Why barre and yoga are a great fit

barreclassBarre is a safe, low-impact workout that anyone can do. Our method is NASM-certified, and is safe and effective for everyone, no matter where you are in life. We have college students, grandmothers, physical therapy patients, new moms, and every type of body in between.

The more you move the better you feel. The better you feel the more you move.

It’s an upward spiral. Barre class, simultaneously playful and substantive, is a great supplement to yoga.

Yoga and ballet traditions share so much. For example:

  • passionate community that crosses languages, cultures, generations and barriers of all kinds
  • oral tradition, in which knowledge is passed with great care from teacher to student
  • firm commitment to alignment and precision
  • conviction that each of us has something to SAY with our bodies and our lives

If you lack body awareness, control and sensation–or if you just need a change of pace–barre class is a bonanza.

Sara Fruman of Yoganonymous explains her experience here:

‘After almost four years of regular yoga, I thought that my hypermobility was here to stay. I had no idea how to engage the little muscles in my legs and guessed at microbending my joints. Nothing I tried was working.

One day, one of my yoga teachers, who is a former ballerina, told me that adding a barre workout could help my lack of sensation problem.

katehalfmoonA couple days later, I went to the barre studio for the first time.

I was amazed by two things:

A. I was so freaking sore.

B. I didn’t hate it.

Immediately, I become a “Barre Yogini” and my yoga practice began to transform itself. My yoga practice improved more in two months than it had in two years.

6 Ways Barre Improved My Yoga Practice

1. I discovered that I have more than two muscles in my legs.

Fun Fact: There are actually a ton of muscles in our legs. I had no idea – seriously.

“Engage your inner-thigh muscles,” my teachers would say. I’d try and fail. After months of barre class, I suddenly gained access to the many muscles in my legs, allowing me to properly engage in a number of poses, as well as adding stability to my practice.

Barre’s thigh work section has led me to feel the muscles in my legs, dramatically improving my yoga practice. I suddenly am able to follow my teacher’s cues in and find myself dramatically improving my alignment and overall abilities.

2. I (mostly) stopped being hypermobile. 

After years of having to leave a small microbend in just about every posture, I no longer have an issue. The muscles around my arms and legs got stronger. Even if I want to hyperextend now, I’m not sure that I can. I miss my ridiculous, useless flexibility, but I’m loving my new found strength.

3. I can now feel everything in my practice.

Can I feel anything? A year ago, my answers looked like this: Triangle – nope; Prasarita – nope; Standing Splits – nope. Now I can’t even think of a pose that I don’t experience at least a little bit of sensation.

It has made my yoga practice harder, but I’m improving at virtually everything. Who knew adding muscles would make such a difference?

4. I got stronger.

Though I have my talents (maybe), I’m not naturally strong. At barre class, there’s a consistent structure to the class. We begin with bicep work, tricep kickbacks, forearm plank and other weight work, and move on to pushups and reverse pushups. We then move onto heel lifts and thigh work, which is probably the most torturous part of class but has also had the biggest impact on my body. We then work on the seat (next best thing to the yoga butt), core and end with back dancing. There are a ton of stretches, both yoga poses and stretches on the barre.

Barre is concerned with alignment and the instructors make sure that you are getting the most out of class. I’d highly doubt that a person would be able to continue this practice without getting stronger.

Despite having built small, lean muscles, I’m walking around feeling ripped all the time. It’s not a bad feeling.

5. I gained control of my flexibility. 

Thanks largely to my genes, I’ve always been flexible. What I’m gained through Barre is control. My legs will now stay in place during standing/balancing postures and I’m not stuck begging my inner thighs to squeeze together during handstand – I actually have control over my muscles.

I’m also now taller and have better posture. I’m in control.

6. I can focus more on the spiritual, non-physical yoga. 

When I first began practicing yoga, I was immediately hooked. I loved that I was able to get an awesome, sweaty workout while growing emotionally and spiritually. However, more days than not, I became focused on the physical – adding extra Chaturanga pushups whenever I got the chance.

Since I’ve begun adding a non-yoga workout into my routine, I’ve been able to focus on the real yoga. I realized  that I’m better off slowing it down. Now in my practice, I feel every movement and focus on connecting my breath to movement. It’s about the spiritual – I’m already getting my workout in.

If you’re Gumby-like me, give a barre class a try. Who knows, maybe it’ll change your life, too.’

Source: ‘Confessions of a Gumby: Six ways a Barre Workout Improved My Yoga’


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