An old pre-war building on Humphrey Street began exuding a new vibe early this month with the opening of The Studio, an exercise space offering fitness and yoga classes geared especially towards women.

Celebrity trainer Ellen Barrett designed the fitness center as part of her Buff Girl Fitness company, which caters to the workout needs of the modern woman. The Studio is a 2,000-square-foot exercise space that offers 28 classes per week, almost all of which are taught by Barrett. Three types of classes are offered, including “Fat-Burning Pilates,” “Slim Sculpt” and “Harmony Yoga.”

Barrett said she opened this center in New Haven to provide a new opportunity for the female population.

“New Haven is the coolest city in New England, and I felt there was a void to fill,” Barrett said. “I have found that the women that reside here are sophisticated and modern, and I wanted to create a fitness studio that served that crowd.”

Barrett, known for training celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Christina Ricci, and Justine Bateman, founded Buff Girl Fitness in 2000 recognizing the differences in how men and women workout. She notes that women are motivated by different cues and have different goals, and that many of her female clients were also unaware of skincare treatments such as microabrasion. Microabrasion is a skin resurfacing treatment that uses fine crystals to remove dead skin cells and can be used to treat acne by reducing the appearance of scars and unclogging pores. It also benefits women by improving their complexion and overall skin texture.

“All classes have the same goal — to flatter the female physique,” Barrett said.

The classes focus on what Barrett calls the three main components to physical fitness — cardiovascular exercise, flexibility and strength. The program also emphasizes general practices like reducing stress, improving circulation and increasing breathing power.

Bristol Maryott ’07, who leads yoga sessions for Yogis at Yale, said although she believes yoga is a practice that should be available for everyone, she would be interested in experiencing a class geared entirely toward women.

“I understand that some women may feel self-conscious about exercising in front of men.” Maryott said. “Any yoga is good, so if this enables women to practice who wouldn’t have otherwise, then that is a positive thing.”

While Yogis at Yale offers four classes a week, there are also inexpensive classes taught at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, a Bikram yoga studio on Elm Street and a studio called Fresh Yoga in Erector Square.

Yogis at Yale president Lily Diamond ’05 said she is excited that people will have yet another option to practice yoga and release their stress in New Haven. She said she thinks it is important for students to use yoga as a spiritual release.

“By stilling the mind and concentrating on the body, we make space to cultivate a more balanced relationship between our inner and outer worlds,” Diamond said.

Barrett said The Studio has already received an enthusiastic response from the East Rock neighborhood since its Oct. 11 opening, and she hopes Yale students will come try out her classes. This is the first studio she has opened, but Barrett said she has plans for new facilities in the future.

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