Barre class followed by an ice-cold beer is enough to make any weekend great, but this past weekend got even better when our Barre class was held inside the brewery. Last weekend Hartford Sweat hosted a Barre class in “Hartford’s Living Room,” aka Hog River Brewing Company. We got the chance to chat with Lauren Skau Taylor, our Barre instructor for the afternoon, to discover how this fun fitness event came into fruition.
AM: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and Hartford Sweat?
LST: I have a background of 12 years of ballet and dance as a child. Fitness, dance and movement have always been a part of my life. In 2013 after completing a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, I took a few Barre classes, and fell in love with how the classes complimented my Yoga practice. I became certified in 2014 through Balanced Body Barre and then in 2017 through Exhale Barre Training. I currently teach Hot Power Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, and Barre.
I am a Speech/Language Pathologist by day, and a Yoga and Barre Instructor before and after school hours. My day job includes working with nonverbal students who have significant needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. My job, which I love, comes with a lot of responsibility and definitely some stress. Yoga and Barre are my fitness and therapy.
Hartford Sweat is a spectacular, friendly Yoga and Fitness Studio right in downtown Hartford. The owners, Rakyel and Tory Brogan, focus on a supportive community for teachers and yogis. The studio does a little over 40 classes a week, centered around the practice of yoga like Hot yoga and Bikram, Power, Yin, and Restorative as well as more up-beat with toning and cardio including Barre, Yoga Sculpt, and Zumba.
AM: How did you get involved in teaching this event?
LST: I started teaching Barre at Hartford Sweat in 2016, the same year that Hog River Brewing Company opened. I saw an article about the brewery, made a visit there, and really enjoyed the vibe and expansiveness of the place, not to mention the quality of their beverages. Many similar places (breweries and wineries) were doing Yoga classes at the time, but I didn’t see any doing Barre in this area. So I talked to Ben & Joy Braddock, the owners [of Hog River Brewing Co.], and they were very open to the idea.
AM: What made you both decide to blend Barre and beer?
LST: Both Hartford Sweat and Hog River Brewing Co. are small businesses dedicated to helping bring people to the city and exposing them to all the unique offerings the city has to offer. This like-minded thinking made it an easy fit when I brought the idea to the table.
It wasn’t really that I thought Barre and beer belong together, it was more about how to get people together to get a really great workout in a fun and unique atmosphere; especially people who may not otherwise try a Barre workout thinking that they weren’t coordinated enough, or fit enough. In the Brewery, it’s about the workout, but also about having fun, laughing with friends, making new ones and relaxing afterwards with a beer, wine, cider, kombucha or cold-brewed coffee or tea.
AM: Can you describe what patrons can expect when they walk through the doors?
LST: It’s nothing like your local yoga studio! Part of what makes the class so fun is that the brewery offers a really unique space for the class. We incorporate the space as much as we can into the workout, for example, using beer rails to help support movements. It creates a fun and engaging atmosphere.
AM: How would you describe the challenge level of this class?
LST: The Barre at the Brewery class is definitely challenging. Like a typical Barre class, it includes a warm-up, upper bodywork, lower bodywork—thighs and glutes, core exercises, and stretching. You’ll feel the workout when you are done, but you’ll be having so much fun you won’t even realize it. Mostly, I hope to spread my enthusiasm and help students focus on connecting with their bodies because we lose that so much in our busy, day-to-day lives.
AM: Do participants in the event linger/socialize in the brewery following the class?
LST: Absolutely! Admission to the class includes a complimentary beverage of choice – craft beer, hard cider, wine, kombucha or cold-brewed tea or coffee, so everyone sticks around for that. A nice benefit to the class is that attendees get the brewery to themselves after class until the taproom opens to the public at 2pm. Some invite their friends after class and the brewery serves them, so it’s like having a little pre-opening get together. There are food trucks on the weekend too!
AM: What makes this event special?
LST: Bringing Barre into a space outside the typical studio setting gives us a chance to expose it to a whole new audience. We love that it becomes more of an event for the attendees because of the added social hangout time after class. There’s just something fun about kicking your legs up on a beer rail! It brings a lot of fun to the workout, and the setting has such a feel of family and friendships. You’ve just participated in a group workout class, made it through a challenging workout with some fun and laughs, and then it’s time to relax.
AM: Will you be hosting other events like this in the future?
LST: Yes, indeed! We have another “Barre at the Brewery” planned for Sunday, November 4th! People can find it on the Hartford Sweat website, or call the studio.
AM: What do you love most about the capital city?
LST: Before teaching at Hartford Sweat, I had not spent a lot of time in Hartford. I was more or less a typical “suburbanite,” going in for dinner or happy hour, a show or concert, and that was about it. Since I started teaching at Hartford Sweat 2 1/2 years ago, I have spent much more time in the city and have really grown to learn and enjoy all it has to offer.
Article submitted by Alexa and Erica Morawski. Lauren Skau Taylor is a fitness instructor at Hartford Sweat, owned by Rakyel and Tory Brogan. Hartford Sweat is the winner in the Best Yoga category of CTNOW Best Of Hartford Reader’s Poll 2018.
Hog River Brewing Co, owned by Ben & Joy Braddock, is a Natural Nutmeg 10BEST brewery, and was voted Best of Hartford Magazine as Best Local Craft Brewery 2017 and 2018 and Best Brewery to Visit in Best of Connecticut Magazine 2017.
To check out footage of this event, visit the @naturalnutmegmagazine Instagram page events highlight.