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Bell Let's Talk Day: Emily's Story

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It's Bell Let's Talk Day and today Emily, one of our lovely Barre Instructors, is bravely sharing her struggle with anxiety and depression to help end the stigma associated with mental illness. Read her inspiring story of how the BBS community helped her heal and how she copes day to day.

   “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

   This quote from "Alice in Wonderland" when Alice fell down the rabbit hole and couldn’t find her sense of self. I am Alice and the rabbit hole is my depression. Yet, instead of being in a fantasy world, I am a happy young woman who at one point could not recognize a single piece of me that I admire anymore.

   Early 2017 came at me like a brick falling from the sky. With no reasonable explanation my brain shut down. I felt empty and held in limbo because my brain was telling me that a place for me in this world is something that was not created. Come to think of it, I may have been the only one in my inner circle that didn’t see the approach of my ultimate mental demise, but we can get to that later.

   If you were to go through my history, you would see that mental illness isn’t a new concept in my life. Panic attacks and anxiety have been a forefront of my personality since middle school. Vivid memories of crying till my head hurt and patches of hair falling out from stress framed my high school experience. This was all because I “needed” to get straight A’s.

   I have used almost every coping mechanism you can think of, none of them healthy. I would purge my food, over exercise, drink and then drink some more. Oh and after my last drink I’d finish it off with a bottle of wine. Like many other 20 something year old women I would rid my thoughts from my body to forget how terrified they made me. As a future Registered Dietitian with no other passion than to promote health, I was the ultimate fraud. Who in the hell should ever listen to me?

   I didn’t take my first stab at reaching out for help until Fall of 2014 in my third year of University. I was so down that I realized if I have to live another 80+ years with the thoughts that I was having, that I’d rather not live at all. To save you from boredom let’s say that my journey to wellness has been a bit of a roller coaster. Not staying consistent with my medication, reaching high points and then chasing lows with a shot of tequila. Fast forward to 2017 I had finished University with distinction, had several great jobs and amazing friends. But my dark past left me feeling like the real life Jekyll and Hyde.

   It wasn’t until March of 2017 that I took a step forward and never looked back. I’m not going to tell you what to do because there’s professionals for that, but I will share with you some things that have helped me start to move forward.

   The first thing I realized is that I surround myself with a group of cheerleaders who know me better than I know myself. Many of these women with astounding character I have found through the Barrebody community. By being open about my struggles with depression a few close friends were there to support me and immediately recognized that I was not okay. Through seeking help this time I realized that I didn’t have to go through my struggles alone and used my community as support. I went back to therapy, became stable on my medication, ate healthy, exercised, drank my water, ate my veggies, played my favorite music, appreciated nature and counted my blessings. I always thought that because of my privilege, I wasn’t allowed to not be okay. But depression shows no bias in selection. Never apologize for what goes on in your brain. Even the scary thoughts make you great.

   I wrote the above words in the summer of 2017. I found revisiting these experiences difficult, likely due to the rawness of the emotions that I was writing and how they made me feel. Facing your feelings can be difficult. Facing your feelings can be heavy. Yet, one thing that is true is that you need to suffer in the darkness before light can shine through.

   As I was writing this post, the universe proved its nature of working in mysterious ways. I was driving home from work and listening to Chris Falconer’s podcast “Open up and Om”. While I was listening I got a reminder that I needed. He was interviewing YEG yoga teacher Amanda Bell-Tardif and she said something that stuck with me:

   "A lot of people don’t want to feel the movement of emotion… And I see so much beauty in the ability to feel pain and suffering. Suffering is essential because then you can start to feel the beauty… I was driving here and the wind was flowing through my car and I was playing my favorite music and those little simplicities. And you can’t appreciate that if you haven’t been taken away from being able to enjoy anything. There’s a numbness that starts to surface and when you start to chip away at that numbness then the intensity of the feeling starts to surface and it’s not pretty and it’s not fun. But then through the darkness you can come into the light. And the stars are only bright in the darkness. So your light shines through and that will always happen. If you put the work in, it will come."

   Because I’ve let myself work through my suffering and face my thoughts, my darkness has become my triumph. My bad days are now when I am able to learn the most about myself. I don’t self medicate anymore. I choose to experience my feelings. And through experiencing my feelings I grow. I used to always think that if I got over my depression, the final piece of my puzzle would be complete. I saw depression as something that I had to fix, because I felt so broken. But mental health is dynamic and my depression is chronic. My experience with depression relates to my ability to feel. My ability to feel is one of the greatest parts of me. I’ll never apologize for feeling too much.

