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As we approach the holidays, now’s the perfect time to support the businesses you love. Whether it’s opting for a gift card stocking stuffer or something as simple as leaving a review to show your gratitude—supporting your local studios is a great way to spread the holiday cheer.
Here are some clear (and effective) ways to help support the studios you know and love a little extra during the most wonderful time of the year.
Studios rely on a steady stream of memberships to keep them running. As the year ends, buying a membership is the best way to show them (and yourself) a little extra love. Not only are you setting yourself up for a wellness-focused 2022, you’re also ensuring the future success of your fave studio. That’s a win-win. Need a little help finding the right membership to invest in? This blog has you covered.
Thinking of buying some new yoga pants or a mat? Or, if you’re still working out from home when you can’t make it to the studio, maybe you want some blocks and bolsters to enhance your practice. Before heading to a store or going online to big-brand websites, see if your local studios have anything to offer. They’ll often have their own websites, photos of retail on their social media accounts, or even discounted prices for items in their studio store for active members. Even something small like making a purchase through your local studio can make a world of difference for them. Plus, you’ll pretty much be a walking advertisement for the studio—and maybe you’ll meet some new workout buddies wearing it!
With most people traveling or rushing to get everything checked off their list before the end of the year, this season can be chaotic. Fortunately, many studios have embraced the hybrid approach and offer both in-person and virtual classes. This gives you the flexibility to work out with your favorite studios from wherever you’re headed this holiday season. (Yes, that includes an inch from the couch. We see you, post-turkey hangover.) If you’re pressed for time because of seasonal shopping or festivities, live stream and video on demand allow you to squeeze in much-needed movement while still supporting your local studios, too.
Want to let someone know you’re thinking of them this holiday season? Show how much you care with a gift card for an intro offer at your go-to studio. Or, give the gift of ClassPass. Your loved ones can try classes at studios they’ve always had on their bucket list, and maybe even find their new favorite routine heading into January. Plus, it's a gift that keeps on giving—the recipient will have the opportunity to attend multiple days (if not multiple weeks of) classes. Bonus points if you attend class with them.
How do you find the best new studios (or restaurants, coffee shops, hair salons, etc.) to try? You probably start by browsing around in your area and then check out the reviews to see what other people have to say about it (see How to Find the Top Yoga Studios and Classes in LA). Reviews are a great way to find out what a specific instructor is like, what you need to know before attending a class, and whether or not it sounds like what you’re looking for. Many studios also use these reviews to market themselves—sharing them on social media to attract new clients. So, if you have a studio you love (and you want to spread some love their way), shoot them five stars. They’ll appreciate it.
Most studios have Instagram accounts where they post new classes, studio updates, photos of their instructors and awesome retail products, and even videos you can follow along with. If you want to help your studio gain some attention and attract new clients, just follow, like, and share their posts! Want to go the extra mile when you’re in-studio? Hop on Instagram before class and snap a photo with your favorite instructor to help promote the studio. Be sure to tag them, the business, and any of your besties sweating it out with you.
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When it comes to supporting your local studios, bringing in new people is at the top of the list. If you have a local studio you absolutely love, chances are your friends and family will love them, too. Have loved ones in town for the holidays? Invite them to join in on some of your favorite classes. Not only will you get the chance to move and spend time together, but you’ll show your go-to studio some extra support as well.
Studio owners love to revamp their class offerings and schedules during the holidays. It’s a great opportunity for them to spice things up (preferably, with pumpkin) and spread holiday cheer. It’s also a great time to motivate their clients by giving them a head start on any upcoming wellness resolutions. Taking advantage of these holiday-themed classes and challenges spreads morale and cheer (something we could all use). Seeing high attendance numbers motivates your local studio owners and instructors, too.
Right now, community is so important. Show your studio how much their business—and the sense of community they create—means to you with a hand-written note. It’s a simple act of appreciation that will mean the world to them. Just like they push you to keep going when you’re struggling to make it through a workout (we’ve been there, too many times to count), going out of your way to tell them you see and appreciate their effort can also inspire them to keep pushing through a hard time (2020 and 2021 haven’t been the easiest). After all, the holidays are a time for expressing gratitude, right?
This holiday season, our studios still need us. And there are so many ways we can support them as they continue to rebuild after the last couple of years. So, purchase that membership (because showing up for yourself is always a good idea), bring your loved ones to a class, share on social, and give them a bit of extra love this year. Your support goes a long way in ensuring the future of your favorite studios.
Alicia Sokol opened her barre3 location in Washington DC after a series of career pivots. As an equity analyst, she never set out to be a fitness instructor or business owner. Through self-reflection, she realized that studio ownership meant she could fully express her values in a meaningful way. She opened her studio to help people find a movement practice that not only feels good but nurtures a supportive community.
As a kid, one thing Sokol struggled with was a sense of belonging—which is precisely why she created a place where simply walking through the door validates acceptance. Alicia's always striving to bring versatility to her community through connecting people from all different backgrounds. She's consistently motivated by what barre3 has brought to individuals—it's a challenging and effective workout, but more importantly, it's the practice of feeling our intuition and following it accordingly.
