barre3 Studio to Street Hairstyle: Wavy Hair

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We love hair that’s perfectly tousled and wavy. We asked hair stylist and barre3 client Cherie Gottlieb how to get this effortlessly modern look, and we’re amazed at how easy it is.

Here’s a no-fuss way to make waves:

1. Your hair will probably be a little bit damp from class. If it isn’t, spray it with a water bottle or with Bumble and Bumble Styling Lotion Spray.

2. Take the front part of your hair and twist it away from your face. If you have thicker hair, you may want to divide the hair into several smaller sections.

3. Roll the front section of your hair into a bun, leaving out the ends for a more modern look. Secure the bun with two oversized bobby pins in an x formation.

4. Once you’ve got your first bun rolled, keep going! For an average head of hair, you’ll have about four buns, two in the front, two in the back. If you have long, thick hair, you’re going to roll more buns.

5. When you feel like your hair is dry, take it down and comb through it with your fingers. You’re good to go! Optional: For a little more staying power, spray with hairspray.

Here’s the best part: You can start this look right after your workout, and it’ll style itself as it dries while you’re headed to work/school/wherever. Multi-tasking never looked so good!

Beyond the Barre: Listen to Your Body

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When your body tries to tell you something, how well do you listen? Whether you’re practicing barre3 in a studio class or firing up an online or Mobile App workout, your body is constantly providing feedback. Today, Communications Manager and Master Trainer Kait Hurley shares why it’s so important to tune in to your body for better physical and mental health. Read on and get inspired to listen up!

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“Time for plank! Let’s get right into it and not waste a second.” Veteran clients don’t even wait for my cues; they know what to do. Some press their palms into the cork floors and step their feet back for a full plank. Others come onto their forearms and knees, while a few remain standing, gracefully leaning on the ballet barre. I catch some newer clients looking around uncomfortably as they consider the option best for them.

If you’ve ever done a barre3 workout, chances are, you’ve heard your instructor tell you to listen to your body, which is another way of saying that it’s ok to modify a posture to suit your own needs. While we celebrate modifications and encourage people to tune in to their bodies at barre3, it’s normal to feel insecure when you first put this principle into practice. It takes courage to put your ego aside and do something different than the group. It’s humbling to admit that you have imperfections and limitations, and it can make us all feel vulnerable when we let others see that.

Before barre3, listening to my body was something that terrified me. I knew if I listened, I wouldn’t like what I heard. My years as a competitive distance runner taught me to suppress negative pain and negative emotions and keep on pushing forward. I thought of myself as tough, self sufficient, and driven. Sound familiar? During a workout, we may feel our muscles tense up in a painful way, but we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves or ask our instructor for help. We want others to see us as resilient, strong, and maybe even a little bit perfect. As a result, we let momentum take over and lose some of the benefits of our workout. We also move with force instead of grace and increase our risk for injury.

It turns out, a failure to listen to your body doesn’t just impact your workout, it influences your overall physical and mental health. You might overeat, using food to relieve stress or boredom. You may become sleep deprived because you let your to-do list interfere with much-needed rest. You’re also at a higher risk for depression and anxiety; studies show that when we repress negative emotions and inner conflict, we’re more likely to feel sad or anxious.

I’ve watched hundreds of clients strengthen their mind/body connection and transform not just their bodies, but their lives. I’ve experienced this transformation too. Some days I feel like the turbo athlete I used to be in college. Other days, I prefer to chill out in child’s pose while everyone else commits to their version of plank. Applying this concept beyond the barre has made me a much happier, healthier person mentally too (adios anxiety!).

Your body is your greatest tool for assessing your own happiness and health. So whether you’re in the middle of a barre3 workout or the middle of a busy day, take a moment to check in with yourself. Your body will tell you when you are hungry or tired, when it’s time to push your edge or take it easy. Learning to listen to your body is a skill that takes practice, but as I’ve learned through experience, it’s also a sign of incredible strength.

The Benefits of Horse Pose

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We pull Horse Pose into almost every workout because it effectively shapes the lower body and  supports a tall, upright spine. Similar to a traditional second position in ballet, it’s modified to be functional, accessible, and easy on the joints. Read on to learn more about the pose, including how to do it just right so you reap all the benefits.

The Benefits

Horse pose targets the stabilizing muscles in the pelvis, inner thighs, side seat (especially the deep hip rotators), hamstrings, quadriceps, shins, calves, and the arches of our feet. By strengthening these muscles, we increase our pelvic stability and a reinforce a neutral spine. This leads to training the body tall and improving posture over the long term. Even the muscles in the arches of our feet are important. As our foundation, our feet are essential to proper alignment for the entire body.

How To Set It Up

Step out wider than your hips with your feet turned out to 2 and 10 o’clock. Bend your knees and slide your back 6 inches down an imaginary wall. Your knees are over your ankles and in line with your second toes.

