Barre3 Blog 1/16/15

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Part of what hooked me from the beginning with barre3 was the instructors’ frequent reminders to stand tall and move with grace and strength, so that we can strengthen our bodies from the inside out. Shaking and quaking in class, strengthening those tiny stabilizer muscles, surrounded by women of all ages, shapes and sizes - and sometimes men too - I took this to heart and carried it with me not only in class, but also in my life outside of the studio.
I joined barre3 in 2008, when my three boys were 12, 10 and 10, and I was a full-time mom. Life was good in some ways, but my world, and my time, revolved around everyone but me. My back was going out. I was experiencing random and extreme nausea for no reason. I knew I needed to start taking better care of myself.
When I found barre3, I felt I had found the workout I had been looking for my entire life, but little did I know how much more it would come to mean to me. In the beginning, I preferred to face the back wall as opposed to facing the mirror. I didn’t like the way I looked. To be honest, I had always felt self-conscious about my body, and I particularly did not like my butt or my legs. But staring at that wall, hands in prayer position, finding a newfound balance and strength, I began to heal.
One year later, at my annual physical, they measured my height and instead of being 5’4”, I was 5’5.” I had grown a full inch! As my posture improved, so did my ability to stand up for myself in daily life. I started to set boundaries and explore who I was and what I wanted in life.
That same year my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she died eight months later. Her death coincided with my decision to file for divorce. I have never cried so much in my life, and I have never been so afraid as I navigated those dark days. At times, it felt like climbing a mountain and upon reaching what you thought would be the top, you find a false summit and realize your climb has only just begun. But then there I would be in class, holding some seriously intense pose, shaking like crazy, and I would get through it.
The dark times and the steep climbs have led to one of the most joyful and fulfilling times of my life… just like the hundreds of planks and thousands of inches up and down, and the long, formidable holds in class led to amazing changes in my body. Somewhere along the line I began to face the mirror. I began to receive compliments on my butt and legs. Today, I feel more beautiful - inside and out - than I ever have in my life. My boys are now 18, 16 and 16. I hope the example I have set for them is one of finding the grace within to live an authentic life, and choose joy over fear. I know how strong I am now; I know what I am capable of. And barre3 has had a lot to do with that.

1 comment

  • Tracy

    Tracy Portland, OR

    Ashley, your writing and honesty are beautiful.

    Ashley, your writing and honesty are beautiful.

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