Tip of the Month

Toronto Ontario Canada M1R 3W6 Phone: 416-751-9823    cala_aqua@mac.com 

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Charlene Kopansky,
President & Founder,
canfitpro Life Time
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CALA Will Exceed Your Expectations

Over the years our members have said:

CALA Movement Matters Workshop May 15th, 2019 at the Canada Games Centre, Whitehorse, YT.
Message from Penny at RPAY…. Nathan is a superstar! It is never easy to be the final act in a three day, intensive workshop but he was able to pull it off with flying colours! The participants who stayed commented that the CALA workshop should be offered at every Spring Aquatics workshop in the Yukon. Thank you for all your work, Charlene pulling this together and Nathan.. thank you for meeting the group where they were at, being aware of the challenges and for brining such great energy to the group.

ON  Hamilton  GAF May 2019
Hi Katherine, Thank you for Day One for the CALA Group Aqua Fitness Specialty Course on Sunday May 5. You energetically packed the day with information, inspiration, and fun. Learning more about what ‘I don’t know’ can feel somewhat like stepping backwards yet I know it is all part of moving forward. 

You are a master at helping participants move out of their comfort zones and ‘test the waters’. (James Clear in his book Atomic Habits, describes this as attempting new tasks and undertakings  that are ‘just difficult enough’—not overwhelming, just within range.)

For me, you have inspired what I call ‘radiating benefits’. For example:  Here I sit planning my next Aquafit Class with the CALA manual open before me. Gems—ideas, how-to, cues, etc. etc. As usual, I want to ‘know it all yesterday’. Meanwhile, I’ll keep at it and thanks to you, I’m making progress. 

Have a wonderful time with all of your teaching schedule and adventures. See you next time, 


Ottawa April 14, 2019
Off the Wall-Thank the Plank Workshop!
Thank you Katherine,
Well, that was an awesome workshop, Katherine. And, you are an absolutely wonderful teacher.
Thank you so much for your wealth of knowledge.

Hello Katherine, Charlene,
Your workshop is very useful Katherine. This very specific and very well documented workshop will serve : My running loop on the floor (cardio-part) will be increasing with the running loop on the wall. For the MSE I will use the wall to enhance isometric contraction.
It will add to my already done 30 minute mini class.
Thank you for your good work, I appreciate.

Collingwood March 22, 2019
CALA Foundations of Vertical Water Training - Collingwood and immediate feedback received less than 24 hours after the course completion

CALA VWT Course Participant
I taught my class this morning, they loved it. They said they enjoyed the new moves. Most of them ditched the weights. They said they hoped that some of the others took the training too. I told them another instructor also took the course, so they will be in for a treat on Wednesday. Thanks again for all you do!

Enthusiastic Aquafitters celebrate their CALA instructor and create a team environment when they all love the same bathing suit

For decades now, people have gathered at the old, hidden gem, Leaside pool at Millwood and Southvale in Toronto to spend an early morning hour jumping and jogging and stretching and reaching in ways many can no longer do on dry land. Aquafit classes during working hours results in a mostly seniors, mostly women's class. It's an old, no frills facility that has made for close contact, new and lasting friendships and shared experiences, support and sharing in good and bad times.

With the temporary shutdown of North Toronto Pool 18 months ago, Leaside's class numbers swelled. Everyone just moved in a little closer to make accommodation. With often more than 70 participants in the 2 back to back classes, our incredible instructor, Dawn Colgan, just projected her voice louder, pushed harder and raised the bar higher while quickly learning all the additional names for encouragement and inclusion. For some participants, attending 2-4 classes a week is their physical exercise. For others, it's their opportunity for social contact. Some have to drag themselves in but somehow, magically, once the music starts and we've had our little chats to check on each other, we begin the warm up and get into the zone and begin to forget troubles, aches and pains and yes, even our age.

And then, last year, Costco came into the 'hood, just down the street on Overlea Blvd. It was a perfect location for after pool strolling, snacking and shopping. Quickly, some aquafitters discovered the vast array of sporty bathing suits available at Costco. When the first black, turquoise and teal Speedo arrived at the pool, it was complimented, admired and sought after.  Holding everything in place while we jumped and twisted and turned was the priority and this model fit the bill. Nice looking and reasonably priced was the bonus. Within the week there were 3 and by month's end, lucky 13! We laughed each time a new one appeared and once we hit 10, we began to call it the unofficial Leaside Aquafit team suit.

This past week, just before March break, was the last of the North Toronto pool people's displacement. The improvement projects are complete there and most of them will return to their local pool. We'll miss them. I think they'll miss us. Before they left we booked a "team suit" photo shoot for posterity, for comradery and really, just for fun. Those classes are so much more than a little light exercise. Thanks to Costco. Great job Speedo. Dawn and Andrew and Leaside staff, you're the best! You get it. This is so much more than a little light exercise class. We appreciate your efforts and are grateful and, I dare say, quite a great looking seniors group of bathing suit models! Who'd ever have thought? Proud Leaside Aquafit Participant

Mar 1, 2019 
Good morning Charlene

Can you believe it's been six years since I first took my vertical water and group certification? My how life has changed.

Two weeks after that first course I dove head first down the stairs, breaking myself into a million little pieces. I cannot thank you enough the patience, kindness and understanding you extended to me as I completed my certification during the long road of recovery. I have come a long way since then. My brain works much better, although I still have trouble accessing pass experiences and medical terminology.
But that is ok. My body is strong and my head is clear. Life is good.
I am now teaching aquafitness 16 hours a week and loving every minute of it.

Have a tremendous day,
Marta Wood

February 7, 2019
Testimonial - New CALA member... getting ready to begin the voyage to become a CALA Certified Leader

Hi Charlene,
It was such a pleasure speaking with you and thank you for listening to my story. I can 1000% say that Aquafit saved and changed my life. I could not walk more than a handful of steps (true story) without being in excruciating pain and something as simple as going grocery shopping for my family was no longer possible, the only place I found relief and could actually move my body was in the pool. I was amazed because as I watched and felt my body deteriorate on land, my progression in the pool absolutely amazed me. Doing aqua fit, I went from the shallow end barely being able to move, to the deep end wearing a belt, to no belt with only water weights —- this was all before my surgery. All those hours in the pool made for an easy post surgery recovery so I will always be so grateful everything I learned in the water. Any ways, I could go on forever about the water and how it helped me :-)

Thank you very much for all of the information and I will let you know as soon as I receive the manual. I am really looking forward to the course!

