Anaïs Ribeyre is an international student in the full-time bodywork therapy program at VSOHA. Anaïs is no stranger to international study. Originally from France, she earned her Bachelor Degree in Literary and Cultural Analysis while studying abroad in Amsterdam.
“I heard so much about Canada and I had visited Toronto before so I knew it was a place I wanted to explore. I was already on the road so I was very open to anything!”
Anaïs noticed she was drawn to practices like massage, dance and physical theatre that guided her to get back in contact with her body. She found these practices all cultivated a positive view of the body as something very human and natural. Anaïs said she was particularly curious about learning more about conscious embodiment, the body and touch.
“I enjoy spiritual practices around the body and knew I wanted to do something with massage and the healing touch. I am interested in the emotional and energetic body, which responds to and can be activated by touch.”
After travelling with just a backpack for the last year, Anaïs was looking for some structure and to get some hands on training, knowledge and experience. “I liked what VSOHA was proposing with the intensive format. I wanted to be able to come and do it all at once and not have to settle too much”.
Anaïs started the Bodywork Therapy Program in February, enrolling just two weeks before the program started. “It was a chaotic time for me as I was on the road doing some volunteer work in France with limited internet. I had a Skype interview [with Val McKinnon, Admissions Director] and he was very understanding and respectful of my time and my needs. The school was very helpful with the whole process!”
Anaïs has spent the last month studying Swedish massage, which she now offers with her classmates as a 60 or 90 minutes treatment at VSOHA’s Student Clinic on Thursday afternoons / evenings. “The first month has gone by so quickly, you learn a lot, very fast!”
She is looking forward to learning Shiatsu massage, a modality taught in the Bodywork Therapy program by Fernando Cabrera. “I think Shiatsu will be really good as it’s traditionally given on the floor with the clothes on, making it more accessible. It would be easy to integrate into whatever I’m doing, wherever I am, as I won’t need oil and a massage table with me.
With the full time program taking just 18 weeks to complete, Anaïs is set to graduate in June. “I have a lot of different plans. I’d like to volunteer to work in communities and festivals as a bodyworker in Central America. I’m also curious about bringing conscious embodiment to people who don’t necessarily have the time or money to go to luxury spas. Particularly the younger public that need to be educated about their bodies!”
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