We recently chatted with Alicia to learn more about her and how she views the world of wellness.
I was slow to find joy in movement. As a kid, I shied away from sports. I don't have a competitive nature and I was an awkward kid—always picked last in gym class! A friend invited me for a run along Lake Michigan when I was in college—that was the first time I realized the healing power of movement. I felt so alive! I remember thinking: why didn't anyone tell me this was a thing? I have always enjoyed movement that doesn't require hand-eye coordination or special skills. I also tend to enjoy movement that is meditative and allows me to be in nature—running, hiking, swimming, and paddleboarding.
My career path has been a series of pivots. Each opportunity has been a chance to learn about myself. I started my career as an equity analyst at an investment bank—it was what I thought I should do with my undergraduate finance degree. I never set out to own a business. I never set out to be a fitness instructor! But through a series of asking tough questions and connecting with what makes me feel purposeful and alive, this is exactly where I have ended up.
Owning a barre3 studio has allowed me to fully express my values in a way that is meaningful to me. My studio is staffed by kind, wise people who love what we do. We are a place that instantly welcomes anyone who wants to be a part of what we're all about. I'm constantly trying to diversify our community—a wider range of ages, shapes, sizes, goals, experiences, backgrounds. Moving together helps us see that we all crave the same thing—a sense of belonging, a space to express ourselves, to be seen and heard, to know we are loved just as we are. My favorite part of my work has always been teaching barre3 classes. My studio is now 5 1/2 years old, and this is still what I love to do best.
Even though I went to business school, I never set out to be an entrepreneur. When I discovered barre3, I was working as a freelance writer and photographer and exploring a more creative path to my career. I had two small children and I knew it was time to make yet another career pivot. barre3 provided peace at a time in my life when running hurt and I needed both an effective workout and an endorphin release. I fell hard for the workout (tough), the community (kind), and the feeling of being in the studio (better—ways better!).
One of the reasons I opened my studio was to help people find a movement practice that felt good and a community that felt supportive. You don't need to be a dancer. You don't need to be fit or flexible. This workout is truly for any human body. As a kid, I struggled mightily with belonging. I wanted to create a place where simply walking in the door permitted belonging and support. I am always so happy to hear people say, "I've never been able to stick to a workout routine, but this is the first exercise I've really loved! I WANT to do this!"—that was the feeling I was going for.
On a day-to-day basis, I'm motivated by what barre3 has brought to people's lives. Yes, it's a tough and effective workout. But more than that, it's a practice of feeling and responding to our inner voice. It's been a tough couple of years, and for most of us, it would be easier to just go numb. What we are doing in class is permitting ourselves to feel the uncomfortable physical sensations, and in doing so, giving ourselves permission to face the uncomfortable mental work of being human. We all need that. We all struggle at some point. I love to see our community members find love and acceptance of their bodies just as they are. Diet culture has made it difficult for us to do that, and it puts us in a state of constantly trying to change and improve. I love to see people stand a little taller and become more confident in who they are.
I also love to hear when people have been able to use their voices more effectively because of the work they are doing in class, which is all about listening to one's own voice. Over the years the studio has been open, my clients have developed the courage to ask for a promotion, leave a toxic relationship, come out as gay, apply to grad schools, start new businesses, and so much more. When they connect the work they did at barre3 to the courage to do those scary things? Chills. Every time.
To me, wellness is a continuum rather than a destination—kind of like "balance.” It takes constant attention and continued work. There is no getting there and staying there. When I was younger, I thought of wellness as something that was much more physical—staying active, getting enough sleep, eating nutrient-rich foods, enjoying some treats. But now I see wellness as much more complex—the mental component is substantial.
I have also noticed that when the mental health piece is off-kilter, it impacts the physical! I discovered that when I had a pain in my back "for no reason"—oh, there was a reason. And it had nothing to do with the mechanics of my body and everything to do with sorting out some stressors in my life. That was a serious a-ha moment for me. I am the mother of teen boys (the hardest work I have ever done!) and I think it's important to show them how I process emotions in a very real way. Even just saying "I'm feeling frustrated right now because ___" or "I'm sad because ____" or "I'm angry right now, and I need to _____ to deal with my anger." It makes everyone uncomfortable, to say the least. But I hope they are taking note somewhere deep in their brains and seeing that being able to recognize, sit with, and process our emotions is at the core of our mental health. There is no ticket to overall wellness without that.
If you’re in the DC area, you should definitely check out Alicia’s barre3 location to help you advance your wellness routine. Not in the area? No worries—barre3 offers live stream studio workouts that can be done at home. Or find a studio near you at one of more than 150 locations sprinkled all over the US (in cities like Seattle, New York City, and Austin—just to name a few) and Canada. They even offer a complete virtual membership for folks who prefer to work out at home—so everybody has a chance to get that barre3 experience they are known for. Ready to lengthen and strengthen with Alicia and her team? Book barre3 classes on the Mindbody app.