Thanks again and have a great week. Cheers and best wishes,

February 1, 2019
Just so you know, I just took the Strength and Conditioning workshop with Kristin Murphy this weekend. It was a wonderful source of knowledge and I learned so much from her and other participants. I think one of the biggest things I got out of it to practice everything myself in the water. I am going to start doing that this week. I will be attending other people's classes and doing my own work in the water.

Like I said, I can't thank you enough for everything CALA has done for me and my life. The first VWT course with you was the first step to a new avenue in my life. It is making me a better person, human being, wife and mom
Yuri Tsay,

January 28, 2019 Great training in Cornwall this weekend!
Good Morning,
Despite the snow storms we had a safe drive to Cornwall!
Dylan did a great job, I especially liked the pool sessions!
It was a great group of instructors who wanted to improve their programs!
The NAV Centre is a beautiful facility and Louise did a great job with signage all over to guide us!
Having a CALA conference in the Spring or Fall at this facility would be ideal:)
Old man Winter is here again at -35 with wind chill.
Happy to be working in a pool and not outside:)
Have a great week!

Fabulous testimonial for Katherine… Sept 24th workshop in Norfolk County.

Feedback 1 Sept 24th workshop in Norfolk County

Good morning

Just wanted to pass along that my staff really enjoyed the workshop last night!

Katherine – my team can be hard to impress, but they certainly enjoyed your presentation.

Thanks and I look forward to having you return to do another course/workshop in the future.

Thanks Lisa

Feedback 2 Sept 24th workshop in Norfolk County

Hi Katherine, Thank you for your Workshop Presentation last evening. By the time I got to the Workshop Evaluation at the end of the session my brain just wasn’t providing me with meaningful things I wanted to share with you. I’ve collected a few of those thoughts here. By no means does my note capture the ‘whole picture’ of the learning that happened for me.

Thank you for the rich vocabulary, the motivational (and might I add succinct ) phrases that definitely bring power and meaning to the class. I was thrilled to expand my repertoire of useful verbal and visual cues. In addition to the specific things I learned from your presentation, your comments & anecdotes, flipped a switch for me. Light bulbs went on reminding me of teaching strategies that have been the mainstay of my career. Fun? Yes it was. Humour? Needed and you interject it so well. It matters to me that everyone find the personal enjoyment, fun, and fulfillment that comes from an active and now I add ‘Aquatic’ Lifestyle. Works for me.

I taught Aquafitness this morning. Well, after being with you last evening, I felt empowered to teach and to connect. Loved it. It was like riding a bike. Faces beamed when I caught the group doing things well and complimented on their efforts. (A story for you: I taught in a number of schools and as you know not all administrators are what we might like to have as our leaders. One in particular was somewhat difficult. I immediately immersed myself in a number of CDs with Lessons: How to Train Killer Sharks. Bingo Bongo…6 months later, well the administrator was just fine. Caught him in the good acts often enough that eventually his good acts outnumbered the others#&^%&)

It was my attendance at your workshop last evening that gave me a treasure chest of ideas and strategies. And, you empowered me to do it, to teach. And it was great fun. I only exaggerated a wrong move 2x. Laughter and smiles appeared.

I have much to learn and look forward to doing that. Meanwhile, you have helped me make the most of what I currently know and understand about Aquafitness.

Thanks Katherine, Have a great day,  Cheerios  ~Linda

Feedback 3 Sept 24th workshop in Norfolk County

Hi Charlene,
Katherine is such an outstanding course leader & she made the whole presentation engaging and totally enjoyable-just as you would expect. I found the material quite worthwhile and thought it would be a lovely addendum to any of the CALA training sessions. Having said that, the exchange of ideas & information was particularly helpful to me, especially now that I have some knowledge under my own belt, so perhaps it would be better as an offering at one of your conferences.

Simcoe was a relatively long drive; also the timing was a bit difficult, however I’m glad to see the course content as one of your workshop topics!
With Gratitude,

Hi Charlene, I would like to thank-you for your help in coordinating our YMCA YWCA of Winnipeg's Aqua fitness Workshop May 9, and 10th, 2014. The feedback has been very positive and everyone enjoyed having CALA Trainer, Dylan Harries back to the Y to present the CALA style for us.

CALA Leaders keep impressing & inspiring!
Joan (CALA Certified Leader),
Just a little 'e' to thank you so very much for making my mother and I feel so welcome despite coming late to your Aquafit class today. I really feel your 10:00am class is exactly what my mother needs to get into a routine of physical activity.

Perhaps you have heard the quote "You may not remember what someone says, you may not remember what someone does, but you will always remember how they made you feel". This definitely applied to you today--you don't know how much your kindness meant to me today.
Thanks again. Janet, (A happy participant – Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga region.)

Dear Charlene,
What a wonderful team you brought with your passionate self that weekend! The team work and easy -going camaraderie amongst your trainers, and the variety of styles and concepts applied to your basic theories (still valid and maybe more so even after all these years) was a real joy to enjoy; and when I say variety--- It says a lot about your program that it attracts such a smorgasbord of all the different people out there. Our participants can find a great role model for themselves from such a broad selection of qualified teachers.

