get back with all the layovers and time changes. But nonetheless, I would do it all over again because the experience was so meaningful and the memories created with the BASI community around the world left me speechless. I returned with such renewed joy and inspiration to continue striving to become, not just a good instructor, but someone who will actually positively affect each person I make a connection with. Even though I was involved with Pilates 12 of 20 days, the actual LFTL conference was only three days, and there I was wishing it would last a week. I cannot imagine having only two days next year, but I guess this only proves the true power of BASI Pilates. We never want it to end and we can never get enough. It’s also always so tough to say bye to our friends.
I am so grateful I had this opportunity and I truly believe that the BASI South Africa team put together a very memorable event. I can only imagine,how much effort, time and dedication was put out there in order to organize everything. And, I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in making this happen.