I don’t think it’s exactly a secret that I’m not an athletic person so the fact that I’ve found a workout that I actually enjoy is kind of a miracle. What is this miracle fitness fad that has me so entranced? Barre! But not just any barre class, I’ve been going to Barre & Soul’s newest location in Harvard Square. Last summer, during my quest to get hot by 30, the only ClassPass class I actually really enjoyed was Barre & Soul at their Lexington location. But when I left my membership (and my winter blues settled around me), I slipped back into old habits and, up until my first visit to Harvard Sq in March, hadn’t worked out since September. Yikes.
Part of what I love about Barre & Soul is that it’s not just about hard work and building muscle (although you will certainly do that) but that there is a lot of focus on personal strength and building a supportive community. Before every class, the instructor reminds you how strong you are and asks you to set an “intention” for the next hour. The idea is to focus on whatever it is brought you into the room and to really embrace the time and work. I can’t always do all the moves perfectly, and I feel like I sweat way more than anyone else, but when I do go to class sometimes the only thing that makes me hold my shaking legs in a move for just ten seconds longer is that reminder of what I want to achieve. I’m not someone who lives in the moment, my mind is always wandering away from me so being fully present is a real challenge for me. During class, I find that I’m working so hard that I can usually only focus on the pain or the next move or the next ten count. It’s really nice to turn my anxious mind off for a little bit and just focus on something physical.
The studio is open, clean and bright with a minimal but Pinterest-worthy decorating scheme. The sunshine streams in, the windows overlook Harvard Square but you really don’t hear any street noise. But don’t mistake a calm studio for an easy workout. I don’t think barre class ever gets easier but certainly, right now, my legs shake roughly and then I try to go lower until they shake some more. I always feel exhilarated after class…and the next day I walk like a baby deer.