   By letting my puzzle fall apart last year I was able to pick up only the pieces that I wanted to keep. I was also able to let the pieces fall away that did not serve me. Who I am, is no longer a puzzle. It's something that changes, grows and will likely never be complete. This is something I’m okay with because this is life, and now I am living.

   If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or are having suicidal thoughts please call the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line. To find out how you can help raise money for mental health initiatives on #BellLetsTalk Day click here.

 

 


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styling@mariezydek.com

Proper Stretching Technique Series #2: Floor Hamstring Stretch

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Today we're continuing our Proper Stretching Technique Series with the Floor Hamstring Stretch. We perform this exercise at the end of class to help lengthen and stretch the backs of our legs, which can feel tight after we work them repeatedly in class. This is a great stretch that can also be done at home on a mat or carpet.

 

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Stretching properly in (and out) of class is extremely important so if you have any questions about this exercise or any others please ask a Barre Instructor! To check out the Barre Body Stretch which also targets the hamstrings and is a great alternative to this floor stretch, click here.

 

 


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styling@mariezydek.com

BBS Hall of Fame: Christalene

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Meet Christalene - a barre superstar who has completed over 540 classes since becoming a BBS member in 2015. You will often see her in a Barre Press class on her lunch break since her employer is located just steps away from the studio. Christalene is a POWERHOUSE and constantly pushes herself every single class. Her drive and dedication is inspiring and we love having her in the studio! Check out her feature below!

Why do you barre so hard?

I have discovered this inner burn to keep pushing myself to new limits. Barre also allows me to escape some of my everyday pressures and focus on me, and making a better me. 

How has barre impacted you? 

Barre has impacted me the most in how I view my physical body. I have transformed my personal thoughts about myself mentally and physically. Plus I have met the most awesome and supportive group of people I am happy to call my tribe!

How did you get introduced to barre?

I was taking a pole dancing course and was really struggling on the core aspects. They taught a barre class at that studio but the class timing was off and that is when I started to look for a studio that worked for me. I couldn’t be more pleased that I can walk over during my lunch hours to escape. 

What keeps you motivated at the barre?

Having small goals. Sometimes it is just to get through that class, other times it is to push myself till the burn and shakes are too much. And then it is bigger things like hitting 700 classes. 

What does being a part of the BBS Tribe mean to you?

I really couldn't imagine my life without barre. This group of ladies has pushed me, helped me, hugged me when I was upset and taught me so much. But the most important thing is that we motivate each other to come. 

Other than barre, do you do any other activities?

Anything outside. I love to walk my dogs, I have a beautiful yard that I love to spend time in and sit and have a glass of wine and enjoy the peace and quite. 

What are your guilty pleasures?

Sweets. I love to eat sugar and it loves my hips. Love/hate relationship really. 

Tell us 3 things we don’t know about you:

1. I use to competitively shoot a handgun. And was in the top 10 female in Alberta. 

2.  I love to quad. The dirtier the better.

3. I have worked at my current employer since I have been 15. 

What is your favorite book?

I love to read business management books. My favorite is probably 'Strengthfinder.'

 

 


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styling@mariezydek.com

Barre Beats January 2018

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It may be cold outside but inside BBS we're heating up the studio with music that will make you want to MOVE and SWEAT! Below are the jams our Instructors have on their playlists this month!

Katchi - Ofenbach vs. Nick Waterhouse

Boss - Diclosure

Filthy - Justin Timberlake

Fresh 'Til Death - Pressure feat. Drew Ryn

Lemon - N.E.R.D. & Rhianna

Bend - Ria Mae

Havana - Camila Cabelo feat. Young Thug

Tip Toe - Jason Derulo feat. French Montana

Wolves - Selena Gomez & Marshmallow

Say Less - Dillon Francis feat. G-EAZY

Won't Stop Rocking -R3hab & Headhunterz

Love So Soft - Kelly Clarkson

New Rules - Dia Lupa

What Lovers Do - Maroon 5 feat. SZA

Mi Gente - J Balvin, Willy William feat. Beyonce

What have you been listening to lately? Let us know in the comments!


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styling@mariezydek.com

Proper Stretching Technique Series #1: Barre Body Stretch

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If you've taken class at BBS you know how much we love to stretch! Stretching helps us maintain and increase our flexibility while creating those long, lean, "ballerina" muscles instead of building bulk. It also gives our hard-working muscles a little break throughout class, in between those oh-so-intense, repetitive Barre exercises, promoting blood flow. And not only does stretching relax our muscles, it helps to relax our minds as well. But if we don't set ourselves up correctly for a stretch we won't get much out of it and incorrect alignment can lead to injury. This is why proper form is so important! And today we are featuring one of our most popular stretches: The Barre Body Stretch which targets the hamstrings.

