Liz Richards, Acupuncturist and Blossom owner, taking a leap with her barre3 core ball.
Barre3 Review: Blossom Biz Shout Outs are a series of heartfelt blog posts covering local businesses in the health, fitness, food, and fashion industries. This is my review of barre3, a full body 60 minute workout that combines the best of yoga, pilates, ballet, and modern fitness physiology.
“Once your physical core gets stronger, the rest of your life will naturally follow suit.”
I had this thought as I walked out of the barre3 studio and into the glorious sunshine last week. This thought was not just inspired by the endorphin high of exercise or the feeling of peace after doing something that felt so good. I was reflecting on how doing something regularly over a period of time had long-term benefits and how those benefits had naturally spilled over into the rest of my life.
barre3 childcare fun!
I began my barre3 practice in November, 2012. My initial goal was mostly vain- to feel OK in my bathing suit for an upcoming trip to Mexico. As a 38-year-old woman with a full life, I needed to make a solid commitment to exercise or else excuses would find me begrudgingly participating in domestic duties. So, I bought a class package, scheduled my classes online, brought my kids with me two-thirds of the time (they have childcare!) and within 6 weeks I had attended over 20 classes. The end result? I felt pretty damn good and I didn’t look bad either.
I continued classes when I returned from my trip and by February I started noticing that the classes weren’t necessarily getting easier. That is the thing about this kind of fitness work: the deeper you gain strength, the deeper you can delve into the practice and the harder you work. I also started becoming aware that the coccyx pain I had endured for years was no longer present! And I was having fun.
My photo in Oprah Mag by Je Suis Belle Studios, Portland, OR
In May 2013, I had a tiny feature in the age issue of Oprah Magazine. I felt proud to be part of such an inspiring issue and I was happy to share what I love most about getting older- the mental strength and confidence that comes with time.
By the summer, things were coming together for me on multiple levels. I was faced with a challenging family circumstance that could have easily swept me up in its drama. I was able to gauge my internal reactions and stay strong and neutral. My husband and I were a great team and felt like we survived something big! (I also have to thank my Archetypal Pattern Analyst for the amazing foundation work that we had done over the past year- Thanks Shannon!)
I have come to realize that I am not the only barre3 student who has recognized this: Once your physical core gets stronger, the rest of your life will naturally follow suit.
I look around the room sometimes during class and wish I had a camera to capture the beautiful, strong (and sweaty) women around me!
My girlfriend, Uma, says,
“I came to Barre3 after three years of infertility treatment, a twin pregnancy, and finally, an abdominal hysterectomy. I was emotionally fragile and physically disconnected, and felt so embarrassed after my first class due to my intense body shakes that it took me six months to come back. It’s been over a year now of regular classes and I feel like a different person – plus I can actually feel my core! Being someone who lacks the discipline to work-out on my own, I feel so incredibly grateful to have found a discipline that brings so much balance and satisfaction to my life. “
I witnessed my friend, Jennifer, go through some challenging times while maintaining her barre3 practice. She says,
“Barre3 taught me how to be present in mind and body during a time of true chaos and struggle in my life. That was a true gift!”
My other friend, Sarah, was able to support Jennifer in her tough time and shared a similar sentiment:
“Barre3 has been an anchor that’s grounded me in a journey towards taking better care of myself. Getting stronger physically and making time for myself inspired me to eat better. Physically, my body thrived, and physical wellness made way for emotional wellness. All of my relationships- with my husband, child, friends and family are richer. I am more able to give to others because I have made time to take care of myself first.”
My peaceful view from the mat at the Pearl barre3 Studio
Don’t be intimated by the barre. Think of it as just another tool to get you where you would like to be. You do not need to have any ballet background to enjoy the class and benefit from it. My athletic husband comes with me on Saturdays and he loves it not just because he is surrounded by “the ladies”, but because the class allows him to effectively access and strengthen the smaller stabilizing muscles. Barre3 has made our yoga practices stronger too!
Life is a journey and you never know what might help you find stability. For me, my trusted barre3 classes have made me stronger and for that I am grateful!