On Monday, Move Ya Brass celebrated the 4th anniversary of their run/walk group. What started as a Facebook post has now blossomed into a fitness community with over 500 members.
“We have such a diversity from different type of age groups to different type of nationalities but then even different type of work ethics,” founder Robin Barnes told Adore.
Move Ya Brass is a local fitness community that offers free exercise classes with New Orleans flair. Besides the run/walk group, they offer high energy cardio classes and mindful yoga/stretch classes. People of all levels and experience are welcome to join any of the classes.
Barnes started Move Ya Brass after a health scare. As a full-time musician, she had never really thought about exercising or living a healthy lifestyle, but after a life-threatening kidney infection, doctors told her she needed to make a change. She put out a plea on Facebook: Help her stay on track by running with her in City Park. That day, 10 people showed up that she had never met before.
“I'm a normal person that just got dealt a life changing situation, and I didn't know what I was doing,” Barnes said. “Then God gave me the opportunity to create something to save my life but now I feel like I'm helping others and encouraging others.” As more people joined the running group, Move Ya Brass was born.
Affordability is an important part of Move Ya Brass and Barnes’s philosophy. At the time of her health scare, Barnes didn’t have insurance, and couldn’t find an affordable gym or exercise group to join. She wanted to create something that made it so everyone can have fitness in their life.
Comfort and welcome is also an important part of MYB. Barnes’s motto is “You come as a stranger, you leave as family,” and strives to make everyone feel included. Joining a gym or running group can be intimidating, according to her, and she wants people to feel the opposite when they come to an MYB program.
That laid-back attitude translates to the MYB teaching philosophy as well. Instructor Tim Anderson, who teaches the Bounce Ya Brass aerobic fitness classes, likes to improvise and change up his classes regularly. He uses a variety of music, from bounce to R&B, in his classes, and even draws on participants for inspiration.
“It's spontaneous, it's in the moment,” Anderson said. “And I'll look at someone and they inspire me to do something, so I’ll do that.”
New Orleans culture permeates everything that Move Ya Brass does, from the “southern hospitality” of the running group to the music choices in their cardio classes. As a musician, Barnes puts a lot of care into selecting the right music that captures the spirit of New Orleans.
In the fall, Move Ya Brass will continue their partnership with City Park. They’re offering a Wednesday evening yoga class and then an early morning Bounce Ya Brass class on Saturdays. Come September, they’re hoping to up their offerings to 7 classes per week.
At their 4th anniversary party, the Move Ya Brass attitude was on full display. Before the run/walk, running captain Liz Hartzog asked regulars to look out for newcomers while they were on the path. Afterward, everyone stuck around to chat and enjoy free snowballs, courtesy of City Park.
“Everyone here is here because they have a good spirit and they want to motivate you,” Barnes said. “I think that's kind of why we stand apart sometimes because we're not really trying but we're succeeding at just being ourselves.”
Move Ya Brass offers free programming in City Park and Crescent Park. For a full list of their offerings, go to moveyabrass.com