I appreciated your generosity in the provided lunches and a CD! Annalie said she was going to make it a party, and even in the chilly gym, I felt the warmth of dedicated Aquafit pros. Hope we can do it again next year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Stay well and wet!
Sharon Quebec DDO conference

I am planning an annual event in Quebec, hopefully at DDO. Cheers

Thoughts expressed by a passionate CALA Certified Leader in the Toronto area, Certified in the following Specialties: Group Aquafitness, Healing Waters: Aquatic Post Rehab and almost certified in Aqua Yoga...“When I got certified in aquafit, it was totally with the mind set of "this is something extra, it won't be my main thing." Then I took the CALA Foundations of Vertical Water Training course & yes, I could understand & see & FEEL the benefits of training in water as I created & played with different moves & combos.  However, do you know what's really odd?  I am experiencing "growth spurts".  Not sure how else to describe them but it's like, I learn something new & get excited & I want to learn more & MORE!  My greatest source of inspiration & energy:  My participants.  They help keep me excited. And I help to keep the workout experiences fresh.  Yes we work out but I am finding more fun in using imagery & creating "games" we can play while they get a workout.  Biggest problem:  There never seems to be enough TIME!  The class it over before I know it!  Ok enough of my banter.  Just wanted to say how happy I am to be a CALA Certified aquafitness instructor!  From the 6 month old babies to my 99 year old jewels ... they all keep me pumped!

Dear Charlene

An update on my life post accident: My back has healed but it won't ever be the same as it was before the accident, it still aches. My left hand was injured as well and even though it has been a year, my hand and my back have not completely healed. 

 My neurosurgeon was amazed at how quickly I healed without going to physiotherapy - all my rehab was done in the pool.  The accident was June 4 (2012) and I was back on the golf course playing a bit in mid September. I attribute it all to being in shape before the accident because of aquafit and a quicker rehab again with the help of aquafit.  I did the first part of the rehab in the deep end with a belt to avoid impact and gradually moved off the belt and was doing full aqua by the beginning of January this year.

 I've enjoyed my association with CALA and learned a lot. I will use what I have learned to keep in shape in the pool.  Aquafitness really helped with my rehab and I will always continue being a participant.

 I wish you all success in the future of CALA - it's a great organization.

Hi Charlene,

Last night was the first time I met you and having gotten to experience your teaching first hand. I have to tell you, I think I spent the whole classroom portion of your presentation totally gobsmacked!

I don't think words can express how not only proud and impressed with you I was but how proud I am to be a CALA instructor and member. CALA by no means is an easy qualification to obtain and rightly so. We are the elite of the aqua fitness industry and you in particular, shine above all the rest. Good on you Charlene and I couldn't think of anyone better to be our aquafit ambassador. You are phenomenal at what you do and your presentation totally blew me away!

Although I absolutely loved it all, the raw power of aqua jogging and spinning totally get me fired up, and rest assured I will keep prodding Dylan to bring these programs to Ottawa. I totally concur that Ottawa's Aquafit market is nowhere near close to being tapped yet and I strongly believe CALA will be the true leader in this area with the right leaders promoting it.

Thank you for all your hard work and effort that has gone into making CALA the best. Your time and effort and dedication is appreciated even though we may not always take the time to tell you.

Take care & do come back and visit us soon.


While watching Hockey Night in Canada thought I'd take a time out during Coaches Corner to jot down my impressions of today's "new Moves, Making it Fun" session in Port Colborne. Sometimes it's hard to give adequate feedback on the evaluation form when your brain is trying to process all the new info. In case you don't know, you bear an uncanny resemblance to the host of Coaches Corner Don (Grapes) Cherry. Not so much in looks but in the go get 'em attitude and ability to use your talents to create a career you obviously love.

There was a group of somewhat reluctant participants in the class. You tried to impress upon them the impact they could have on their clients. Speaking from experience, this is SO true. Two years ago (at the age of 46) I finally quit smoking and joined the YMCA to avoid gaining weight and try to repair some of the damage. I started with Aquafit classes because they seemed the least intimidating of the options. Thankfully, the instructor was excellent, due to your seminars and a natural talent to teach. Her encouragement has led me to become certified and volunteer as an instructor. Since starting to teach, the rewards have been amazing. Without exaggeration, I have gotten more positive feedback in the last six months of Aquafit than in 25 years of laboratory technology!

The visual cuing you used was very helpful. It was especially good to see a whole class taught that way rather than a quick demo. It may be one answer to overcoming those chatty ladies floating in the deep end. Speaking of deep, do you have any hints or workshops on combo deep/shallow work-outs. Most of our classes have both types of participants and I sometimes feel like one or the other is being short-changed.

The Africa music was absolutely awesome!

Hi Charlene
I will always push CALA. Waaaay back, when I was looking to be certified as an Aquafit instructor, I checked everyone out by taking workshops and the CALA workshop I attended impressed me the most. In my opinion, CALA is the best training program out there for aquafitness. CALA ROCKS!
Ottawa Aquafitness enthusiast 

I work for The Hills Health Ranch in 108 Mile, BC - a wellness resort.  108 Mile is approximately 5 hours north of Vancouver and the population of our area is under 5000 people.  We do not have a municipal facility, so we hold aquafitness classes in  The Hills hotel pool.  We have a wonderful group of women who have been coming for years - it is the only program that has a 'local' following.  Since we started the CALA program (I was trained with CALA over 4 years ago and brought CALA to The Hills 2 years ago) our attendance has doubled - consistently!  We offer aquafitness everyday at 11am, and during the week, our numbers range from 12-16+ locals and  whatever guests are staying - sometimes our numbers are up to 25! (if you saw our pool, you would be impressed!).  The participants have taken responsibility for their own training and bodies, work very hard to the best of their ability,  and have no more complaints (ah! This is the really great part!)!

In CALA, we offer a serious, educational, always dynamic approach to aquafitness.  We have a wonderful team who recognizes the value of training in the water for all levels:  seniors to athletes to people with injuries to pre/post natal women, and more.  We have marketing tips to help to bring in a clientele that normally would not think of exercising in the water (for example, 108 has a surprisingly large group of runners / triatheletes, and I am in the process of drawing them to the water for cross training with 'Water Running').  
Shelagh Noonan
108 Mile, BC
CALA-BCRPA Aquafitness Trainer

CALA Aqua Yoga:
A Linear Movement Experience Inspires aqua enthusiasts at the Midtown Club, Montreal, Quebec.

