A Mind-Body Connection

03 Sep 2022

Mindful Body Studio promotes wellness for the mind, body and soul

By Cece Nunn

Photos by Libby Williams

Stacie Barber grew up playing in the fresh air of the Blue Ridge Mountains and eating fresh food from her family’s garden.

That’s when her appreciation for health and wellness began to take root, eventually luring her to a career helping others discover the same benefits.

“I’ve not been surprised at all that this has been the path that I keep kind of winding down,” said Barber, co-owner of Mindful Body Studio in Charleston along with her husband, Brandon. She and her team of 10 instructors take a holistic approach to health, teaching Pilates and aiming to nurture clients’ minds, bodies and souls.

“It is so much more than just working out the body; we are focusing on your mental well-being as well,” Barber said. “We talk a lot about the mind-body connection, and how it's all deeply integrated – that if one is unhealthy, it's going to affect the other.”

In addition to co-owning the studio, Barber is herself a Pilates and GYROTONIC Method instructor, licensed occupational therapist and integrative lifestyle coach.

Both Barber and her husband were born and raised in the mountain town of Boone, North Carolina. Choosing to move to another natural favorite of Barber’s, the Atlantic Ocean, Barber attended the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, graduating with a master’s degree in occupational therapy in 2010. 

“Charleston quickly became home,” she said.

Barber worked as an occupational therapist until 2013, when she gave birth to her first daughter and decided to work part-time at the hospital where she was employed. The schedule allowed her to receive Pilates training.

“I had always wanted to learn how to teach Pilates,” Barber said. “I just loved the way it pulled everything that I had learned about together.”

Barber completed comprehensive Pilates training in Wilmington, North Carolina, and has been teaching the method for eight years. 

She bought Mindful Body at 24 Windermere Blvd. in Charleston’s South Windermere Center, from previous owner, mentor and friend Kim Miles in 2017.

First-time clients to Mindful Body are often introduced to the journey with four private sessions at an introductory rate of $70 per session.

“We get to give you really personalized one-on-one attention,” Barber said. “You get to taste-test all of the different equipment.”

That equipment includes Reformers, Cadillac and more. 

Most clients have in mind an idea of what they want to accomplish. “They’re wanting to get stronger, they’re wanting to rehab an injury, they’re wanting to build their mindfulness capacity and stress-reduction, breathing. It’s all incorporated, but we get a clear idea in these four mentoring sessions as to how can we best meet your needs and what does that look like,” Barber said. “And which instructor best meets your needs.”

Charleston resident Rachel Hutchisson relies on Barber, whom she’s known for nine years, to help with that mind-body connection. She said Barber’s extensive training, including in occupational therapy, is a major plus. 

“It’s not just that she has the passion for it; she also has the knowledge,” she said. 

Mindful Body clients can buy packages of 10 classes for $70 to $80 each class depending on the experience level of their instructor, but the studio also has a variety of price points for semi-private sessions and classes.

In addition to Pilates, the studio offers the GYROTONIC Expansion system. “It’s another mindful movement modality that really complements Pilates,” Barber said, “and it allows for a different opportunity to move your body in more rotational or circular patterns.”

Barber gives much credit to her fellow instructors for her success.

“I would say that is one of the most important aspects of what makes our studio so special—a really tight-knit community that we have within the instructors ourselves,” Barber said. “We all deeply support one another. We all cheer each other on.”

Barber is also working as an integrative lifestyle coach, building a collective to espouse and help others in the belief that, as she explains on her website, “ease, connection, balance, fulfillment and joy are your birthright.”

Barber brought her lifestyle coaching expertise to an executive women’s summit held by Hutchisson’s company, tech firm Blackbaud. She spoke to the group about the need to give themselves permission to take the time out for self-care.

“She was very well-received,” Hutchisson said.

As for growing the studio, Barber said she wants to remain present when it comes to her 7- and 9-year-old daughters as well as Mindful Body, so she isn’t planning to open new locations for the time being. She said, “Continuing to cultivate the environment that we have is really important along with continuing to cultivate quality instructors.”

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