Barre is my happy place. I’ve been doing it almost daily for six years, through two pregnancies and two missions to shed post-baby weight. In the world of fitness classes, that’s a lifetime of commitment. I need a bumper sticker that says, “My sticky socks are honor students.”
If you’ve ever done a barre class, you know without a doubt that your first class back after any amount of time away, whether it be a weekend or a year, is like starting from scratch. Just ask your thighs. And your arms. And your abs. Yeah, your whole body will scream with beautiful, healthy change that hurts in the best possible way.
What to Expect From a Breathe Yoga Barre Class
– What to Wear to Class –
For barre class at Breathe, I would recommend wearing something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. For me that is yoga leggings and a lightweight tank. Sticky socks are usually a barre staple, but you don’t necessarily need them at Breathe because the floor is hardwood and you’ll use a yoga mat for a good portion of the class.
And, because this is unfortunately a priority for me, I have found that a typical breathe barre class has a bit more of a cardio element to it than other barre classes I regularly take, and I would suggest a sports bra in the mid-support range. And just because I’m talking bras here, doesn’t mean this class is for girls only. Barre can be for dudes too, although a man-sighting is a bit rare!
– When you Arrive –
Loft-high ceilings, warm hardwoods, exposed brick, and industrial lighting will welcome you as you walk through the glass storefront. Local artwork dots the walls as you check in at a reclaimed wood counter designed and fabricated by Decatur’s own Barns & Mills. Furthering the modern industrial feel are the sliding barn doors separating the lobby from the studio that are worthy of any HGTV highlight reel.
Once you’re ready for class, you’ll find cubbies for your personal belongings in the studio and a bathroom through the back door in the common area of the building. All of the equipment needed for class (ball, band, and mat) is already laid out for each student, so all you need to do is pick a spot at the barre. Decaturites are particularly friendly so don’t be surprised if you make friends with your barre neighbors quickly!
The class starts with yoga-inspired active stretches at the barre. Think moving in and out of downward dog while holding onto the barre and breathing through plies. Everyone should feel comfortable moving at their own pace, as owner/instructor, Anna Jones, stresses that you should concentrate less on how many repetitions you can fit in and more on intentional movement and breathing.
After the warm up, prepare to burn out your arms and abs. Arm exercises are geared toward perfecting form with smaller weights in order to lengthen and tone. Ab exercises consist of Pilates movements such as a modified “hundred” intermixed with small crunches. Once your arms and abs are warmed up, you’ll be able to better engage them during the rest of the class. Translation: they will burn, baby, but you’ll feel like you’re ready for any sleeveless dress or tight waistband worthy of the red carpet!
Now it’s time to work those ballerina legs and backsides. Let me ask you: have you ever known a dancer that didn’t have a nice backside? You’ll plie and gracefully lift your right and left side, working each thigh and each side of your backside until you feel at least two inches taller from all the long and lean ballet-inspired movements.
And just when you thought you were ready to cool down, Anna shouts, “Now we plank!” I’ve heard rumors of a six-minute plank and I’ve seen social media cheers to ladies of all fitness levels for completing it, so I know it’s not only NOT a rumor, but it’s also very doable. And the way Anna guides you through holding your body perfectly still in plank position, I have no doubt that you will find both the core strength and the inner strength needed to work up to your own plank goals. (Plank goals. Someone hashtag that.)
Finally you stretch to cool down. This is where Anna’s mastery of her yoga practice truly shines. You just worked the shakes out of your body and yet, you’ll leave as calm and peaceful as if you’ve been at a dessert spa for the last few days. Namaste.
Since I’m no stranger to the barre and this was my first class back at Breathe in quite some time, I came up with some good questions that might be common to someone just starting out, and that I had myself for my hometown barre comeback.
FAQ About Breathe
I already do barre. How is it different from what I already do?
Although Breathe is structured like a barre class, it’s got enough yoga and free flowing energy that set it apart from other classes. Each class feels structured to the clients that are present that day. I have found that if the class is filled with more experienced clients, Anna will push you to another level. If there are more inexperienced clients, you’ll still be pushed to that next level of fitness, but she will take more time to ensure everyone understands what she’s teaching. You definitely won’t feel like you’re getting a repeat to other classes you may have taken because Breathe is just so different.
Do I need to be coordinated? I’m too old/young/small/large. I’m too out of shape.
Ya’ll. I trip UP the stairs. Most people fall down, but somehow I’ve found a way to always fall up the staircase. That’s my coordination level. And I can do barre just fine. I’ve also seen grandmothers doing barre with their granddaughters and I’ve seen ALL body types sporting sticky socks. So to the excuses of I’m too old/young/small/large, I tell you, “Age ain’t nuthin’ but a number” and all shapes and sizes are beautiful at the barre. That’s some truth, my friends. Now to those of you saying you’ll start once you kick start your diet or fitness routine… BREATHE will kick start your fitness routine for you. And you’ll feel so great when you leave each class that you won’t need a kick start to your diet; feeling confident at the barre will do that for you.
But everyone will be looking at me/judging me!
Nope. Not at Breathe. The great thing about a yoga-based studio is that no one is really competitive. It’s not your 90s “step” class where everyone is watching each other in the mirror to see who has the smoothest “grapevine” and who has the worst coordination or falls off their step.
At Breathe, the owner and other instructors want you to be at peace with yourself and your class. That definitely comes through in the way they speak and in the way they teach. When you’re at peace with yourself, you’re not looking around judging; you’re looking around cheering and encouraging. That’s what it feels like to take a class at Breathe. Whether you want to be in better shape, have more confidence, feel more beautiful or just be at peace, you will be surrounded by all that and more at Breathe. Positivity radiates in that studio.
I’m not a fan of barre classes. Are there other kinds offered?
This review was all about Breathe barre class, but if barre is not your speed, there’s a variety of yoga classes from beginners to experienced.
So no more excuses. Get to class at Breathe.
Breathe Yoga Barre
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Andi Stewart is a Decatur-native, who spent over a decade living in Miami. She finally returned home, married a boy she’s known since childhood, and loves raising her family in the hometown she adores. She has two children, a son and a daughter. She’s a professional Environmental Engineer who balances a full-time career with motherhood. She’s run more marathons than she can count (mostly because she really enjoys eating) and she loves her daily barre class and traveling. She is passionate about her River City community and when she’s not volunteering, she’s enjoying all her city has to offer.