Karl and Charlene are offering a 20 hour CALA Aqua Yoga Training Courses in Okotoks, Alberta, Ottawa, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Check www.calainc.org for finalized dates and times.

Quote from Nadia, the mover and shaker to make the CALA Aqua Yoga Masterclass happen at the Midtown Club in Montreal:

"Hello Karl,Thank you for sharing those beautiful flowing ‘one breath at a time’ Aqua Yoga moves with the Midtown Club participants and instructors. It was an awesome Master Class that definitely took our breath away and lit the fire within. I received lots of positive feedback and having the pool filled at full capacity with 39 participants, said it all!.

CALA Creates A Fun Splash in Inuvik

Aquafit is still going strong in Inuvik. I'm back in the saddle again now and Janet and I are splitting up the classes so that neither of us gets "burnt-out" so to speak. It's amazing how much my body rebelled at not having regular Aquafit last fall - my arthritis started bothering me again and I just didn't feel well. Now that I'm back in the pool regularly, the transformation is remarkable. I feel lively again and I'm sleeping better. I honestly believe that working out in the pool is the best fitness tool - its target the whole system, is easy tailored to each person's needs and preferences, offers the best, most efficient "circuit training" for those interested in HIIT, and substantially limits the opportunity for stress injury. What's not to love!! But I guess I'm preaching to the converted!! LOL

I am the programs coordinator at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  I want to ensure you that the money spent to train your instructors with CALA is a wise investment.  CALA is an organization that is about more than just the certification process...they are a committed to providing a high standard of aquatic leadership through continued education and support.  Once you become part of CALA, you become part of a family which will help your facility grow and prosper.  From day one, CALA has been there to answer any questions that I might have, and believe me, I have a lot of questions.  I have been in the fitness industry for almost 20 years, and of all the courses and associations that I have been affiliated with, CALA definitely is on the top of the list.  The course outline is longer than most Aquafit programs out there, however, it thoroughly gives you hands-on practical application along with the theory that is needed to make for a top notch leader.  Most other course provide participants with a condensed version of theory and not much practical application and push the participants out the door with no mentoring or reputable certification process.

When I came on board at Acadia, there was no consistency, growth or variety to our Aquafit program, which was very frustrating to both the staff and participants.  Since then, we have doubled our Aquafit attendance, and the rehabilitation centers now recognize the high quality of CALA training and refer clients to us to take part in regular Aquafit classes for post rehab (we also do aquatic personal training and work with the athletics departments to cross train sports specific groups).  Aquafit isn't "just for seniors" anymore and can be adapted to all fitness levels and limitations.  50% of my clientel are university age students who, once learning the advantages of training in water verses land, much prefer to go to an Aquafit class rather than a land based class.  The beauty of working with CALA is that you learn how to market and improve your client base.  CALA provides leaders with the ability to not just lead a class, but to educate while they lead.

I was so impressed with the CALA approach, that I have spent the last year working towards becoming a trainer for the CALA program.  I was fortunate to meet and be able to work with Shelagh Noonan over the last year and she is an awesome trainer.  The two of us joke as we are the Canadian Shanghi Noon trainers "east meets west". 

I hope this helps with your decision to bring CALA to your area.  It will be well worth it.
Angela Curry,
Programs Coordinator
Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

In four years the facility that I teach at has gone from 3 morning aquafitness classes to 10 each week. The clientele has become stronger, healthier, and happier. I took a class of 20 who had been exercising in the shallow water for over 20 years, to a clientele base that exceeds 250 in deeper waters. The participants love the variety that I offer; aqua jogging, aqua spinning, aqua tai chi, aqua cardio, and arthritis. They say they love it when they travel to other centers that also have a CALA certified lead class, they understand the cueing, the signs and most of all they know what to expect. They understand their muscles, how to make them work harder in the water, they understand the principals of the water, knowledge they did not know or understand before CALA. I could go on.

I worked with the nay sayers, I was told many times that the participants didn't want to change, and yes there were a few who didn't like it. However the majority loved the changes. The CALA program is solid, no participant could change my mind that the old way was better. It has taken four years to evolve. I only started aqua tai chi this past fall, but they the particpants were ready for an additional challenge.

If you have any questions I would love to answer them. 
Marlene Cairns

We have been offering CALA aquafitness classes at our facility for the past 7+ years. Our classes average 20-30 people each time. The quality of training our instructors have received from CALA is the reason these classes are so popular. Our customers rave that our classes are fun, energetic and effective. We have had customers from out of town who say they can tell we offer CALA Quality by the way we teach and that it is by far the best class they've done. In addition to our 7 aquafitness classes per week we also offer 3 Aquajogging classes (we had to add another class due to popular demand). This is also a CALA program that has been very successful for us. We average 30 people per class ranging in ages and fitness abilities as well as good representation of both male and female.  Many of our Aquajogging participants have said it's the best work out they've ever had! It's important to note that Whitehorse is a community of around 20,000 people so we're pretty proud of the numbers we get. From a revenue stand point with mostly adult admissions- CALA training is well worth it. I think your community will be pleasantly surprised with how good Aquafit can be.  Your instructors will enjoy the courses taught by CALA (Shelagh and Charlene are fantastic!) and will be motivated to lead great classes. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.  Best of luck with your programming.
Aquatic Programmer
City of Whitehorse

Tidal Wave CDs
One of your last comments this morning as you were busily getting the weekend conference underway,  referred to the two Tidal Wave CDs you passed on to me.  You said: "I hope you like these "Wow, Charlene Tidal Wave 2 is awesome. I used the first 2nd with my deep water class at Vic Road centre. A pool full of participants, working their butts off not only under my direction but the incredible music which accompanied them. They commented on how wonderful the music was. Within an hour I had my second class arrive - the Easy Movin class -
once again a pool full of happy energized elderly participants. I informed them that they were about to be the first class to experience CD number 2 of Tidal Wave 2. These elderly people are very particular about the music they require and they know I have tons of music to suit their needs. I was not sure they would appreciate the CD. Holy Cow !!! CD 2 was just as good as CD 1 - one of the elderly participants commented during the session - " Sil where do you find all the great music you provide for us?" In fact I have at times ordered CDs at their request - I never burn or copy anything. I will be using Tidal Wave 3 on Monday - my morning class and my evening class. It was indeed worth the wait for these CDs You and your staff do an amazing job in selecting music for your Tidal Wave series. The music you select seems to satisfy everyone's needs - young and elderly alike. Thanks again for caring to provide only the best for us. 
Sil Valeriote

CALA Trainer and Presenter, Karl Notargiovanni shines as he spreads the CALA philosophy of mind thinking, body moving and spirit soaring at the Manitoba Fitness Conference, October 2012.

