RADICAL Movement Meets RADICAL Self-Care Meets RADICAL Growth
by Kiki Athanas
August 13, 2018
You can't help but feel something oddly special when you walk into MISFITSTUDIO, and its energy medicine. Permission to be yourself, be cool, be loud, be expressive, be energetic, be slow, be on top of the world, or be so tragically lost.
As the FIRST studio in all of Toronto to blend movement and mindfulness and music - way before everyone else was doing it - I was honoured to connect with the beauty & brains behind the leader of the movement: Amber Joliat.
She's just as inspirational and powerful as you're imagining - except even more radiant.
The following is her story, her heartfelt wisdom, and her strong words of encouragement to fuel your next kick-ass chapter. You're ready.
Who are you today versus who you were 20 years ago? How has your journey shifted you up until this point?
Amber Joliat: Oooof what a question! 20 years ago i was a baby, living in Florence Italy completing my art degree from OCAD
I was dancing and teaching dance
I was enjoying being a yoga student
I was learning how to heal myself
NOW, i feel like a woman
Im 40, the 20 years in-between have assisted me in FINDING myself choosing to not let the lessons of life harden me rather to learn and grow and see each lesson as an opportunity to get to know myself better.
And THERE HAVE BEEN LESSONS!
I’ve taken countless trainings, workshops and lectures, read books, loved and lost love
Lost myself and found myself again
Found my PURPOSE
Found my TRIBE
Found my husband
and I’m still healing myself
Amber Joliat: Believe it or not, in 2010 when I opened the studio. It was RADICAL to blend modalities of movement and especially to LOUD MUSIC. At that time, I had been working allll over the city of Toronto, sharing my wild ways, building a reputation as a misfit in the yoga community.
Today, it seems every class blends movement and mindfulness and music but, it feels powerful to know i was the first, at least in this city!
It’s the misfits in this world who are courageous enough to share their hearts and change the world!!!! One of my most favourite quotes was deep inspiration for the name MISFITSTUDIO. A home for open-hearted and like-minded misifts.
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things - they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
– Steve Jobs
Most common misperceptions around fitness?
AJ: I don’t use that word
Fitness sounds gimmiky to me, MISFITSTUDIO is a lifestyle.
We are a product of our choices. Nothing happens overnight that is worthwhile.
Work, Effort, Practice, Patience
Those are inspiring words and I feel for the most part, the words and notions that people miss
It’s the missing link
Making a choice to do the work it requires to learn to work WITH YOURSELF
When life gets thick and heavy and intense, when you know you can overcome challenge, get a hold of your heart, slow your breath, come back to your centre, your truth, your intuition
THAT is what it’s really all about
I call it an untangling
The more we untangle the physical body, the more our minds crave the same
Letting go of old shit
Making way for new
THAT is health and wellness
THAT is living mindfully
No fitness there
How can we elevate our self-love practice?
AJ: This is a life-long practice and it CAN be done, but, one has to be willing to look at the shadow side otherwise it’s all bullshit, surface-level.
Once we learn to accept the dark part of ourselves, learn to quiet the inner self critic, really release the old shitty patterns that keep us stuck in self-loathing, then we can really begin the love affair of self, relaxing into the things we can not control, and loving ALL of ourself
THAT IS RADICAL SELF LOVE
And that starts with connecting to yourself which is beautifully facilitated through mindful movement.
Best way to reconnect with your true and whole body?
And movement that requires wild and circular and spiralling shapes. None of this linear shit.
Remain in discomfort just long enough to learn from it
All a practice of presence
Doing the work to synchronize heart, breath, movement, THAT is magic!
What’s still missing in the wellness world?
AJ: I’ve noticed a yearning for BALANCE
There are high intensity classes that offer space to release, sweat, toxins, tears, yells, moans and beautiful calm, quieting meditation. I think as we continue to exist in this powerful paradigm shift that seeking will become stronger.
The need to release
The need to connect
To self, to tribe, to source
If there’s one thing you’d love for us all to do more of, what would it be?
AJ: Learn to not be so hard on ourselves
We are HUMAN
Something you’d wish we would all stop thinking?
AJ: That someone will save you
Be your own hero
Don’t wait for a fucked up fairytale to slowly suffocate you
That is your power
Who inspires you?
AJ: All the courageous souls doing the hard work to get to know themselves,to learn to work with themselves rather than against. Learning to love and accept who they are.
Raising the vibration
Causing a ripple effect
May you have the blessing of meeting this woman and experiencing her energy...
Tuesday night pop-ups at Geary Ave. are on until the end of August!!! Get all the details here.