And Then I Almost Didn’t!

My good friend and colleague has become a Bar Method teacher.  She has invited me several times, and I was bound and determined to give it a try, especially under her kind care…ya know, just in case an ambulance needed to be called.

A few minutes late, I whiz in, boy at the counter quickly gives me the run down, and I’m suddenly in the back of a carpeted room full of women with small hand weights.  What’s so hard about this?  The room is also set up like a dance studio.  It has ballet barres all around with mirrors, and big windows that reminded me of my time at the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  It felt warm, welcoming, and Jenn’s familiar voice giving instruction was a breath of fresh air. I was feeling good.

As I catch the tail end of the arm weight section, I’m immediately filled with confidence that I’m going to survive.  What happened next I’m not sure I can recount in order.  It becomes a blur at some point.  We put our weights away, and started doing push ups.   Then, we went to the barre, I started scanning the room for a trashcan, deeply worried I was going to throw up.  I decided next to the exit door was my spot.  We did a series of exercises that pushed my muscles to maximum fatigue, I was sweating like a mule, and definitely felt the urge to hurl more than once.  At one point during the thigh section, I swear I saw white light.  I thought, wow, I’m dying here? In Pasadena? With Jenn?  At a ballet barre?   Thankfully I walked away from the light, broke through, and kept squeezing and crunching and lifting.

I had to modify several of the movements to a “beginner” level.  I was ok with this.  My caring instructor, and her assistant, made me feel comfortable with this as well.  They made this sort of medieval torture meets work out class seem tolerable,  and almost soothing.  When the class was over, I was overwhelmed with relief.  I was so excited that I didn’t faint.  I was proud of myself for once again, stepping out and trying to get something back I once had.  It made me one step closer to feeling like my goals are possible, and within reach.

As Jenn and I left together, I nearly stumbled down the stairs.  My legs were like noodles, and I had to hold onto both hand rails to get down.  Now THIS my friends, is a work out.  We had a conversation that lead me to realize why working this hard is necessary.  Muscles have incredible memory.  Mine are remembering that we used to do extremely hard things, like classical ballet.  Walking around the neighborhood is not going to cut it.  I’m going to have to save some pennies before I can commit to more Bar Method, but I promise you, I’m convinced this kind of class will cleanse my soul, my body, and a several dress sizes in no time.  If I continue some of the other stuff I’ve been doing, I may be able to make it through my next class without seeing that light!       Thanks Jenn!!!!



  1. shannon said,

    July 30, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Yep. Its a hard one…this statement coming from a frequent spinner who already has pretty strong thighs. The thing is with working out…you gotta commit time and energy to it (and eat healthy) and you will see results. Just stick with it in whatever workout you do…and sweat. I’m on holiday right now and just did 20 minutes on the treadmill…fun,fun. Congrats on today, I hope there’s many more bar sessions in you future.

  2. samayazmom said,

    July 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I hear ya loud and clear Shan! This is the fundamental reason soooooo many mothers are out of shape. Time and energy for ourselves always comes last on the list. People like you who commit inspire me! Where there is will there is a way, right? I’ll see you at the barre in no time my friend!!!!

  3. liz said,

    July 30, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I am truly impressed by your commitment and your high pain tolerance!!!! I tried a kick boxing class several years ago and pulled my hip/lower back out about 10 mins into it and had to limp out in shame! Keep it up!!!!!!

  4. July 31, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Like Liz, I am really impressed. I can barely make it through yoga, and if I felt the need to vomit I would be out of there so fast! Very cool Heather! Keep us updated. I would soooooo love to have a dancer’s body. Maybe in my next life?

  5. Dory said,

    August 2, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for the inspiration Heather! I’ve been trying to get back to ballet for months now. A friend of mine teaches a class in Pasadena and somehow I never find the time to get to her class. there is one tonight and I WILL MAKE IT!!! xoxo

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