Conversations at the Bar(re) #6: Barre & Yoga are Perfect Partners!October 02, 2016 |
We asked Barre 2 Barre alumnus and yoga teacher Leah Sugerman to write about our Barre+Yoga class and we love her thoughts on why Barre and Yoga are perfect partners. Leah continues to travel the world, sharing her love for yoga and writing. We feel blessed that our paths crossed in Hong Kong where she taught at our studio for a few months. Read on and enjoy!
Barre and Yoga are a match made in heaven. Both work in conjunction with the other to make practitioners better in each respective discipline. Here are 9 reasons we believe that barre and yoga lovers should incorporate both methods into their workout routine:
1. IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY
It's no secret that yoga leads to flexibility. But often, people are afraid to practice yoga if they are inflexible. This is so silly. It's like saying "I can't take swimming lessons...I don't know how to swim." Well that is exactly why you take the lessons! If you're inflexible, then you NEED yoga. Being flexible is certainly not a prerequisite for practicing yoga. It is a beautiful RESULT of practicing yoga.
2. YOU ALREADY HAVE THE STRENGTH
Barre students are hardcore. Barre is tough. And I mean really, really tough. So if you practice barre, you're already super strong! You'll be absolutely amazed at how quickly you pick up your yoga practice. Arm balances? No problem for a person that does a trillion tricep curls a week ;)
3. TURN TO YOUR BREATH
Yoga teaches us to focus our attention on the breath. The breath guides you through the practice. And in barre, breathing can be your saving grace. Next time you think you can't stay on the tips of your toes and low in your seat and squeezing that ball for another second, focus on your breath. You'll be amazed by the results. Turning to the breath gives the body and mind strength and endurance. And focusing on the steadiness of your breathing will also clear your mind as a bonus. Learning to connect deeply with your breath through yoga can help to transform your barre practice as well.
4. ACCESS NEW MUSCLE STRENGTH
Cross-training is the ideal way to tone and shape your body. In yoga you'll access new muscles that perhaps aren't isolated in barre. And vice versa. Training your body in multiple disciplines will lead to improved endurance, strength, balance, and overall health and well being!
5. RELAX YOUR TENSE MUSCLES
As I mentioned, barre is tough. You work deep into small muscle groups (which is why you often shake!) and really tone muscles (which is why you get results so quickly!) But this also leads to sometimes unbearable tension and soreness which may cause you to skip out on your next workout. And those aren't the results you want. You want to remain consistent and dedicated in your workout regimen. Practicing yoga between barre classes will help to lengthen and relax those tense muscles. Working deeply into stretches and releasing muscle strain through breath control will release your tension and get you back at the barre quicker.
6. BUILD A SOLID PLANK
Who doesn't hate plank pose? I mean, it's torturous. Yet it is one of the foundation postures of yoga. Don't get scared - you don't have to hold it for hours. But it is one of the major transition postures of the practice. So, your body will build the strength as it moves in and out of the pose to later be able to hold it forever in your barre class.
7. IMPROVE POSTURE
Good posture is a fundamental of barre. But a lot of people don't even know how to access the muscles in their back to maintain straight posture. Practicing yoga teaches you how to access these key muscles to lead to better posture in your barre classes as well as your every day life.
8. FIND YOUR BALANCE
As noted earlier, standing on the tips of your toes, bending deep into your knees and squeezing a ball between your thighs takes some incredible balance control. A fundamental of the yogic practice is based in balance. Balance of the physical body and balance of the mind. In fact, yoga literally translates to a union. Often meaning a union or balance of mind, body and soul. Practicing yoga helps you find your balance; and, when you can tap into that balance, there isn't anything you can't do. Even a really challenging, super advanced, bootcamp barre class :)
9. CALM YOUR MIND
Yoga is a meditation in motion. It is using the body to challenge the mind. It is using the breath to slow the heart while simultaneously using the body to speed it up. It is a practice of opposites. The yin and the yang. And when practiced in its truest form, yoga leaves you feeling calm and zen. And sometimes we need to zen out our bodies and our minds after a hardcore barre workout.
So, create a union between barre and yoga and you will be amazed by the results. Not only physically but mentally as well.
XOXO, Leah Sugerman (@thenomadicyogi)