Q+A: Jasmine McCarthy of Shaktibarre

A Shaktibarre class is more than just an exercise session. It's a barre and yoga fusion workout and an introduction to an inclusive community from all across the neighborhood. Offering classes that incorporate meditation, HIIT, and ballet into their signature barre-yoga style, this recent addition to the Dumbo wellness scene is Shaktibarre's third location in NYC.

We stopped by the Water street studio to talk to site-owner Jasmine McCarthy about the Shaktibarre community, and how she went from seeing an ad on the subway to managing an entire location.

What is Shaktibarre's mission?

The mission is to bring that feeling of boutique fitness to the masses, and make it more affordable and welcoming. A lot of the smaller boutique fitness studios, although of course there’s nothing wrong with them, feel unattainable - their advertising feels like you have to be one type of person to go there.

We try to make Shaktibarre a community where you can come no matter who you are, the level of fitness you’re at, no matter if you’ve taken barre or yoga, or you’ve never worked out in your life. You can come here even if you’re not working out - if you need an hour with yourself or some time with a girlfriend. We have a community space at the front in all of our locations. It’s a free workspace, so if you take a class or buy a bottle of water you can sit here and use the wifi and work and connect. Wherever you are, come, and we’re here for you.

Wherever you are, come, and we’re here for you.

What classes do you offer?

Our signature class is Shaktibarre, which is the name of the studio. The class runs 55 minutes long: 40 minutes of traditional barre and 15 minutes of yoga. We always start with a sun salutation and end with a shavasinha. We work through the chakra system. It’s reminiscent of other barre and yoga classes in that you’re going to see moves that you’ve done before but you may not have done them this way before.

Then, we have offshoots of the Shaktibarre class. All of our classes are done on a yoga mat (you can rent or bring your own). Shakti-Hiit is a cardio version of the class. Shakticore is very core-centered and the vinyasa is a balancing flow, and then we have Shaktiballet which is leading from a ballet class. We also have Blissbarre on Saturday mornings, which is a gentler flow and version of Shaktibarre sequencing - we use the barre and we don’t use any props like weights or a ball. Finally, we have Blissflow on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s, which is a restorative yoga class where our instructor Alice plays the violin in class - it’s wonderful.

How did you become a part of Shaktibarre?

So my husband actually saw the subway ad and told me I should go try a class, and at the time we were living across the street from the Williamsburg studio. So I went, and loved it, and got an unlimited membership! Then, one day in class the instructor was having a technical issue with her music device, and I offered up my phone because I had playlists on there for the barre classes that I taught at the time in the city. Through the grapevine, the owners then reached out to me to see if I was interested in teaching, and that's how I joined the team!

Tell me about the Shaktibarre community

We encourage people to leave the space a little bit better than when you came in, whether that’s in terms of your energy, making a friend, making a contribution, or something else. Our community right now is primarily feminine, although we welcome everyone, it’s mostly young moms and millennial workers. A lot of people are trying to figure out who we are and they’ve been very open to our mission and our work so far, and trying to make that a part of their lives, as well.

We’re still trying to get more of the outside community in here. We encourage everyone to get to know their instructors, and fellow class-mates, to hang out and get tea together before or after class and make friends. We encourage people to sit down and relax and get to know somebody if you have the time. That’s what we’re trying to build, not just a place to go in and out for a workout, but an experience where you take time to slow down. It’s crazy outside! Even the people who come in at 7am, they’re rushing out the door!

That’s what we’re trying to build, not just a place to go in and out for a workout, but an experience where you take time to slow down.

Why did the Shaktibarre team choose DUMBO for a third location?

We like DUMBO because the neighborhood is still a little bit up-and-coming. There are a lot of people who work here that come in from other parts of Brooklyn, which we like. The neighborhood’s demographic is very wide. We like to be in areas that starting to gentrify, where there’s a higher and lower end of the income spectrum living under the same “roof.” Just three blocks down the street is a completely different demographic than right outside of our front door. Wherever we are, we want to bridge the community and bring people together. We offer reduced rate pricing for lower income clients and even our regular pricing is lower than a lot of boutique fitness across the city.

Shaktibarre from outside
Shaktibarre from outside

Where does Shaktibarre fit into the wellness community in DUMBO

Shaktibarre is about mind-body-awareness and being a good human, we’re trying to find that little niche in DUMBO. BK Yoga club is definitely along the same lines of what we do for yoga - we love those girls. The other fitness clubs and spaces are awesome, like Crossfit and boxing. We’re looking to create a little hub around wellness and fitness here in DUMBO, in these couple of blocks.

And finally, What’s your favorite spot in DUMBO?

Time Out Market is my favorite thing ever. I freaking love it there. I also really love Butler cafe, it’s very airy and clean, they’re very sweet over there. I like to walk down Jay street, where there’s still construction, because right now there’s nobody on that running path in the mornings. I really love it there, its my hidden gem - although now I'm telling everyone about it!

Shaktibarre classes are offered seven days a week. You can book classes online or visit the studio, located at 164 Water street. 

Mentioned in this article

BK Yoga Club Time Out Market