Longtime masseuse and fitness instructor Jaimee Wirtenson was looking to teach some yoga classes at her old gym in Holbrook, but the boss there had another thing in mind.
“She was like, ‘You’re not going to teach yoga here; you’re going to teach barre,” Wirtenson recalled.
Wirtenson was told she was “meant” to teach the practice.
The hunch proved correct.
She was hooked. And, through her passion, and extensive training, Wirtenson proceeded to get others hooked.
Now, just over two years later, Wirtenson has opened her own studio on Route 112 in Patchogue, called Barre Strong, that features two levels of studios, as well as a massage room.
Aside from building a business — something she’s accustomed to — Wirtenson’s goal is to get the message out about barre, which she credits for solving a debilitating back injury — and more.
What is barre?
Wirtenson, who lives in East Patchogue, calls barre a “one-stop shop.”
“It combines the best elements of pilates, yoga and basic weight training,” she explained, noting the moves are all done to house music.
But, don’t be fooled by the ballet barre; this isn’t dance.
“It’s not a dance thing; we use the ballet barre as a prop to challenge balance and core strength,” she said. “This is a practice that is all about strengthening your core.”
Most modern fitnesses approaches emphasis core strengthening, which improves balance and stability — and that goes for top athletes to those just looking to be in better shape.
With barre, the core, balance and alignment is the entire focus, but Wirtenson also likes the mind-body harmony the exercises provide.
“Right now it’s the trendiest thing in the fitness world, because it really does change your body; it sculpts long, lean muscles,” she said. “But I want people to know that this is a truly therapeutic practice as well.
“It’s all about using your mind-body connection.”
Barre Strong, which opened last month, offers a variety of barre fitness classes, as well as traditional yoga classes, massage therapy and free childcare on Wednesday evenings.
The studio is located at 66 Route 112, behind the Coldwell Banker building.
Call (631) 428-4135 or follow along on Facebook for information.
story & photos by Michael White