Meet scholarship winner, Joy!

Okay readers, it’s time to turn off Netflix and put down the latest Colleen Hoover, because we have a story for you that’s better than anything you’ll find on the screen or the pages. It’s the story of our latest Teacher Training scholarship winner, Joy. With all the markings of an epic tale, Joy’s journey has inspired and moved us beyond words. We’re honoured to have her within our community, and take it from us, you’re going to want to follow along with this leading lady. Joy, you’re going places. We can’t wait to be by your side as you soar. 

Hi, Joy! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello there! I’m Joy! It’s so nice to meet you! I’m standing up on my tippy toes in relevé waving at you from sunny Southern California. To tell you a bit about myself, I am a bit of a late bloomer as far as Pilates goes. You see, as a kid, I was a wallflower and always one of the last to be picked in gym class. I couldn’t touch my toes let alone do a teaser to save my life! In fact, I remember being named valedictorian in middle school at an assembly with all of my classmates. My principal described me as someone who couldn’t do many sit-ups but would always get straight As.

It was true that growing up, I sought refuge in the library versus in sports on the field. As the daughter of immigrants, I felt like an outsider as a child. In 1972, my parents escaped a brutal military dictatorship in Myanmar (Burma) with a suitcase packed with dreams and came to the middle of America, where my sisters and I were born and raised. As one of the few Asians in our small town, I often buried my head in books to hide the almond shaped eyes I was so often teased for. While I excelled academically, my spirit wilted over time.

The stress of an unfulfilled life took a toll on my health. I struggled with joint pain, migraines, fertility treatments, postpartum depression, and a tumultuous marriage that ended in a heart wrenching divorce. In 2016, a good friend coaxed me into taking my first Pilates class. One class led to another and another. Bit by bit, I grew stronger and learned to stand tall with my head held high. Pilates therapeutically helped me release pain and trauma, build resilience and flexibility and revive my spirit. It fed my soul and made this former wallflower bloom. Through Pilates, I literally have found Joy and literally who I am to my core.

What is it that attracted you to Barre Body?

Barre Body radiates such warm and fuzzy vibes. It feels like I am joining a family that is welcoming me with open arms. It takes a village to raise one generation of Pilates teachers after another, and Barre Body transcends international boundaries by empowering students with an unparalleled network of mentorship. Having the support of such a dynamic community is an invaluable opportunity. I also especially love that Barre Body offers flexible online teacher training programs that are self-paced and so well-designed. Being a single mom, Barre Body checks all the boxes for being a dream program for me.

Why does the scholarship mean so much to you?

With a Barre Body teacher scholarship, I can amplify the voices of those who have also felt unseen as wallflowers. I can welcome all students into my classes and guide them to discover their own joy. This scholarship means a fresh start for me to pursue my true passion for health and wellness. With this gift from Barre Body, I can also proudly raise the “barre” for my 13-year-old daughter and inspire her to stretch and lunge for her own dreams too. 

Can you tell us what movement means to you?

For too long, I held my breath and allowed limiting expectations to confine my movement through life. Now, I see uninhibited movement to be the truest expression of my soul. Learning to link my breath to movement particularly in Pilates has been the most liberating practice. With each deep inhale, I breathe life into my soul cultivating Joy from deep within and exhale it, sharing it with the world through movement.  In this new season of my life, as I step away from all walls and embrace my freedom to dance through life, movement to me literally is a Joyride.

What are you most excited to get out of the training?

The nerd in me is excited to dive into the nitty gritty and geek out about the science behind Pilates as a foundation. More importantly though, I look forward the most to learning a holistic approach to teaching Pilates as a healing modality for the mind, body and spirit. In pondering this question, I imagine gratefully extending my hands “serving the platter” and being bestowed with the opportunity to learn from some of the best leaders in the industry. I’m excited to teaser all day long all while burying my nose in my Barre Body teaching manual. I can study anatomy and be a wildflower on my reformer! I look forward to posting a selfie of just that to defy the limiting words of my middle school principal. LOL! I am excited to show myself and my daughter that the best life lived is one that is lived fully and wholeheartedly. 

What impact do you hope that your story has on your community?

I hope my story inspires others in my community to tap into their own powerhouse of joy and pursue their core purpose. I especially hope to help survivors of domestic violence access Pilates as a sanctuary for healing and empowerment as it has been for me. It would be my honor to be their guide as they embark on their own Joyride.

So, thank you so much for this amazing opportunity, Barre Body! I’m all in and ready! Go ahead and load on your heaviest springs…or your lightest! My knees (and heart) are unlocked, and I will embrace the challenge of prancing through it all. After all the rain of past seasons, I’m ready to breathe light into the depths of my core and blaze a new trail of wildflowers. Turn up the music and cue the tendu! Let’s dance, spread some JOY and spark a superbloom!

Oh my gosh, Joy … Could we love you more? Nope, it just wouldn’t be possible. We are so proud that you’ve chosen Barre Body as your new joyful family, and we are honoured to have you in ours.

Is Pilates your jam? Have you always aspired to be an expert teacher? We’d love to have you join our family. Check out all things Teacher Training right here, and reach out any time if we can help you on your journey.