Thicha Srivisal of Barre Lab on the importance of human anatomy and pilates as an instructor
More than just grace
Most people underestimate the impact of barre; especially because it revolves around clenching and squeezing, followed by rotating and balancing. You're not going at a speed of 45km/hr, nor are you pushing yourself to the brink of tears.
But boy is it a feat. Fresh out of a class with Cholthicha Srivisal (her moniker, Thicha and @thicapilates) at Barre Lab, I'm sweaty and sore but beaming to find out that I've clocked in a total of 309 calories on my Apple Watch in under an hour.
While Thicha was first professionally trained in ballet, Barre Lab is her second venture here in Singapore. Her first? Breathe Pilates. The Thai instructor first delved into pilates when she suffered an injury while she was still in university majoring in finance. Eventually, she quit the rat race in pursuit of her real passion. Below, we chatted more about her journey, pilates, and the prequisites of being a barre instructor.
Having first started out in ballet, why did you decide to venture into pilates?
Even when I was training classically, pilates helped me a lot. The principles of barre and pilates are in fact, very similar. Most people get into pilates for rehabilitation, either for back pain or disc injuries. This knowledge is easily translated and applied in barre — making it a full-body workout. Going back to barre, was a natural progression for me. It was where I started my journey.
What would you say needs to be done before becoming a barre instructor?
Besides the certification course (where I did mine at Total Barre), I would say it is important to know the human anatomy. If you understand it, it will be especially helpful to you. Many people who come in here have back issues, and you need to pay attention to the alignment if you don't want any back pains. It isn't just about teaching choreography.
What are the benefits of a barre class?
You're working your whole body — your legs, your arms, your abdominal and your core. You're also having fun with the music. Barre is a class that's upbeat, so much so that you're also getting some cardio in as well.
How do you make a barre class productive?
The teacher has to be energetic, in order to engage the students. Music is also really important. Last week, I did an '80s themed class and today I went with reggae and pop. I control the music easily from my Apple Watch Series 4, as I track my activity there by creating a workout before I start a class. It's extremely motivating and it also teaches me how to spend my calories. If I eat more, I will want to exercise more. That bit of information encourages people to be more active as a whole.