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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.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.