When I took my first Barre class almost two years ago, I had no idea it would end up being A.) a workout I stuck with and, B.) something that would give me so much inner peace. This past year I found myself saying to my friends, “I can’t. I have Barre.” I took note of that and during one of my moments of thinking through my daily routine, I realized just how much I enjoy this 45-minute workout. It has become what I like to call, “my margin in life.”
The word Barre by definition is a French word meaning a stationary handrail. It’s commonly used in ballet training and is exactly what you think it is; the ballet barre that you have grown up seeing maybe in person from your own days in dance or in the movies watching ballet dancers perfect their forms. It’s since become a popular workout not just in Northwest Arkansas but all over the world. I love it not just because it has all the inner workings of a great workout like cardio, toning, core muscle strength, balance and so on, but because I am completely transformed during the workout.
Sure, there are days when I don’t feel like going to the gym but I have never regretted a Barre workout afterwards. And that’s exactly what I tell myself if I’m feeling blah and not wanting to put my workout clothes on. I say, “Meagan, you know how you feel during and after Barre. It’s worth it. Get your butt in gear and show up.” If there’s something on my mind or I’m going through a particularly hard season of life, inevitably, my feelings come out during class. This is so therapeutic for me. It usually happens when I’m holding a pose and the instructor starts counting down from 8, 7, 6, 5, come on! You’re almost there! 4, 3, 2 and 1. There is a stretch we do right after a long set of holding hard poses called Child’s Pose which is when you put your hands and knees on the mat and sit back with your arms stretched out long. Your forehead stays down on the mat while you stretch and breathe in and out. It’s amazing.
It’s not until the very end, when the music changes to a slow, winding-down vibe when I’m in Butterfly or Downward Dog that my emotions get the best of me. I listen to the words of the song and feel the sweat of what my body has just pushed itself to do. Once again, I am in awe of what I am capable of doing even when I think I have nothing left. Tears well up in my eyes and I savor every single breathe from my soul and beat from the song. I don’t want this moment to end. My day stops – just for this brief moment – and I am not someone’s mom, or someone’s wife or someone’s friend, but rather, I am just me. I am Meagan and I am at peace with who I am and where I’m at. I wish I could bottle this magic up and pour it back into myself when I have moments of feeling less than, defeated, and exhausted. It’s like I have just uncovered one of the best secrets ever and I want to keep it all to myself. This is what Barre is for me.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find an instructor who pushes you. You’ll pick up on her willingness to invest in you and you’ll be vulnerable. You’ll allow her to correct your pose. You’ll bust out one more rep and hold a passe on a releve even when your legs are shaking because she’s pushing you to and she knows you can. Barre. It’s one of the nicest things I’ve ever welcomed into my life. It’s my go-to therapy when I’m hurting and my kryptonite when I need to feel strong.
What’s your go-to thing? How do you invest in yourself? What is your…“I can’t. I have…”. If you know what it is, hold onto it. If you don’t have that yet, find it and treasure it. Life is about balance and finding balance most often times requires carving out margin to feed your soul. I’ll see you at the Barre.