Common Alignment Mistakes

Check your alignment right now! Get into Horse Pose in profile position in front of a mirror, and then look for these common misalignments.

1. Are you sticking your seat out? (Think of your pelvis like a bowl of water. Is the water spilling out in front of you?). To align your body properly, put your hands on your hips and draw the base of your spine towards the floor.

2. Is your pelvis tucked under? (Think of your pelvis like a bowl of water again. When you’re tucked under, the water is spilling down the back.) To correct this, place your hands on your hips and slightly release your seat back.

3. Are your knees collapsing inward so that you can’t see your big toes? Narrow your stance. Bring your feet in until you can see your big toe on the inside of your knee.

Modifications for Common Injuries

While Horse pose can be challenging for people with limited hip rotation, knee, SI joint, and lower-back pain, it can also help alleviate all of those issues if done mindfully with less pressure and intensity. The two best modifications for this posture are to work higher (instead of thighs parallel to the floor), and to walk feet in for a narrower stance. The main goal is to find external rotation in your hips without compromising a long, neutral spine or level and square pelvis. It’s also always important to work above the pain and to stay in your challenge zone, which is different for everyone.

Increasing Intensity

To take Horse Pose deeper and amp it up, focus on connecting to your body and nailing proper alignment.

1. Push your feet into the floor evenly and draw your heels in towards each other. That will engage your leg muscles more.

2. Work lower to tax your muscles to their utmost (while still listening to your body!).

3. Lift your arms up overhead. Think about reaching energetically through your fingertips while keeping your shoulders, neck, and jaw relaxed and your spine long. Lifting your arms up not only taxes your back and abdominal muscles more, but it adds an extra balance challenge.

Questions about Horse Pose? Ask us in the comments below, or talk to your instructors at your local studio. Whether you practice barre3 online, via our mobile app, or in a studio class, we’re here to help you deepen your practice so that you keep breaking plateaus and reaching your fitness goals.

Instructor Spotlight: Dr. Jen Curtiss

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Jen Curtiss is a knowledgeable and passionate educator. She’s also a naturopathic doctor, a barre3 instructor in Portland, mom to two boys, and was one of the leading experts Sadie worked with to write her book Love Your Lower Body. We recently sat down with Jen to catch up. Read on to see what she has to say about barre3, managing stress, and more.Blog_HeartBreaker

My good friend took me to my first barre3 class. At the time, I was 6 months postpartum. Right away, I was sold; barre3 was the fitness experience that I had been craving. Shortly thereafter, I befriended another client who is now a Master Trainer, Harper Kalin. When Harper told me she was going through instructor training, I knew I wanted to become an instructor too.

I try to move every day and throughout the day. I walk, hike, bike, run, and paddle. In the winter, my family and I ski. My favorite time to practice and teach barre3 is at 6:00 am when my family’s not missing me.

Few exercises truly rejuvenate the body. One of the major benefits of barre3 is that it eases our bodies into a parasympathetic state—the state we are in when we are best able to digest, rest, sleep, and heal. Barre3 is a great way to quiet the mind, slow down, and strengthen our connection to our bodies. As a result, not only do we rev the metabolism and build strength, we also burn more calories, support healthy joints, and become more grounded.

One of my favorite vegetables this time of year is zucchini. It’s so versatile and abundant. You can eat it raw, grill it, sauté it, shred it in a casserole, or bake it. Every year, my family and I grow zucchini, greens (like kale, sugar snap peas), herbs, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. My sons like to help me make dinner by picking basil or thyme. It’s a great way to involve them in making dinner. They’re always more excited about the meal when they’ve had a hand in its preparation.

I love to learn, and I love sharing what I learn with others. My approach to health is holistic. My patients and I talk a lot about how they can live better and reduce stress. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol (stress hormones) from the adrenal glands. Cortisol also triggers a spike in glucose so that your muscles have fuel to run from the “danger.”  But if you’re not actually running or moving your body, the glucose gets converted to abdominal fat for storage.  The same thing occurs with insomnia, which is why people who have poor sleep tend to gain weight. Caffeine also triggers the cortisol and secondary blood sugar spike, which is why I recommend avoiding it if you’re trying to lose weight.

Watching people make positive changes is the best part of my job. That was also my favorite part about helping Sadie with the Love Your Lower Body project. I helped her guide 27 women through the 8-week program outlined in her book. Everyone lost weight, gained energy, slept better, and noticed brighter skin. It’s a huge reward to give to others through my medical practice and through barre3.

Dice an Onion With Ease

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There’s nothing that bugs us more than crying over chopped onions. The good news is, Chef Abby Fammartino has a great dicing strategy that will keep the tears away and reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen. Watch the video, and you too can start to work smarter instead of harder.

Get access to tons of delicious, seasonal recipes by joining barre3 Online. Get started.

barre3 Book Club: Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

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Today barre3 West Village lead instructor Meegan Gregg is sharing her takeaways from this month’s book club pick, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. Read on!