Your Barre Instructor will always queue a stretch in class but by showing you visuals of the incorrect and correct way of executing this exercise we hope you a gather a better understanding of where your alignment should be.

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Incorrect Form

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Correct Form

Please note: If you have tight hamstrings, keep your knee bent. Your leg does not have to be straight when placed on the barre.

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If you are really flexible

To modify this stretch you can come off the barre and do the Triangle Hamstring Stretch that is done in the warm up with both hands reaching to the floor, or rest them on the shin or quad.

If you have any questions about the Barre Body Stretch or any other stretch please ask an Instructor. We will be highlighting many other Barre stretches in the next coming weeks so please stay tuned for those!


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styling@mariezydek.com

A New Year

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Happy New Year everyone! It’s time for fresh starts and endless possibilities. Do you set New Year’s resolutions? Since more than half of all “resolutions” fail, we here at BBS like to call them goals instead. And even though we're 4 days into 2018, it’s not too late to set some! But how do we go about actually achieving our goals? Here are 3 quick tips:

1. Be specific. “I will attend barre class more often.” This is too vague. How many classes would you like to go to a week? Two? Three? Four? For how long? For the next month? Or for the next year? Get clear and concrete.

2. Write it down. On a piece of paper, list all that you want to achieve this year and keep that piece of paper or a sticky note somewhere you can see it every day: On your bathroom mirror, on your fridge, beside your nightstand. This is a good way to remind you of what you want to accomplish and will help keep you on track. Plus, putting pen to paper makes it official!

3. Tell your family and friends about your goal(s). They can hold you accountable for the change(s) you want to make, whether it be exercising more, drinking more water or simply going to bed earlier. They can support you on your journey!

To learn more about goal-setting and to find out about our Hustle Over Hype Challenge, click here.

We chatted with our staff and students at BBS to see what they’d like to achieve in 2018 and here’s what they said:

“This year I want to stop worrying about what I can’t control.” – Erika, Instructor

“I’m going to start painting again!” – Amanda, Barrestar

“In 2018 I am going to say “no” more. And drink less coffee.” – Anu, Front Desk

“I want to recommit to regular barre classes for sure – I try to do at least 3 a week to keep my core strong as that helps so much with my lower back issues! I’m also going to try to get to bed before midnight. As my kids get older I stay up later and later to catch up on stuff around the house.” – Susan, Barrestar

“I vow to stop using less paper cups.” – Emily, Instructor

“I have so many things I want to do:  I want to get to work by 8 a.m., take a knitting course, volunteer at a dog rescue shelter, run another half marathon, buy a house, swear less….” – Jill, Instructor

 “This year I plan on going to Seattle at Spring Break and having a seafood bread bowl!” – Laurie, Barrestar

"One of my goals is to spend less time on social media."- Marie, Instructor

“I want to worry less and I want to have a kinder inner dialogue.” – Lauren, Barrestar

“My goal is to make peace with the side line series in barre class.” – Claire, Instructor and soon-to-be lover of all side line series.

What do YOU want to achieve in 2018? Leave a comment in the comment section below!

 

 


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lauren@barrebodystudio.com

BBS Hall of Fame: Amanda

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Meet Amanda - a barre all-star, who is an absolute pleasure to have in each class. She is a force to be reckoned with, pursuing each move in the class with such grace and tenacity. Amanda isn’t afraid to take on the challenges of class – whether it’s a new cardio move or a new combo movement, she is giving it 100% each time. Amanda’s positive energy each class contributes to the energy that is barre body studio. It is a joy to have Amanda with us each and every time. She is always so welcoming to others in class, to the staff, and is the definition of strength.

 

Why do you barre so hard?

I barre so hard to create balance in my life.
 
How has barre impacted you?

I can honestly say that barre has improved my overall quality of life. Prior to discovering barre I found myself in a physical activity rut. I had no drive or desire to go to the gym like I once use to. The effects of the rut were evident. I had put on weight, had low energy and was irritable. I felt completely suffocated. This went on for several years until I was introduced to barre. I still recall my first class. It was a Barre Press class instructed by Katherine. I intentionally selected the 45-minute class thinking it would be less physically and mentally demanding that the 60-minute classes offered. Katherine quickly proved my theory wrong. I remember thinking it was pure torture. However, a funny twist occurred. Much like others, in a flash I found myself addicted. Barre has improved my over-all health, boosted my self-esteem, and reduced my stress, while bettering my mood and energy levels.