Hi Karl....before we get too far away from the event, I just wanted to tell you what a pleasure it was to meet you and how much I enjoyed your presentations. I especially appreciated your expertise, your passion and your approachability :)

I think that you managed to inspire quite a few people.....I'm hearing of several classes where the non-verbal cueing was used last week. The instructors were quite impressed....seems like that was something new for most of them to consider ! I meant it when I asked if you'd come back to Winnipeg....and I'd welcome any suggestions that you might have for future workshops.

So thanks again....you were just what the doctor ordered. Looking forward to a next time !"

Jan, MFC Aqua Committee

Hi Pat Richards,
Just wanted to say thank you for all that you have taught us during the Vertical Water Course and the Group Aqua Fit course. They were great classes and I really loved the personal items that you included to make it real.

Thank You. Carol Alford

Nadia Karawani:  It is with great pride that I have achieved and continue to maintain professional status as a CALA Certified Leader Specializing in Group Aqua Fitness, Aqua Natal and Aqua Arthritis & Joint Disorders. For 18 years I instructed Aqua Arthritis and Aqua for Seniors Classes at the 'YWCA'.  Presently, I am celebrating my ninth  year at the Midtown Le Sporting Club du Sanctuaire as a Group Aqua Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer for Aqua Post Rehab & Aqua Natal.

 My philosophy in life: Have a 'Positive' attitude: Learn to use your adversity in life to work for you rather than against you. If your adversity is suffering from a chronic disease, such as, RA, OA, MS, FMS use it as a positive challenge and move towards success as opposed to failure. Set yourself as an example for others. I have used my Arthritis (in remission now) to become a 'JOINT' Ambassadress for CALA.  Finding my passion in the magical healing power of water and by integrating the mind, body and spirit in a holistic approach, has enabled me to make a difference in other people's wellness. The best gift I can ask for!

 I am proud that I have been selected, for the third time, among the 'top 9' group for the 'Star Program' which the Midtown Club launches periodically in recognition of excellent contribution, great skills of teaching and commitment towards servicing the Club's Members.

 So if I can do it you can do it!

I wanted to give you my personal feedback on the Vertical Water Training course I took this past weekend in Malton taught by Charlene Kopansky.
As someone who has taken many certifications and workshops and at times felt it was a waste of my money and time. I can share with you that this was a very positive experience where the time spent both in the classroom and pool were extremely valuable in terms of knowledge gained. This was a very empowering approach to learning and one that from my perspective every participant walked out of there with so much to share with others and bring to their classes that will be taught for The City of Mississauga and surrounding areas.
As someone who has done program planning for a municipality I know how important it is to get feedback on how programs are running. This one is time and money well spent!

I was reading through the CALA Water Running and Aqua Jogging Resource manual. I love the section in Chapter 2 about the Mind-Body-Spirit connection. The role of the instructor is discussed & how the Instructor's "energy" basically will affect even the body chemistry of the participants. Once the participants feel positive, it will then generate group cohesiveness and will attract yet more participants. At a further level it would affect them in their lives outside the water, leading to random acts of kindness. I LOVE that! To think that something that starts with a physical workout develops into something that can touch someone so deeply as to have a ripple effect on the people around them … OUTSIDE the pool! That is soooooo wonderful! I know you have seen this as you were part of the team that created the program but I wanted to say how deeply it just touched me. Thank-you so much for the amazing programs you offer.

New instructors, take time to find a great mentor. Their help is priceless and it makes you more than an instructor. They can be a great contact once you are certified. They may even help you find classes to practice before your assessment. Take advantage of every opportunity available to you. Your mentor can talk to you about dealing with situations, pool and pool deck health and safety regulations, facility expectations and establishing relationships with your participants. Contact CALA, who will help you find a mentor in your area. Once you get certified subbing at several locations will give you exposure to different pool layouts, depths of water and participants. Learn from every opportunity presented to you. Attend as many classes to learn from other instructors. Experience is the best teacher, you can only learn so much through text. A lesson plan looks good on paper but only by teaching a class do you know if it works. 

The excitement and enthusiasm you brought to Clarkson was catching. Your light shines brightly and although I can’t speak for everyone, many of us felt it. The VWT course was a joy to take. To advance my own education with a diverse, fun loving and motivated group of individuals, and to have the classes lead by knowledgeable, supportive and passionate leaders was a dream. I’m very thankful to have been able to take your broad spectrum program (facts, implications and applications), as well as dive into the dynamic activities offered. You and Mary Lou were awesome. (Too bad you aren’t paid by sweat equity!) I’m really impressed by the quality and depth of information in this program and look forward to taking future courses with CALA. THANK YOU, CHARLENE!

Regarding CALA VWT Course at Clarkson Community Centre in Mississauga. Hi Charlene, Just wanted to thank you once again for an amazing course this past weekend! I learned so much and have a new appreciation for aquafitness and water therapy. I also greatly enjoyed the enthusiasm and energy you and MaryLou displayed, and how you were able to engage us all. It made for a very exciting three days! Hope to take more courses with you in the future!

