...and helped me find my Zen. barreASANA kicks yoga up a gear
The barre butt. That was my incentive for booking in for a 30 day pass at barrecore . That and reducing my stress levels as I’d recently acquired a rather annoying habit of sweating the small stuff. Dirty plates in the sink? My housemates better hide. Just stepped in dog poo? That dog better run. Fellow commuter pushes in front of me to get the last seat on the train? “Please find alternative routes, the Metropolitan line has been suspended due to a mad woman on the tracks.” Suffice to say, I needed some expert intervention.
And so along came barreASANA. A combination of yoga, meditation and barre, it sounded like the perfect solution for my particular predicament. Devised to combat stress and cellulite in equal measure, it had all the makings of the ideal way to address my fitness goals (a perter derrière and thighs that would crack a walnut) with the welcomed side-effect of frankly, making me a much more bearable person to be around.
The benefits of barreASANA
“barreASANA is a fantastic way of creating a beautiful bikini body. Think long, lean and toned limbs,” says Niki Rein , barrecore Founder and CEO. “The class incorporates a detoxifying flow of yoga poses giving you glowing skin and ridding the backs of the legs of cellulite along with barrecore's signature strengthening barre moves defining, lifting and toning every muscle in your body. It's the perfect balance of sweat, burn and stretch which we like to call the ‘zen burn.’”
What can you expect?
A challenging and reinvigorating mixture of yoga poses and barre work challenging both the larger and smaller muscles to trim, tone and tighten. “The class starts with a slow meditative warm up, quickly moving into a powerful vinyasa flow that revs the heart rate and fatigues the muscles of the upper and lower body,” explains Niki. “All muscle fibres throughout the body are stretched and strengthened using barrecore signature isometric exercises along with static yoga poses. We use the ballet barre during specific sections to help deepen pose and muscle burnout.”
Does it work?
In a word, yes. With my journey from timber to limber certainly bearing positive results since starting yoga classes back in January , barreASANA definitely added an extra dimension to my routine. My bum and thighs felt tighter and more toned when my 30 days were up after doing around 2 to 3 classes a week - the emphasis on long and lean was an effective approach for helping me move one step closer to my goals.
When done in conjunction with cardio and resistance training, the classes in my opinion act as the missing piece in the jigsaw to booty bliss from an exercise perspective and come as welcome relief for stiff joints and muscles. The mixture of challenging moves combined with set relaxation time really helped combat my stress levels, leaving me with a calm yet energised post class buzz that proved pretty addictive. (And has coincidentally left the London Underground a much safer place too...)
Would I go back?
Yes. Provided I can afford it. Membership at the exclusive fitness hub is pricey (an unlimited month’s pass starts at £175). However, the cost and the heavy cancellation fees act as the perfect deterrent to ensure you never miss one. Plus you reap rewards for what you pay for with regards to one-on-one attention and the range of classes available to you (the aforementioned pass allows you to try all the classes that the studio has to offer). If strength, tone and long and lean limbs are your primary aims, then it could be just what you're looking for.
The classes were small enough that the instructors could pay equal attention to each student, correcting form where needed and to provide an added dose of encouragement when my butt cheeks felt about ready to fall off during the barre section. Bianca and Tash led the classes that I attended and were the perfect duo for spurring me on. The mats were also spaced out enough to ensure that you had full range of motion when flowing between poses - a noticeable point of difference to other classes I’ve tried in the past where an errand Dancer’s Pose could quickly become a human domino if you weren't careful.
The music was also spot on with The XX and Bob Marley making for the most eclectic of soundtracks to get your Sun Salutation swagger on to.
My favourite part though? The Savasana at the end (and not simply because it was an excuse to lie there like a run-over pancake). Most yoga classes end in this way with the pose touted as one of the most important in a yoga practice. However at barreASANA, the team took this peaceful state one step further with the teachers visiting each student and applying lavender oil to their temples, giving them a quick massage to relieve areas of tension and making subtle adjustments to their alignment. I couldn’t help but lie there like a grinning weirdo and there’s a good chance I may well have freaked them out a little in the process... suffice to say I've well and truly got my Zen back and my friends, family, TFL (and my bum) are extremely grateful for that.
My yoga It-kit
Reebok Yoga Paradise Printed Capri, £30
I love a bright pair of sports leggings and this super comfy capri allowed for great ease of movement and an added dose of fitness motivation to get my butt to the studio after the most full on of days.
Barrecore socks, £10
The added grip on these proved to be vital in giving my Downward Dog some extra staying power when the mat (and my pride) felt about ready to slip away from underneath me. I will be eternally grateful for these.
Available from all barrecore studios.
Kitsch Sports Hair Ties, £4.27
Talking of non-slip, these hairbands kept my chosen hair do of choice from becoming a don’t in the most snag-free of ways. They’re my new hair accessory of choice.
Dailygreatness Yoga Journal, £34.95
To highlight what I’d learned and what I needed to work on, this journal was a really handy way to celebrate (or vent) after the most invigorating (or trying) of classes. Looking back at where I started and comparing it to where I was 30 days later has been key going forward in remembering why making the effort to keep fit is always worth it in the end. If anything, for the bum.