What is your favourite way to treat yourself?

Wine + Netfix + My Bed (dog included) = Bliss

I cannot think of a better way to indulge.

 

What is your favourite book, movie, or TV show of all time?

I am drawn to anything that is wrought with human misery. My all-time favorite book is titled Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. I first read it when I was 19 years old before it was featured by Oprah’s Book Club. I feel inclined to include that detail as I have a strong dislike of Mrs. Winfrey. I was immediately captivated by the dark plot of the book. My goal is to reread it every ten years as my interpretation of the themes changes with age. I just celebrated my 40th birthday this last summer. As such, I am due to pick it up again.

 


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lauren@barrebodystudio.com

Hustle over Hype

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At this time of the year, our newsfeeds are constantly filled with words of wisdom, goal setting advice, and inspirational quotes such as “new year, new you”. The way we see things though is that you are still you – working hard at your goals, no matter what the date on the calendar says. Instead of reinventing yourself and the wheel to accomplish your dreams, we are calling you to use this time of the year to reevaluate how you’re going to choose to get there.

 

Goal setting can be a very powerful tool to help you achieve your goals. It is a tangible form to see for yourself what you’re hoping to accomplish. It can hold you accountable by having your goals in words – a written contract is far more binding than a verbal one. Pursuing goals allows us to feel those good vibes more often.  It has been reported that goal pursuit increases our happiness levels and life satisfaction – aka our subjective well-being (SWB). This continual pursuit of happiness is what can lead to self-motivated behaviour, allowing us to stay on track in accomplishing our goals.  On the other side of that, if we are constantly procrastinating on starting to work towards our goals, our SWB goes down. This will bring less of the good vibes into our lives, creating less motivation to actually start on those goals. That being said, goal completion and dream attainment does not come easy. There will be setbacks, and there will be delays. But in constant pursuit there will be gains, accomplishments, and achievements. Another word we have for constant pursuit is hustle. Hard work pays off, and it does not come easy. Hustle takes discipline, self-awareness, control, and good habits. So the question still remains, how do we get started on working towards our goals?

 

Here at Barre Body Studio we want to help. We have created a challenge to help you get started in the pursuit of your dreams: "Hustle over Hype".

For this challenge, you will sign up at your home studio and write your name on the challenge board. Next to your name, you will write a goal down – one you hope to achieve or hope to create habits towards completing by the end of the challenge. Writing down your goals and posting them publically holds you more accountable to pursing them, opens up conversation with others to help you achieve them, and makes them more of a reality. By writing down your goals, it turns your dreams into plans. The tasks of this challenge can continue on for you past the end of this challenge, January 31. Setting a completion time for when you hope to have your goals achieved by or at least habits formed towards completing your goal will set you up further for success. For this challenge, we will have no physical prizes (the hype). Your reward comes from your hustle – your hard work towards attainment of your goals and the good vibes you feel from goal progression. The hustle is more important than the hype.

 

So let’s get started! Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking of a goal that works best for your dreams:

- Break down the big tasks – set small manageable goals that add up to the end result.

- Take the time to understand the motivation for wanting to achieve your goal and build your goals based on your motivation.

- Create a vision for yourself in the future and then work backwards to the present to set your goals to keep them on track for your end result.

- Your tasks/goals need to be meaningful to you in order for you to gain positive benefits from them. Really think about what it is you truly want, not what others expect from you and go from there. In other words, your goals need to be intrinsically interesting to you, and you only.

- Set a realistic timeline for your goals – having a certain end date to your goals will push and motivate you to take action without making them unachievable.

- Lastly, make sure they’re true to you, not what is culturally relevant!

 

Some goal examples we have for you are:

-       Complete 18 classes in the 24 days of the challenge

-       Pre-book all of your January classes with no cancellations

-       Work your way through each class to increase your weights for arm series

-       Try new class types or new instructors

-       Drink 3L of water each day

-       Eat more fruits and vegetables each meal

-       Take steps to get a good night’s sleep each night

-       Take action to help meet new friends

 

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get 2018 started with your best foot forward!

 

XO,

 

Barre Body Studio - Edmonton

 

#meetmeatthebarre

 

Check out these articles and worksheets for more information on goal setting and dream achievement!

Girl Boss: https://www.girlboss.com/girlboss/2017/12/12/goal-setting-methods

Lululemon Goal worksheets: http://info.lululemon.com/content/dam/lululemon/features/holiday/2015/VG_worksheet_2015.pdf

 


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