CALA Certified Leader who attended the Aqua Sessions facilitated by CALA Presenters at the canfitpro conference in Montreal, Quebec, Feb 4, 5, 2012: "Hey Charlene. I just wanted to say that CALA really stepped up this year. All the workshops I took were really fabulous. I can feel every muscle in my body today. That vertical water running was brutal. Marie Claude's aquanatal really addressed pregnant ladies and their issues, and her authenticity and passion is just a delight. Your "Feel the difference" threw everything out and went way out of the box...I loved it...it really fuelled creativity. Dylan's choreography was a great way to end the weekend. What a blast!! I have to say it really makes a difference when you're there to represent CALA. My new team at Dollard Des Ormeau were blown away. They never met you, and can see how selective you are when it comes to your trainers..i.e...Carol Weerdenburg... amazing and sooooooo sincere. She was the first trainer they met at my facility with Marie Claude Leblanc. Now they all feel connected. That was my intention too. Have a great week!

My goal was simple: Earn my CALA Group Aqua Fitness certification. It was “just another cert” to make me more versatile … or so I thought.
The seminars were of utmost quality thanks to awesome instructor-trainers & detailed course materials. Ideally the course would last for weeks but who has that kind of time? This is where a mentor comes in … I met her at the CALA training: "Don't you teach at my gym?" She offered to mentor me. Little did I know how she would empower me.  To describe what she did (& still does for me) in a few words would not do her justice. A mentor has been through what you have & can help steer you in the right direction, help you focus. She can pick you up when you fall, give you encouragement & get you upright again. I guess one could get certified without a mentor but they would not have done as well as I did with her: “You have passed With Distinction, Carole.” Say what??? A year ago this was supposed to be “just another cert”!

This does not mean it’s easier & less work. Prepare to work hard: The bar is raised, expectations are higher! If you are a know-it-all, lazy, need instant success, cannot take constructive criticism, do not want to grow … then don’t waste a mentor’s time. You need to trust, be open-minded, resilient, tenacious, & secure enough to accept direction from your mentor who is a subject matter expert. She was my “Main Mentor” but I had many more: The patient & often very blunt participants (God bless them) who attended classes I co-taught. It all seemed obvious … but isn’t that what we usually forget about? The “obvious”? “Smile” was the most obvious. What a BIG difference that made. When I smiled, the participants smiled back, the pool “rocked” & I felt GOOD! I was able to relax & unleash all the powerful knowledge bestowed on me by CALA & especially my mentor.

I recently became a certified GAF Instructor through the City of Mississauga's CALA Aqua Fitness Program. The purpose of this letter is to let those responsible for offering and promoting these classes know how significant this education and training has been to me in my life. Not only were the CALA courses helpful, informative and interesting, they've changed my life for the better. Many years ago when I completed my high school education, I applied to a couple of colleges in hopes of pursuing an Aerobics Instructor Diploma - I was not accepted and I took this a sign that it wasn't meant to be, so I gave up on the possibility of teaching fitness. I've spent the last 27 years working in offices, and although I progressed well and supported myself and my family comfortably, I have not felt self fulfilled in my work. In fact, the dissatisfaction with sedentary office work has increasingly plagued me. Aqua fit instructing has changed this path for me. I feel like I'm actually "doing" something; I've gained confidence I never thought I'd had; I'm loving helping others with their own physical successes; and most importantly, I'm employing the tools and education I've learned and earned through the City's CALA Aqua program and I'm finally happy in my work. I love every minute I teach and I know the participants absorb a part of this inspiration and joy in my classes.

As I now pursue other CALA Certifications with the City of Mississauga, such as my current focus on Aqua Therapy, I am continuously impressed by the course content and excited about the multitude of opportunity this field of expertise leads to. I hope to master some very vital skills that will enable me to play a role in my client's improved overall health and well being by supporting their growth in their physical, mental and emotional fitness. I am convinced that I will make a difference to someone, and help them conquer even the slightest personal challenges standing before them. I would not be able to write this letter today, if it weren't for the City of Mississauga's course offerings and affordable, convenient CALA Certification programs. Their significance and possibilities for health and fitness not only reach the class participant, they feed the CALA instructor. I hope when reading this, you do feel a sense of my gratitude and enlightenment, and I hope somehow it makes you feel somewhat of the same within yourselves in hosting these accomplishments. Kind regards,

Someone called my house to say congratulations on passing my CALA aqua fitness training from your office, I have no clue who it was as they never left their name, but just wanted to say "Thank you" to that person, I love teaching my 1 hour class twice a week. My class, it is awesome to see mature people getting fit and enjoying the joys of the water.  I even have 2 teens coming to my class who are very overweight and starting a weight loss journey - it is nice to mentor them, and see how the aqua class is helping them become more active as they feel they are not ready to go into the gym area yet.  This is a awesome first step for them. 

I am so proud to be a CALA aqua trainer and love the program, even went into some other people's classes to check them out and their moves, yep stole a few to add to my class.

Cora says: "Thanks so much again for making the VWT course an enjoyable experience. You take the time to personalize the training for each participant and go above and beyond to make sure your students understand the concepts needed to be successful instructors. There was a lot of material to go through - the anatomy section was a bit much for me but you had a great suggestion to learn it in sections and to keep my future participants educated and informed. I'm soooo looking forward to representing CALA as an instructor and look forward to participating in other courses and/or workshops/conferences with you again."

Sara says...." I really feel pride being affiliated with CALA. I truly believe that there is an integrity, passion & dedication toward being life long learners and setting a standard in aquafitness. I was super pleased with this course and I am so pumped for the next one."

Natalie says.... "I wanted to thank you for this weekends VWT course. I really enjoyed it and just registered for the aqua yoga in June. I also feel it would really benefit me to also take the Group Aqua in July (Mississauga at the Huron Park Community Centre). I was wondering whether it is a possibility to save a spot in the course. Thank you again, I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to meet and learn from you.

Thoughts expressed by a passionate CALA Certified Leader in the Toronto area, Certified in the following Specialties: Group Aquafitness, Healing Waters: Aquatic Post Rehab and almost certified in Aqua Yoga...“When I got certified in aquafit, it was totally with the mind set of "this is something extra, it won't be my main thing." Then I took the CALA Foundations of Vertical Water Training course & yes, I could understand & see & FEEL the benefits of training in water as I created & played with different moves & combos.  However, do you know what's really odd?  I am experiencing "growth spurts".  Not sure how else to describe them but it's like, I learn something new & get excited & I want to learn more & MORE!  My greatest source of inspiration & energy:  My participants.  They help keep me excited. And I help to keep the workout experiences fresh.  Yes we work out but I am finding more fun in using imagery & creating "games" we can play while they get a workout.  Biggest problem:  There never seems to be enough TIME!  The class it over before I know it!  Ok enough of my banter.  Just wanted to say how happy I am to be a CALA Certified aquafitness instructor!  From the 6 month old babies to my 99 year old jewels ... they all keep me pumped!

