Experience: training course “Embodied Leadership”, in Latvia

“I am Noa Philippon, one of the participants from Biodiversa in the training course Embodied Leadership, that was held in Bernati, Latvia, from 28th June till 7th July 2015.

This training started with the craziest travel adventure ever 😛

After taking the first bus at 4 am on the 27th, and getting in the first plane from Porto to Brussels, we suddenly landed before expected and the flight attendant said: Welcome to Paris Beauvais… and thats where I thought I had taken the wrong plane, and when all the adventure started. Belgian airspace was closed due to a power shortage, initially only till 4 pm but it stayed for the whole day closed. After three hours of uncertainty, we got in a bus to Brussels airport, where I was supposed to take my next plane to Riga. But I got a mail from Ryanair saying that my plane to Latvia was cancelled, so, it was about 7pm and I was stuck in Brussels Charleroi, trying to figure out a way of getting to the venue of the training. The only option that looked doable was taking the plane next morning from Eindhoven (Netherlands) and trying to get there meanwhile from Brussels. I found the other participant from Biodiversa, Pascal, in the airport, and we tried to get in the train to the center but… surprise, Belgian trains where on strike that day from 8pm… All the time I was sure that we would get to Bernati because it was such an interesting training that we couldn’t miss it… So we did, we took 2 buses and 4 trains and arrived in time to Eindhoven. And, after a plane and two buses later, we got to Chill Inn hotel at midnight, after 47 hours travelling and waiting with no sleep… And all this crazy adventure was completely worth it because the training was an awesome lifechanging experience 🙂

The first full day was about “exploring yourself and others”, so we learnt our names, shared our first impressions, also contributions and expectations for the project and did some team building dynamics. Also we started to discuss about the topic, Embodied Leadership.

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On the second day the topic wasleadership in theory and practice”, so we discussed about how do we lead, we did some free writing dynamics, we hacked charisma and discussed about the elements of nonverbal communication.

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The third day was about “communication and cooperation”, in the morning we had workshops on non-violent communication and in the afternoon we had a dynamic about trust and communication through touch. It was a very interesting day and it made the community stronger through physical contact.

The fourth day was about “silence”, it was a personal day, where we meditated in silence, without any kind of communication with no one in the whole day. It was a very powerful experience for me, one that I had never had before and I learnt a lot through it.

On the fifth day Leadership and creativity” was the title, and we explored creativity in several ways. The funniest and most interesting for me was the morning session, accroyoga, where we were holding each other, flying and sitting on each other legs, for example. It was all about communication, trust and balance, and we did things we thought were impossible at the beginning. It made us grow even more as a group, and everybody enjoyed it. After that, we also created dance choreographies in two groups and performed them to each other, explored some unknown substances with eyes closed and created nice stories about them later.

The sixth day, the topic was “creative communication”. In the morning we had blind exploration activities and a very interesting dynamic in small groups, “ruled by the stick”. In the afternoon we went to Liepaja, where we had the chance to visit a freak bike workshop, from Radi Vidi Pats association and also to ride the freak bikes, which was very funny. After, we had some free time in the city to explore it at our own pace 🙂

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“Engaging communities” was the title of the seventh day, and we discussed how to use all the learning from the training back in our communities

The eighth day we had an Open Space, with workshops about improvisation theater, contact dance, making puppets out of waste materials, etc.

The last day was about “Creating opportunities” and also and closing. We worked on our ideas for next projects and developed them a bit further, together with partners from other countries.

Besides all the activities, we also had morning exercise to start the day, every day at 8:15. It included some yoga, stretching, meditation techniques and other exercises.

It was a great project, well organised, in an amazing place (Hotel Chill In) and with awesome trainers and participants.

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Thank you, Biodiversa, for giving me the opportunity to participate.  🙂 “

Thank you, Noa, for your active participation in the training course and for this fun an interesting contribution to Biodiversa’s blog!

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