My journey at barre3 started as a client – after a good friend of mine finally persuaded me to join her at a class on a Saturday morning! I had steered clear away from barre style fitness until then – something about it, as a former competitive dancer, just didn’t appeal to me.
I could not have imagined how WRONG I was about the class. I was carrying in all of these preconceived notions and assumptions… never a good thing to do! You really can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case – a studio by its name.
I soon fell into a regular barre3 practice, complementing my yoga practice and regular trips to the gym. For the next few months, I began to realize how much I loved everything about the studio. The classes, the teachers, the space – even the way we found shakes & quakes in every class. I knew that I loved teaching and getting people to move and sweat – and this seemed like the perfect fit for my (at times) bundles of energy and love for moving. When I finally gathered the courage to ask the studio owner how I could apply to be an instructor… she asked me! It was in that moment that I realized I was meant to be in that space.
Since becoming certified in December 2015, I’ve discovered that what keeps me going to classes (and teaching them) is not the physical benefits, but the mental ones. Of course, the physical ones are great – don’t get me wrong! Not only does my body feel as strong and healthy as ever, but so does my mind. My barre3 practice has taught me that there is really no such thing as achieving perfection, and that there shouldn’t be an “end goal” – rather, we should be enjoying the ride that is life! Teaching here has helped me find balance throughout some crazy months, especially keeping my mental health in check. This is why I chose to support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for this #GoodKarma project.
There is definitely still a huge stigma toward mental illness, as well as an innate bias and lack of empathy. I had previously experienced this in the workplace, and it made me realize how many people are in a situation where they cannot just walk away from the persons/places/things that may be contributing to their current mental health. CAMH provides a wide variety of care and services for mental health, and is also a leading institution for brain science research, focusing on genetics, molecular medicine, brain imaging and new drug development to better and prevent illness. It’s my hope that in helping people lead a more balanced lifestyle by guiding them through their barre3 practice that this supports their mental (and physical) health. When people are healthy and happy, they’re able to pay that good energy forward!
Written by Jacklyn Marwah Chow, Karma Activist