Are you ready to mix up your week with some new workouts that will enrich your yoga practice? We’re excited to share a 6-part bootcamp from Erin Wimert, YogaDownload.com’s top barre teacher, that will have you shaking, sweating, and smiling. If you’re not familiar with this total-body fitness class, barre is a challenging workout that combines elements of classical ballet barre, Pilates, and body-weight exercises. But don’t worry: no dance experience needed.
5 reasons to integrate barre into your routine:
Strength: Barre focuses on the entire body, with a heavy emphasis on core and lower body. Instead of classic calisthenics, barre class emphasizes isometric contractions, focusing on the smaller accessory muscles that act as a girdle to the larger muscles of the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Working the lower body in this way aids in creating a stable pelvis and helps support the joints and spine.
Posture: Depending upon the style of yoga you customarily practice, you may or may not be used to a precise focus on alignment. Barre, with its origins from dance and work standing at a ballet barre, emphasizes elongating the spine, strengthening and opening the chest and shoulders, and will leave you standing taller after just one class. Each movement is controlled and precise and helps you improve your posture, which in turn aids you in proper alignment in your yoga practice.
Mind-body connection: Barre and yoga both share an emphasis on the mind-body connection. You cannot coast through a barre class, just like you can’t coast through a yoga class. Breath is really important in barre work to manage the high repetitions. Working the smaller accessory muscles to failure requires determination and mental focus. When your muscles are shaking like jello, you need to dig deep and use your steady breath to finish strong.
Core Strength: A major portion of barre class emphasizes using your abdominals and back to maintain proper alignment. In addition to a dedicated floor abs section, the standing barre work requires stabilization through your center to maintain balance and posture. A strong core is essential in yoga to protect the back and aid in balancing on your hands or on one leg.
Flexibility: Barre class focuses on working the muscles to failure, followed by stretching to prevent injury and give the muscles an elongated look, like those of a dancer. By working your body in a different way than you do in yoga, you create a cross-training effect, which improves your practice.
It’s always important to mix-up the way you move to prevent injury and improve physical performance. Give one or all of these excellent short classes a try this week––you’ll be glad you did.
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