Last Tuesday, I tried out a new class at Yoga Bodies Richmond Hill called Barrelates. It is a fusion class of strength and cardio workout using a horizontal bar (think of the ones that ballerinas use) and traditional mat Pilates.
The Vaughan location of Yoga Bodies already hosts Barrelates classes. At that location, the bars are already pre-installed against the walls in between the panes of mirrors. At the location of Yoga Bodies Richmond Hill, however, the single room usually used for hot yoga does not have such bars already installed. Thus, the owner purchased two new sets of portable bars for the class.
The new Barrelates class is currently being taught by Amanda two days out of the week, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m., (with a second evening class taught by another instructor also on Tuesdays and Thursdays). It was an hour long. If you have a pre-existing package with the yoga studio, you can use your regular classes for Barrelates too.
The first half of the Barrelates class was the Pilates part where we did exercises on the mat. I liked that we used supplementary tools like a soft ball and elastic band for resistance. I liked that we were taught traditional Pilates breathing technique which is different from yoga breathing.
The second half of the class was the bar exercise part. The two sets of horizontal bars were moved into the middle of the room with some assistance from the students. (When the bars are not in use, such as during the yoga classes, they are placed near the wall [which restrict partial use of the walls for stretching or yin yoga classes].)
The instructor was excited, animated, and led us through the exercises with the bar with clear instructions. Since it was the very first class at this location, she made sure to set the bars horizontally to the mirrors so that we could see ourselves and practice good technique. It was a good workout and I sweat a lot. It was like a cardio class.
I wasn’t as sore the next day as I thought I would be even though we specifically targeted inner thigh and butt areas.
I would return to this class again for some good cardio workout.
A few downsides: since the bars are not permanently installed, they rely on having two people pushing against either side of it evenly in order to stay immobile. This created a delicate balance when using it and something I’d rather not have to be conscious of when exercising. I can see how the Vaughan location must be better for Barrelattes since their bars are installed permanently to the walls.
Second, as an introvert who enjoys attending regular yoga clssses at this studio as a way to destress and have some me time, the physical proximity of having to share bar space with others was a bit unnerving. I didn’t like working out so close to other people. I like to keep to my own space and personal bubble.
The instructor said that they’ll be adding hand weights to the bar portion of the class and even a third bar to the room once participation picks up.
If you’ve never tried Barrelates before, Yoga Bodies Richmond Hill currently has drop-in classes for $11 plus tax.