Exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all activity. Everyone has their own exercise(s) of choice and it should really be about what makes your body feel its best. For me, exercise in the form of a mat workout or standing next to a barre is my go-to. I love the burn of a good Pilates class, the mindset of feeling strong during a barre workout, and the feeling that I could stretch and breathe for hours during a yoga class. What I love most about these workouts is the way my body feels after them: refreshed, strong and healthy.
It’s all about mindset when it comes to exercise – if you feel good about the exercise you’re doing, you’ll be able to accomplish an effective, healthy workout.
I’m always on the lookout for yoga/Pilates studios that make me feel comfortable, “at home”, and empowered. When I came across Framewrk, a mixed movement studio in Toronto’s east end, I was immediately intrigued. They’re all about mindfulness when it comes to working out – which I’m all about! I first discovered the studio on Instagram and after checking out their website, I was super interested to see what their classes would be like.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Founder and Owner, Josephine Cuthill. She took me through one of her full-body barre classes and as I extended, flexed, pointed and engaged, she explained the importance of mindfulness when it comes to practicing barre. I’ve always loved barre workouts, but after her class I was even more in love with it. She really had me working my mind as much as my body, as I focused on tiny movements of muscles I hardly ever use – all while making sure I breathed and kept a proper posture.
As we chatted and worked out, Josephine provided me with the three main benefits of barre:
- Increased body awareness: with the emphasis on form and small muscle execution you have to be super aware of how the work is happening in your body, where it is coming from and what needs to happen in order to perform the movement better.
- Improved posture: there is a huge focus on the postural muscles in the back, shoulders and abs – all which help in creating improved posture.
- Gains in strength in definition: barre classes focus on specific movements that involve many small muscles that are typically inactive in a modern lifestyle. With continued barre movements, the inactive muscles get fired up and are more likely to become tone and defined.
I love these benefits, including the feeling of length and strength once I’ve completed a barre workout.
Framewrk is an awesome studio, and as I looked around the large, sunny space I felt so much at home. It’s such a comfortable space and that’s exactly how Josephine intends for it to be. “I wanted to create a safe space for people who were intimidated to try new classes or movement practices because of their fitness level or their experience in that practice”, said Josephine. She mentioned that often people will arrive at a new studio feeling a bit timid and unsure of how the vibe of the space will be, but she makes Framewrk a place for people to explore what feels right for them without judgment from the other students, instructor or studio.
Photos by Lilac Media Group