One of the things I’ve missed the most about living in London, a city I called home for just three months, is the yoga classes. While I lived in Maida Vale I became an absolute devotee of Bikram yoga, the 26-pose/90 minute/40 degree heat detoxing miracle. When I started, I went everyday for an entire month. I also earned this slightly filthy-minded t-shirt that I love but am too shy to wear except among friends.
Anyways, I recently decided that instead of pining for my Bikram studio (and it’s unbelievably good juice bar) I needed to try and find a new, Leeds-based class to aim my obsessive attendance tendencies at.
Enter the Barre Technique. Held at Equilibrium Health Club, a slightly impossible to find intimate studio behind The Light, the hour-long class promised a combination of ballet, Pilates and yoga moves that would apparently leave me with the world’s perkiest bottom.
Well, never one to shy away from any bottom-related promises (that sounds so wrong), I signed up for a free taster session.
The class was tiny – just six other students – and the teacher, Claire, was cheerful and motivational, with an enviable petite physique.
The hour-long class involved a five minute warm up and cool down, and all manner of ballerina moves in between. Lots of plie squats, leg extensions and core work, with a great deal of emphasis on the inner thighs, and who doesn’t love that?
At one point, we had to squish a ball between our thighs (indeed) and hold it there while squatting for an interminable amount of time.
The workout hits a lot of muscles that are generally neglected, especially in the thigh region.
Also, it demands perfect posture and a lot of pelvic tilting to ensure that you don’t stick your bottom out. (Unfortunately, mine has a tendency to do just that. My Korean yoga teacher had a heck of a time trying to tame it and eventually just laughed and gave up, which is my attitude too.)
While I really enjoyed feeling like a ballerina with all the barre work (although it did bring up some residual anger issues at the parents who never bought me a tutu), I don’t think I’ll be going to the class again.
It is technically excellent, with a friendly atmosphere and a great teacher, and I have no doubt that dedicated attendance would leave you with buns of steel, or bronze, or whatever metal the cool kids are into these days.
Unfortunately, it just left me cold. I didn’t get the sense of serenity and relief that I get from yoga, or the all out buzz I get from running or strength training. And I’m of the firm belief that the best only way to get healthy and stick with it is to find a form of exercise that you love.