Conference Feedback


WOW Charlene, this looks ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!! What a wonderful way to celebrate 20 yrs of CALA! I would love to be there, but it's not possible, and thanks for sending me this information. I'm glad I don't have to make any session choices, as they all look wonderful and I would be seriously hard pressed to make a decision between each one. May you all have an incredible aqua time on that weekend, and I will be thinking of you then. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate." Lots of love Samantha, from Pretoria, South Africa!


Charlene, You are amazing. The success in your life has come from your soul. Keep it up!" Bunty, West Coast of Canada


"Charlene, Congratulations for your successful 20 yrs. I've enjoyed your materials and wish I could come to this exciting conference but it's a little too far for a trip in winter. If you do any videos or handouts I would be interested in purchasing. Thanks for the Invitation." Janice from Pennsylvania, USA.


"Hello Charlene; Congratulations-20 yrs of aquatic training. This will be an exciting conference for you. I hope you have a moment to reflect on your success and hard, dedicated work. Are you heading west in the near future?" Debra, Vancouver Island, Canada


Hope you thought the conference was a success. 20 yrs is nothing to sneeze at! CONGRATULATIONS!! I learned a ton, and found your presenters to be incredibly enthusiastic (as they always are), generous in sharing their knowledge, (not to mention, deeply knowledgeable on their topics of their presentation). It was exciting to participate. I came away newly energized and ready to get back in the game. From my perspective--it was Great!  Thank you for putting together such a wonderful team--Thank you also to the team for bringing their A-game. (As an aside, I think the new certifications CALA is developing are super-both essential and timely.)--Kudos!!!! Keep up the superb job! With Gratitude, Ann from Toronto


Hi Charlene, I've been meaning to write all winter and here I am................congrats on those 20 yrs. i remember us well at U of C for one of your first Alberta workshops!!! AND look at you now. I think I still have my original membership card  Enjoy your April Conference and party for me!!!!! Message from Lynn Borrowman, Canmore, Alberta


Hi Charlene, Grateful thanks for your program that was in the Mail, unfortunately as you are aware it is just not possible to attend- the South African rand is very weak at present. It is great to see that CALA is doing so well and serving their membership with such a great event. Trust that you had a great turnout! Chat you again soon. Yours in Aqua and from sunny South Africa, Sue Pampara


Hi Beautiful, Hope your conference was a fantabulous occasion. What fun it must have been and so satisfying. Congratulations to you, I was thinking of so much.  What a fun time was had in Nelson, New Zealand. Oh my, oh my, what a beautiful part of the world and so glad we could share some wonderful days and memories together with you and Alistair.  Talk soon Much Love  Message from Linden Louise Cowan, North Island, New Zealand

Thank you... our AQUA QUEEN! Without your vision and passion for sharing the gift of movement... deep from within, ALL of us would not have experienced this magical journey with you, for you and to everyone that we meet along the way. You are a beautiful friend, mentor and Woman.... that is a big WOW! This was an amazing weekend for everyone that shared of themselves with each other. Felt the love and deep appreciation from and for everyone. ((HUGS)) to you 'sister of the water'  Mary Lou!

Thank you for another wonderful CALA event. So much to learn and experience in such a short period of time. Having these opportunities to share with other leaders is inspiring. We can learn so much from each other. Having these events allows us to continue our growth in the Aquafit world. Our imaginations are our only limitation. Fellow instructors, be creative and introduce new things on a regular basis.

Healing Waters Program Testimonial

To the CALA team

After having just completing the evaluation process for the Healing Waters Course I want to thank the whole team for making the experience so positive. Right from the start getting my many questions answered and setting up registration from Ottawa was welcoming and made the decision to go ahead with the course very easy. During the course Linda and Janet were very professional and shared their knowledge on a level that was able to reach all participants. Questions were welcome, practice in the water was well balanced and really helped hit the theory home. We also benefited by sharing the experience of other participants. The course content was informative and will be applicable in both specialty and main stream classes that have varied participants. How fortunate Linda and her team are to have such a great facility to work in. The exam process was again very accommodating, I appreciate being able to write the exams in Ottawa, and have my supervisor act as proctor. This definitely helped complete the certification process in a good time frame. As always this CALA training like past experience has left me with a lot of new knowledge and skill, as well as confirming there is always more to learn and expand on. The addition of the AET text was very helpful as an extra recourse.

In conclusion, thank you to all for being part of "the team" and for providing the education that helps make us better leaders.

Nancy Peever, Kanata, Ontario

Other feedback includes:

  • "CALA knows the importance of offering both practical and theory to their courses. The Foundation Course provides you with knowledge needed to conduct safe and effective classes. Participating in the Workshops, Specialty Courses and Conferences, you are able to develop an extensive repertoire of movements and feel confident instructing a variety of classes."
  • Charlene after attending one of your sessions your awesome session left the following impression:
    • You display such patience
    • You Greet & Welcome All
    • You smiling often
    • You have excellent eye contact
    • You are charismatic
    • You are helpful & thoughtful
    • You are a people person
    • Your present a very smooth flow of exercises
    • You are expressive
    • You give excellent safety cues and count-down
    • You are enthusiastic
    • You are completely into it
    • You show confidence
    • You use a variety of music integration
    • You were all what a participant whose learning the ropes could expect and more! When I attend a class like yours I try and do so with an "empty mind" - hoping to take in whatever I can from every unique opportunity like yesterday's. 
  • Great awesome web page that provides you with extensive information about CALA and their offerings. 
  • Love seeing all the pictures that represent the diverse places and groups of people who participate in the CALA offerings.
  • "CALA is always there to help you be successful." 
  • "CALA immediately makes you feel like a member of the family."
  • "Their standards are high but you can be assured your leader knows their material."
  • "CALA teaches you how to be an effective and result oriented instructor."
  • "CALA offers you so many opportunities to further your development. You are expected to keep your knowledge current by participating in courses, workshops and conferences. We all welcome new ideas for our classes."
  • "The quarterly CALA Wavelink (Spring 2003 or Summer 2003) newsletter provides so much useful information on choreography, the body, movements, health issues, upcoming etc. We would be lost without it."
  • "When you are CALA Trained you know that your certification is internationally recognized and respected." 
  • "CALA is always looking to develop new and exciting courses and workshops that address the populations requirements."
  • "CALA members are open to sharing their knowledge and skills."
  • "CALA has an open door policy and welcomes feedback from all members."

