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How to Practice Mindfulness During Barre Class
Taking time out of your busy everyday life to take a workout class (more specifically a Bar Method class), is supposed to be relaxing and feel like a small dedication to a bit of ‘you time’. But we know that life gets busy and oftentimes we find ourselves completely distracted at the barre, thinking about things we have to do, errands we have to run, etc. Our minds feel like they’re constantly running at a million miles per hour and we’re not quite sure how to turn it off.
That’s where mindfulness comes in. Did you know that making the effort to be present and mindful during barre class can enhance and actually accelerate your results? If you’ve ever heard the term ‘practicing mindfulness’, and wondered what the heck it was all about, we’re here to give you the complete rundown of what it means, the benefits of incorporating it into your day-to-day life, and how you can be more mindful in your next barre class.
What is mindfulness and why does it matter?
Mindfulness is actually considered a type of meditation in which you bring your focus and energy to being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the current moment. Think of being mindful as setting intentions for yourself and being completely present in them. Practicing mindfulness can look like many things including breathing methods, journaling, and other practices that help to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.
Incorporating mindfulness into your everyday life can be extremely beneficial for both your mental and physical well-being. Being mindful during exercise can benefit you both in and out of the studio. Mindfulness practices can actually help increase your ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, and even anxiety and depression. It can also aid in extending your attention span and focus as well as observing your own thoughts and feelings without judgement.
When you’re mindful throughout your barre class, you may also improve your physical health at the same time. Being fully aware of your surroundings and present in your barre class will ensure you’re paying close attention to form and getting the best workout possible. Because you’re completely present in class, you may notice a higher sense of satisfaction with yourself and a significant mood boost after leaving the barre studio.
How can I practice mindfulness during barre class?
Barre is just as great a workout for your brain as it is for your body. There are so many moments throughout a barre class where your brain needs to be fully engaged. When we say barre is a full-body workout, we truly mean it! When you take time to be present in your barre class, your brain will be working just as hard as the rest of your body. In any Bar Method class, our instructors will provide both verbal and hands-on adjustments to make sure you’re properly aligned and using the correct form. Being mindful of these adjustments creates a deep consciousness and connection to your body. If you’re ready to reap the benefits of mindfulness and try it out in your next Bar Method class, try out these top tips for yourself!
Focus on Your Breathing
Breathing is a core element of any barre class as well as being mindful. When things get challenging during barre class, take a moment and bring your attention to your breath. If you’re feeling tempted to quit or give up on the exercise, switching your focus to your breath can really help you push through the movement and get more out of the workout. Your Bar Method instructor will provide breathing instruction, as well, throughout class but setting an intention to focus on it yourself can make all the difference in your next class.
Outside of the studio, when you’re feeling stressed, take a moment to be conscious and practice mindful breathing. Focus on breathing in deeply through the nose and exhaling through your mouth, do this multiple times until you begin to feel calm. This can help reduce your stress, relieve tension in your body, and encourage an overall sense of well-being.
Think About Your Goals
If you find yourself rushing through your barre class, giving up on certain movements quickly, or running your mind through your mental to-do list, take a moment to think about why you signed up for class in the first place. Reflect on why you’ve made exercise a priority and how this specific workout can help you right now in this moment. It can also be a great time to remember your fitness or mental goals to energize you as you become your strongest self at the bar. If you don’t have any current goals set for yourself, that’s okay! Many of us have a desire to feel healthier and stronger. Take the time to remind yourself of these things:
- This workout will help you have more energy for your day.
- You’ll feel an incredible sense of accomplishment after completing the class.
- This workout will help you get a more restful night of sleep.
- You deserve to dedicate time to take care of yourself and move your body.
- Problems you’re stressing about might not seem so stressful after class is complete.
Make Lists or Write it Down
Before you even show up for your barre class, make a list or write down things that might be weighing on your mind. These could be things in your personal life, work, or even just in general. Writing everything down is a great way to release some of that stress or anxiety associated with that never-ending to-do list. Once you’ve written down your ‘stressors’, take time to write down an intention or goal for your workout in big bold letters. Approaching your barre workout with a plan adds a moment of mindfulness to every single movement throughout your class. You now know what’s coming next and how you can get there.
Oftentimes when we hear the word meditation, we think of sitting in silence for long periods of time, seated, and deep in thought. This isn’t always the case! Meditation can be super brief or however long you need to gather your thoughts and do a proper check in with yourself. Doing a brief meditation right before your barre class can help you bring awareness and attention to your body and your intention for the day’s workout. Try to arrive to the studio a few minutes early (all you really need is five)! Set yourself up at your spot on the floor, grab any equipment you might need, and take a seat. Lightly place your hands on your legs and bring your eyes to a gentle close. Take a few relaxed breaths and try to quiet your mind for just a few moments. Do a quick scan of your body and ask yourself questions like:
- Am I tense anywhere?
- Do I feel any aches or soreness?
Next, roll out your neck and shoulders slowly and practice inhaling and exhaling slowly. Once you’ve taken as many deep breaths as you feel you need, slowly blink your eyes to open and you’re ready to take on your barre workout with a clear mind.