So recently I’ve had the pleasure of stepping out my comfort zone and trying a new exercise class. The reason I say stepping out of my comfort zone, is because I’ve generally not been tempted to really try exercise classes before. I always have visions of not being able to keep up, or other people looking at me thinking ‘what the hell is she doing?’ the only successful class I’ve tried is yoga, and I’ve always enjoyed this because yoga is a such a personal thing, and I don’t believe it is competitive at all.
So when I was approached about trying a Barre class, I was a little nervous but it sounded too good not to give it a go! The first class I tried, was back in January and I have been in love ever since! The class I attend is called Barre Balance and there are so many reasons that I found myself loving these classes, but I wanted to share a few of the main reasons you can fall in love with Barre too.
Barre is a beautiful blend of Pilates, Yoga and Ballet and the goal really is to take that hour in class, to take some time for you, think about what makes you grateful and to come out feeling better than when you arrived. From the first class, balance was such a major focus for all of us to keep in mind and it is something I have taken away with me into my everyday life. We hear the word balance so much that sometimes we can often lose focus of what it means. I feel as though these classes have inspired me to truly seek balance everyday. I find myself motivated to eat a little healthier, check in with myself and what I need each day and most importantly to not feel guilt for looking after myself first. Between hectic schedules, busy work days and a million other worries we walk around with, taking an hour for yourself to unwind, work your body and come out feeling amazing, sounds like the perfect balance to me.
Of course as beautiful as having time to relax and come away feeling calm is, what is an exercise class without feeling the burn! Let me tell you, Barre is no joke. It focuses on small, micro movements that seem so innocent to begin with, but are absolute killers. Very quickly you feel like your legs might actually fall off, but somehow you manage to get through it and feel so much better for it. We are encouraged to smile through the pain, which is also something I love about this class, it makes you smile no matter what. You feel strong and if you can make it through those exercises, you feel proud and like you can do anything. It’s very much mind over matter.
You don’t come away dripping in sweat, but you do feel like you have worked your entire body and as though you have really toned and refined those gorgeous muscles. I love how I feel after a class and I quite like that you don’t end up completely sweaty. If you feel as though you need to sweat a lot, then balancing a run, or gym trip with these classes is a great way to get an extra burn and tone up everywhere. I guarantee you will feel the benefit from the first class and will keep coming back.
Another focus of the class, if not the main focus, is all about Self-love. We begin class by taking a few minutes to set an intention for ourselves and we end the class reflecting on this and continuing with this into the week or weekend ahead. I love this idea, and I have found myself feeling a lot calmer in recent weeks and even more aware of what I need to feel better in that particular day or week.
This class is honestly a fantastic way to take care of yourself. Even if you can only attend once a week, it will probably be the highlight of your day or week! Exercise does naturally boost your mood, but something about Barre seems to elevate it further. I think the relaxation part of the class really is the perfect way to end the session. It’s a little reward for working hard and it’s 5 minutes where you can switch off and just be present with you. Too often we are made to feel bad for taking some time for ourselves, whether that be taking yourself shopping, a little solo coffee date or even just pampering yourself with a little at home spa day. People seem to mix up self-care with selfishness at times, but Barre balance has really instilled in me how important it is to take time for you. Even if this class is the only time you do, you see the benefit right away! There is even tea available after class to relax you even further, as I we know, everything is a little better after a cup of tea.
Now all of the above is a reflection on Barre and my first experience with it, but I truly believe that my enjoyment for this class would not be as high without the fabulous woman behind it! Natalie is honestly so joyful and happy and most importantly passionate about these classes! When someone is passionate about what they do, it radiates out of them and that is what I have seen from every class.
As soon as Natalie arrives she is bubbly, excited and somehow changes your mood from perhaps a little tired from the work day to inspired and ready to move and work hard. Not only does Natalie have this amazing spark that inspires us girls in class, but she also clearly is a wonderful advertisement for Barre itself! The energy this lovely lady has is something to be admired and aspire to. Basically whatever magic life potion Natalie is sipping on, I want to give it a try!
Saying yes to trying these classes is one of the best things I’ve done for my body and mind in a long time. After Christmas I was definitely in a slump, but now I feel inspired to get myself back to the gym, take better care of myself and make time to attend these classes in order to provide myself with this amazing feeling of self-love and a better appreciation for life!
Why not check out Barre Balance if you are in the local area, and if not look out for a class near you! It will be the best thing you do for yourself… I promise!