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As a fitness blogger and Instagrammer, I’ve made it a point to try just about every fitness class in NYC: the bizarre combination of cycling underwater, a dizzying aerial yoga class, and over a dozen different barre classes throughout the city.
But the truth is, I never loved barre. The moves felt awkward in my body—I’m not very flexible despite being a yoga teacher. I always felt unsure about my form and worried I was going to hurt myself as a result. I figured barre classes and I were just not meant to be.
All of that changed after I took my first class at The Bar Method two summers ago. At the time, my body was craving low-impact movement. I had run the NYC Marathon a few months prior. Before the marathon, I was all about the high-intensity fitness classes and thought if I didn’t sweat (or feel like I was going to puke) it wasn’t a real workout. After the marathon I had no desire to push my body like that anymore, nor did I want to force myself to.
A friend of mine was obsessed with The Bar Method and raved about it all the time. I decided, why not try it and see what the fuss is about?
During that first class, I noticed a few key differences that separated The Bar Method from all the other barre classes I had taken over the years:
Within the first 5-minutes of my first class, I learned that The Bar Method is all about hands-on and verbal adjustments. Throughout class, my instructor came over to correct my posture. She’d call me out by name to both praise me when I had good form and also correct things I was doing wrong. Which let’s be honest was a lot of things in my first class.
I was impressed with the attention to detail and had never experienced something like that before in a group fitness class. Nothing got past her hawkeyes and there was no room for poor form, slacking or giving up in the middle of a set.
I left feeling confident and safe that, with the helpful adjustments from the instructor, my form was spot-on.
Before my first class, the instructor really took the time to learn my name and if I had any injuries. This level of interaction isn’t just for newbies though. Whenever I take a class with a new-to-me instructor, they take the time to learn my name (and will use it in class!) and learn if I have any injuries. The most amazing thing: the instructors are incredible at remembering your name. Seriously, how do they do it?
After taking a number of classes with the same instructors, they’ve really gotten to know me. And they’re not afraid to call me out when I drop to my knees during push-ups because they know I’m strong enough to do them on my feet!
Despite being a low-impact workout (no burpees or jumping jacks here!), I was shocked by what a thorough total body workout the class was. We worked every major muscle group to fatigue (and then some!) leaving me just the right amount of sore. I realized then that you don’t need to be sweating buckets or doing burpees in order to get a full-body workout.
Whether you’re pregnant, dealing with an injury or a newbie to the class, The Bar Method offers a ton of modifications. I learned firsthand just how many modifications and variations there are for injuries when I was dealing with my own injury — a hip impingement thanks to something I tweaked while teaching my own fitness class. The instructors took such good care of me during this time and checked in throughout the class to offer modifications for my hip.
After taking my first class, I was hooked and started going to class once a week. As time went on, I craved more and decided to join Club Bar at the Williamsburg studio. I really mean this when I say I never thought I’d be the kind of person that takes barre classes 3-5 times a week—I was previously the queen of bootcamp and cycling after all. But now, I’m all about The Bar Method and it’s the class I look forward to taking each and every time I go.
Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. It was established to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach us how to fight it, and create methods to overcome it. While this initiative has existed just shy of three decades, this year it seems particularly important.
With a year under our belts in pandemic mode—a lot of us had to get creative when it came to keeping our cool. On top of that, everyday stresses didn’t just magically disappear during this time either. Just think about it—have you ever been in a situation that was overwhelming? Maybe you’ve had a looming deadline or a to-do list that seems, well...totally un-doable? If you’ve ever felt you were in over your head, please know you’re not alone—you never are. At one time or another, we’ve all been affected by stress—although each person may manifest it differently. Me? I'm definitely a frequent rider on the "hot mess stress express."
There are many ways to help combat stress—some of us seek out support from friends and family, while others find solace in taking up meditation or unwinding with a relaxing yoga class. Whatever helps you find peace, just keep doing you. But also know we have some resources to help you overcome stress whenever the need arises.
Here are some blog posts that are always available to you when you feel a little stressed out:
When in doubt, breathwork expert and sound healer, Shanila Sattar, always has tips to help ground yourself—especially in times of need. In this blog post, she gives you the recipe for incorporating self-love into your daily routine by encouraging us to ask ourselves these questions: How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love? As we all know, self-love defines and redefines itself for everyone over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?)
TLDR: I learned that I could conquer stress in a matter of minutes with Yoga Nidra.
Are we safe in saying this last year brought up a ton of emotions the likes of which we did not plan for? The good, the bad, the “unprecedented”—our hearts and minds have been taken on a wild rollercoaster ride, and for many of us, our mental health is suffering. With our minds running in thousands of directions, it’s hard to notice our own needs. Yes, our attention to the goings-on of last year is vital but caring for ourselves is as important as ever. Here are some tips from our favorite yoga instructor, Dani Schenone.
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last year is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments. Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce them.
Meditation will change your life if you let it. The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace. If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.
There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating, or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws, or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection. Check out these seven yoga poses that can help your mind and body when you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or overall stress.
We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.
If you have found meditation to be useful in trying times, right now is an incredible time to also try virtual sound baths to receive the deep sound healing benefits. As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long-term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves self-care in a way that is easy, non-intrusive, and simple, can be the perfect way to help your body restore.
These resources aren’t the only thing we have to help you deal with stress—they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are tons of classes available to you on the Mindbody app and through Mindbody Flex to help you reignite your calm whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. And always remember, at the end of the day, your best is always good enough.