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When I first heard there was something called ‘Bar Yoga,’ I was like, Heck Yeah! I envisioned myself sipping a smooth Pinot while dipping into my downward dog, careful not to spill any on my mat. But alas, that is not the case. ‘Barre’ yoga does not, sadly, refer to any kind of libations being served on or off the mat. It does, however, have the power to relocate your butt cheeks. Perhaps as far as Southern Illinois if you go often enough.   Instructor and studio owner Jacqueline, or Ballerina Nazi, as I like to call her, has an extensive dance background and it shows in both her class and her graceful postures.

Also, she seems to be good with numbers. First thing we’re told is to have our feet be elevens. I looked down and estimated that mine were more like 8 ½’s. I tried to stretch them long, not wanting to disappoint her or anything. Then she’d tell us to get into first, or second. All the math confused me, but I really enjoyed watching her demonstrate the proper way to stand. I would have actually been happy to spend the whole hour watching her be a ballerina, but for whatever reason, she did not think that was such a good idea. Then the work began.

I got busy following the instructions, but kept a watch out of the side of my eye, you know, just in case Mikhail Baryshnikov decided to swing by for a Plié or two. The room is heated, and the moves are a crazy combination of ballet and yoga that leave you feeling as limp as the rubber band thing Jackie had us wrap around the ballet barre. “Hold it like you’re water skiing,” she said. I informed her that I do not know how to water ski. She informed me that I was about to learn.  I’m not going to lie. I think I’m in fair shape from consistent practice, but  um, this is different. I was working on parts of my body I that didn’t even know I had, and they all let me know they were there and not entirely happy.

From arm weights to a ball that totally needs to have air added to it (at least if you expect it to bounce), the stretchy things, and the barre, there were more toys and moves in this practice than I’ve ever experienced before. Unfortunately, none of the tools would suffice for me using the ever-resistant muscles in my thighs, butt, arms, and gut. It’s amazing how much pain one can experience with just the slightest little moves (or ‘pulses’ as my Ballerina Nazi likes to call them). Also, have you ever noticed ballet teachers clap a lot to keep students on tempo? I fail miserably at keeping tempo with anything requiring coordination, so when Jackie got clapping really fast, all I could do was take a bow.

Okay, all kidding aside, I lost four dress sizes in sixty minutes. This type of workout is definitely one worth incorporating on a consistent basis.  Arden Hot Yoga has recently moved, and the new location is spacious, with a steady stream of yogis coming and going. Besides the *Barre classes, the studio features a big room for Vinyassa  Flow and Bikram style hot yoga. With a state of the art heating system, it doesn’t take much to get that internal fire burning and the sweat pouring. Besides showers and dressing rooms, AHY has child care! Yes, child care. What an awesome idea for busy working moms. I almost want to go adopt some kids so I can take advantage of it. Well, maybe not. Oh, and there’s a great water station (only they seemed a bit put off when I hauled in my empty five-gallon jugs).

In full-disclosure (this is what happens when you’re  in real estate), Arden Hot Yoga is like a home away from home to me now. I am in love with all the fabulous classes, instructors, workshops and the overall community spirit it offers.  While I’m all about experimenting and trying different classes and instructors often (and find the community component tangible in them all),  it’s nice to have a go-to studio where you can throw down your mat and feel like you’re home–especially when it’s only five minutes from home!

Speaking of Arden Hot Yoga, this coming Saturday is an Intention Workshop. No yoga poses, just plenty of intending, power meditating, and vibration-raising fun (1-3 pm, spaces still available).

Taking barre classes is going to lift your butt, shrink your gut, and make you much more popular at pool parties. Warning: Barre Yoga is highly addictive.   Check out their website & schedule here, and read Jackie’s impressive dance bio here.

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