Testimonial - Ottawa 1 Day Conference

Hi to everyone at the office. 
Thanks for the great effort put forth to provide the training day in Ottawa. The use of the facility was great. There was lots of opportunity to meet other instructors as well as keep everything together in the meeting room, avoiding people being scattered out. Also the space available in the pool was roomy enough that we weren't too crowded and the other people in the pool we shared with were very compatible. At no time did I get the feeling that it was so busy we would get distracted. And I will definitely mention the way the presenters on deck kept everyone focused and connected with the group. The course content was varied enough to give something to everyone which is very hard when you don't have the luxury of offering multiple sessions in each time slot. I just wanted to pass on how much it was appreciated that the event was given and I hope you got the feel that there is both a need and appreciation for these events for such training in our area. 
Thanks again for the commitment by all involved especially Charlene, Chantal, Amanda, Angela, Line, and all the other behind the scenes supporters. Nancy

Aqua Jogging

Aqua Jogging is one of the best forms of exercises for when you are injured I can't say I enjoyed my time in the pool as I was in it so much but the benefits were huge. A lot of 'on camp with Kelly' girls have been doing this over the course of the winter because of injuries but they are all coming out this season flying.

I think it is a great way of keeping fit so try it if you haven't!

Linda Kanninen

Quote from: Dame Kelley Holmes on Water Running.  Kelly (double Olympic Gold Medalist 800 & 1500m  The link is http://www.doublegold.co.uk/

If you would like to have your testimonial listed, contact CALA.

Participants of CALA Classes Speak Out

It’s now been two weeks and I’ve tried a few classes, everything from Zumba and Shebam to that Yoga/TaiChi mix. They were all good but I was starting to feel pretty uncoordinated and uninspired until I met a special instructor and tried her Aqua fit class. I did the class for the first time this morning and am feeling on top of the world! She is an incredible teacher and made me feel graceful and inspired. I’m so happy I did this class this morning and because of her, I’m going to take out membership. Too many people are quick to complain and slow to acknowledge when things have gone above and beyond and I wanted to make sure that you’re aware the amazing work your instructors do.

Thank you for such respectful instructors who care about the participants. They take time to explain why we are doing each exercise. They keep an eye on us to ensure we move correctly. They take time to make sure everyone has a great class. Thank you for teaching on deck. Easy to see the instructor and they can see us.

After taking waterfitness classes at various places I grew to hate it but now that I have arthritis my doctor said I need to get back in the water. Finding the right class has been a challenge because of my negative experiences. I was convince into taking this instructors class and to my surprise I found someone who knew what they were doing. My opinion has changed and now look forward to each class. We don't play silly games or use crazy equipment that causes me pain. Can't believe I go to class in pain and leave ready to dance the night away.

I thought I would share this story with you:
Mom (turning 80 on August 26 this year) attends aquafit classes in Montreal. About 10 days ago she took a spill (not at the pool); she hurt her right knee & fractured the pinky finger on her right hand. The pinky is in a splint & the knee is healing slowly. It was mostly scabbed/cut, no damage to the knee itself thank God but obviously she cannot go to the pool w an open wound.
So these are the messages I am getting about missing her aqua classes:
"I miss it so much."
"I miss my friends. When can I go back?"
"I find myself driving by the pool wanting to go in & just look at it."
"My knee is getting stiff. I think I have to go back ... for the sake of my knee of course. What do you think?"
For someone who really does not like to move because she has arthritis & so many other reasons, this is proof that aquafit can get anyone to participate. It affects Mom on so many different levels: physically, socially, emotionally.
Aqua rocks!

I was on vacation and they had Aquafit classes. How exciting, I would not miss a day. Got up early and headed to the pool. Not sure where this instructor got their training.  We played games and did very little exercise. For a resort I guess that is what they offer. After lunch my friends and I went back to the pool and I did the exercises just like my instructor. My friends were not alone for very long. Eventually we had a big group joining us and they asked if I would be doing another class tomorrow. Thanks to my instructor's great leadership, I did not miss my class, I did it myself.

As a land instructor of many disciplines for many years, I did not give much thought to the Aqua programs. Yes people loved them and said they were a hard workout but I had no idea what a workout they were until I went on holiday and took a class. How do you people do it.  I was exhausted after the first few minutes. My arms we going in one direction, my legs in another, the water was pushing me all over which made it difficult to stay on one spot and balanced. Even my head was getting a workout trying to co-ordinate my body. Now when I look in the window as I pass the seniors doing their Aquafit, I have more respect for their abilities. No one told me how heavy the water was. It really is a total body workout. I felt it the next day.

I have been doing aquafit for just 3 weeks.  I knew it would be great for me but the feelings I was looking to experience did not happen until this Saturday. I woke with an unexplained energy a the result of one wicked aquafit class Thursday night. I started my Saturday at 7 in the morning and was able to dance into the late hours. Did I forget to say I was 75 years. Now this is what I was looking for. You won't stop me now. Last night when the instructor put on the Latin music my hips just started a mov'n. Now that is music to move to. I am close to tossing my cane thanks to aquafit.


CALA • Toronto, Ontario • M1R 3W6 • Canada  •  Phone: 416-751-9823 • CALA_AQUA@mac.com 


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