Words: Gemma Dawkins


If you’ve caught your reflection in one of our studio mirrors lately – you look amazing! Great hair! But also, check out that hashtag! #mindfultransformation is our theme of 2018 and it’s adorning all our mirrors, just in case you forget. And it means oh so much to us. Why? Well, we’ve designed the perfect suite of classes (if we do say so ourselves) to sculpt a beautiful, strong and healthy bod. But that’s no use to you if you’re up to your neck in stress hormones, over-training, and living so fast you’re composing a mental e-mail during savasana (yep, we can totally tell). Your health starts from the inside. Greens are good for your gut, but what are you doing for your brain? Start with breathing. Looking up from your screen. Checking in (not on facebook).

No doubt you’ve heard the term ‘mindful’ by now. But how exactly do you do mindfulness? Especially when your mind already feels plenty full, thanks very much? Well, mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” You know that feeling of being fully absorbed in something (no, Netflix doesn’t count), to the point of losing track of time? The sensation of watching waves roll in to the shore, or listening to rain hitting the roof (the best!) – that’s mindfulness. Taking a work call while wrangling a toddler into a carseat and trying to pack the groceries into the boot with your left foot? Yeah, not so much.

Ok, so what does this have to do with Barre Body? Well, we know all too well that not everyone loves a long savasana (though you are MISSING OUT), or has time to duck to a local seaside trail for a mindful nature walk. For some of us, sitting on a bolster chanting a mantra just feels a little funny (tell me I’m not alone). But here’s the beauty of mindfulness: you can reach that state of tuned-in, present and engaged, through moving your body. Our new class Elements is designed to do just that.

While the fitness world rides the HIIT wave, we’re putting it out there: yes, high intensity interval training is great for torching calories in minimal time. However, if you’re someone who is eternally short on time (hello, everyone), you probably need mindful movement more than you need to workout like an elite athlete. That’s because the science proves what our exhausted bodies have been trying to tell us: overtraining is not good for you. Too much HIIT can lead to an increase in cortisol levels – cortisol being the stress hormone which, in excess, causes adrenal fatigue, insomnia, injury, damage to your immune system, and weight gain (oh, the irony). And if you already live a high-stress lifestyle? You need your exercise to offset the stress, not add to it. Your brain can’t tell the difference between the stress of a deadline, 50 burpees, or a lion who’s just spotted his lunch (you). It’s all stress, and it all means one thing: pump the adrenaline, please!

By all means, if you’re the kind of unicorn who leaves a HIIT session feeling invigorated and fresh, go forth and sprint. But if HIIT leaves you feeling depleted, or like you’ve necked 6 coffees on an empty stomach, it might be time to reconsider the way you’re moving your body.

Now, this is not an invitation to couch potato land. Undertraining is just as unhealthy. Instead, we recommend joining us this year in rediscovering the joy in moving. In exercising to nourish, not punish your body. In working hard enough to sweat, but not enough to need an oxygen mask and a four hour nap for recovery. Because yes, exercise should be enjoyable. Mindful movement will keep you healthy from the inside, out. You’ll have time to notice what day it is, where you’re at physically and mentally, and to turn the volume of the world down a notch. Try doing that on mountain climber number 497.