A Dancer’s Strength with a Yogi’s wisdom: barre3

This morning as I finish my pre-adventure bowl of honey cinnamon oatmeal, I jump online to quickly and easily purchase a first timer’s 3 class package to barre3 – an exercise studio which very successfully fuses elements of ballet barre work, yoga, and pilates.

The ever reclusive Portland sun was shining though the windows of the Lake Oswego studio as I entered, greeted immediately by a smiling face at the front desk. I instantly felt welcomed. I could hear the previous class finishing up while I initialed next to my name that was already on the list, since I registered for the class online to reserve my spot. Once the class was over, I was introduced to Stephanie, who would be our instructor for the next class. Her disposition matched the sunny day as she welcomed me and orientated me to the studio space and the equipment I would need. She made sure to situate me next to the mirror so I would be able to check my alignment and technique throughout the class. Other students filter in and there is light chatter amongst the friendly group while they get ready to begin.

Stephanie turns on some upbeat music and we are invited to the center of the floor for a few minutes of guided movement to warm up our bodies. Next we move back to the barre and complete a series of concentrated, controlled movements intertwined with welcomed stretching. Now that our legs are very thoroughly worked, we transition onto the floor mats, using a fun squishy ball and light weights. Arms, back, and abs are all worked  successfully through adapted pilates-like movements. The hour long class comes to a close as we stretch and rise to our feet feeling accomplished in our workout and energized for the day.

Throughout the class we were challenged and motivated to see what we could “do for [ourselves] today”, and encouraged to “embrace the shakes and quakes”. At times I was unsure what my body was supposed to be doing, but our ever-cheerful instructor kept her eye on me, gently aligning my hips and correctly placing my feet to assure that I was safe and maximizing my workout. She encouraged the class and individuals by name. Individual attention was paid to those who needed it while engaging the entire class consistently.

An hour post-workout, as I write this article, I can feel nearly all my muscles gently reminding me of my morning workout at barre3. Today was all about learning the basics and principals of the class, creating a foundation to build on. My muscles and I are excited to go back and see what is in store for the next class when I can focus on taking my movement confidently to the next level.

So basically:
This fun adaptive class combines elements of ballet barre, pilates, and yoga to create a dynamic class where you build strength, stretch, and leave feeling accomplished and energized.

Work it:
• Everything! This class seriously worked every muscle in my body. Maybe not my… no, pretty sure even my toes got a workout.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls…
Women and men are both welcome to the barre3 classes, however it is primarily attended by women.

Considerations:
This class is great for everyone. There were students of all different fitness levels. One of the many great things about this class is that students are given opportunities to dial it up or down depending on their personal level.

Gear up:
No special equipment is needed for this class. Barre3 uses a few basic tools, but all are provided for you at the studio. Their equipment is well maintained and cleaned after each class. The class is done barefoot on a finished wood floor. Some students like to wear toeless socks which are available for purchase at the studio. Most students were wearing knee length compression pants and comfortable yoga or sports tops, but what you wear is all up to individual comfort.

Get into it:
www.barre3.com
Barre3 has 4 nearby locations, as well as other locations across Oregon, Washington and the United States. All location and contact information can be found here.

Oregon
– Lake Oswego  (map)
– Portland Pearl District  (map)
– Portland Southeast  (map)

Washington
– Vancouver/Camas  (map)

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