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1) What is barre?

In the 1950s/1960s, a German dancer by the name of Lotte Berk, created barre exercises. She created these exercises originally, as a means to help rehabilitate her back. Since then, barre has evolved and exists in countless forms throughout the nation. In short, barre is a combination of ballet, pilates and yoga fused together. The overall premise is that you work your muscles until utter exhaustion, and then you stretch them in order to achieve a dancer’s physique. Barre exercises are low-impact and classes often incorporate small weights, exercise balls, bands, and mats.

2) What is barre-OM® and how is it distinct from other methods?

Barre-OM® is distinct from other methods for several reasons. 1) Barre-OM® is more yoga-inspired. As a 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified instructor, I created a method that involves longer stretching in between different parts of classes. 2) Ample modifications are offered in classes. Barre-OM® does not take a one-size fits all approach. Everyone’s body is different. Some people have anatomical challenges that prevent them from completing certain exercises safely and effectively. We make a concerted effort to offer modifications throughout classes. 3) Barre-OM® encourages clients to find the balance between effort and ease. Great focus, effort, and stamina is required to complete certain sections of class. However, it is just as important to balance that out by breathing slowly during the stretches and calming the mind. Barre-OM® also incorporates a meditative aspect at the end of classes for clients to reflect upon their experiences and to quiet the mind. 4) Barre-OM® offers different types of classes and workshops, including 45 minute classes, 60 minute classes, barre/yoga fusion classes, workshops etc. 5) Barre-OM® instructors provide thoughtful, meaningful, and individualized hands-on adjustments/corrections to clients during classes. Clients are paying for a service, and we make a concerted effort to ensure that clients are moving safely and experiencing maximum results.

3) When and why did you start taking barre classes?

I started taking barre classes in early 2011 during my final year of law school in Ann Arbor, MI. I initially started taking barre classes because a good friend of mine said it would change my body completely. Needless to say, that was the incentive that I needed! As a former athlete, I was used to lifting heavy weights, running, playing sports etc. Barre challenged me in a completely different way. I had tears in my eyes during center abs because it was so challenging for me to hold that c-curve for an extended period of time.

Over time I saw changes not only physically but mentally too. Barre classes have the ability to make you mentally strong. If you can get through waterski, chair, round back single leg lifts, and knee dancing, you can do anything! ☺

4) What is your favorite section of class?

 

I really love the abs portion of class. In roundback, I like that you are toning your abs while simultaneously increasing flexibility in your lower back and hamstrings. In flatback, you are able to tone the deepest layer of the core with the power of your breath and very small movements. In center abs, you are working your abs continuously for 5+ minutes and the time often flies because the music is so energizing!

5) What advice would you give to new barre clients?

Keep an open mind. The instructors will provide verbal and hands-on adjustments and cues. Every time the instructor provides verbal feedback, pretend she is talking directly to you (because there is a strong possibility that she is!) Try your best and don’t be discouraged. Barre is confusing and challenging. It is also an incredibly humbling experience. Ask your instructor questions after class. Try to come 3x a week for a month and hopefully you will see great results!

Rachel Wilson is the founder of barre-OM® and resides in Columbus, OH. She currently teaches Lagree Fitness at The Butcher Shop Fitness, Mondays and Thursdays, 5:45pm. Email barreominfo@gmail.com for more information about classes, workshops or training.