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Work-life balance. That phrase is thrown around so often, it has lost its meaning. After all, crazy-busy is the new black, right? Not only is a hectic schedule considered “normal,” it’s also a badge of honor in the pursuit of virtuous “busy-ness”. Add an inbox full of unanswered emails and a never-ending to-do list, and you’ve got a recipe for stress. But just because it’s normal to feel stressed doesn’t make that stress any less detrimental to your health. If your to-do list is so long that you feel as though you can barely keep your head above water, then Brigid Schulte’s new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, is for you—and definitely for me.

As part of the barre3 community, I know that living a balanced life is key to well-being. That means practicing whole-body health—not only eating well and moving every day, but connecting with friends and family, and self. I’ve got part of that formula covered: I try to eat whole foods, exercise regularly, walk whenever possible, see my friends when I can, and treat myself in moderation (fresh bread, real butter, and a glass of wine are definitely in my repertoire). I’m also on the ground running barre3’s flagship studio in NYC. Being in the capital of work hard/play hard certainly contributes to a go, go, go mentality. As a result I’ve found myself totally absorbed in work, sometimes so attached to my email, I can’t even sit through dinner with a friend without checking my phone under the table. Reading Schulte’s book couldn’t have been more timely for me and truly gave me a lesson in circling back to what’s important. Quite simply, this liberating piece of non-fiction reminded me that the inbox can wait. “You can’t manage time,” she says, quoting one of several experts she consulted for her research. “There will always and ever be 168 hours in a week. What busy and overwhelmed people need to realize is that you will never be able to do everything you need, want, or should do.”

With an ever-growing list of tasks, it’s all too easy to forget that whole-body health includes whole-mind health, too. Ever scrimp on sleep? (Um, check.) Ever deny yourself leisure or relaxation time to attack one more thing on that aforementioned to-do list? (Okay, check.) Ever find yourself only partially present with your friends or family because, like me, you’re attached to your email? (A resounding CHECK.)

According to Schulte, a mother of two who writes for the Washington Post, I’m not alone in this. Contaminated time, as it’s called in the world of time management research is time that we spend “interrupted, contaminated by mental noise.” After finishing this book, I came up with the following analogy to explain its concepts: Would you drink contaminated water? Would you eat chemically-laced food? Would you live in a state of contaminated time and stress at the cost of your mental and physical well-being? They’re equivalent questions. And equally toxic.

As I read Overwhelmed, I was struck by a quote from writer Annie Dillard: “The way you live your days is the way you live your life.” If the mind is constantly attempting to multi-task, if your thoughts are fragmented, then you’re “never fully experiencing your external or your internal worlds. And if you are never really here or there, then what kind of life are you living?” Let’s remember to live in the moment—mindfully reading this book is a great place to start!

De-Stem Greens With Ease

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We teamed up with Chef Abby Fammartino to show you how you can quickly de-stem greens. Watch the video and you’ll be able to start whipping up your favorite green dishes with ease.

Embracing Modifications

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No pain, no gain. Go hard, or go home. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Pain is weakness leaving the body.

Maybe you’ve heard these sayings before or even told yourself something like this to get motivated to exercise. Truthfully, these sayings don’t fire us up at barre3. They make us feel exhausted and a little bit intimidated. And we’re not alone. Studies show that for many of us, this extreme approach to fitness is likely to lead to burnout over the long term.

What if we told you that you don’t have to suffer and dread exercise to get the body you want and reach your fitness goals? By modifying postures and customizing the moves to your own needs, it’s possible to tone your entire body, shed weight, and gain energy while finding joy in each posture. Whether you’re taking class at one of our studios, online, on the mobile app, or you’re following along with a workout in Sadie’s book Love Your Lower Body, you’ll always have the option to tweak an exercise so that you’re getting a challenging, safe workout that’s appropriate for your body. Have knee pain? Work higher. Are you expecting or do you have abdominal separation? Avoid deep twists. Are you feeling so energized that you’re bouncing off the walls? Go lower. Maybe grab 3 lb. weights or add mountain climbers to your plank. Whether you need to dial it back or crank up the intensity, we’re all for it.

Fitness is not one-size-fits all. You are your own best advocate and teacher. Your studio owner’s and instructors’ job is to give you the tools to develop a deeper awareness of your body so that you can continue to break plateaus and build strength in the years to come. Being an advanced practitioner at barre3 isn’t about doing an exercise perfectly or holding a challenging pose longer than the person next to you at the barre, it’s about understanding your limitations and knowing how to push yourself to your personal edge.

If a posture or variation of movement doesn’t feel right or you’re looking for a bigger challenge, be sure to let your instructor know. If you don’t have a studio nearby, feel free to email us at onlinesupport@barre3.com and we’ll answer your questions. Either way, we’re here to offer modifications that are perfect for you whether you’re a turbo athlete, dealing with an injury, expecting, or haven’t exercised in years.

What are your favorite modifications to take? Let us know in the comments below!