Why You Need To Take Barre Classes

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In all things, there is a balance that needs to be found–Spending time with family and time for ourselves, eating healthy and having the chocolate you love to savor, and of course, breaking a sweat and finding ease in our bodies. As a yoga + barre studio, we want you to find balance not only in the energy level of your class but the muscle groups you workout, which is why finding a balance of yoga + barre in your movement routine, is a great way to reach your goals faster and with intention.

The History of Barre

Barre workouts shape and tone the entire body by combining principles of ballet, dance, functional strength training, and pilates. But did you know that the original format had a much sexier undertone? 

Barre was created by the ballerina Lotte Berk in London in 1959. After injuring her back, Berk combined her ballet barre routines with her rehabilitative therapy to form an exercise system that is the foundation of the barre workout you know today. Unlike many fitness programs of the time, the Lotte Berk Method was exclusive to women, primarily because she promoted her technique as a way for women to enhance their sex life

It was common for Berk to talk about sex during class and even named exercises things like “the Prostitute,” “Naughty Bottoms” and “the Sex.” She developed the now popular “pelvic-tilt exercise” which she referred to as “the lovemaking position.” In short, barre workouts were initially developed for women to get in touch with their bodies and feel more confident in bed, and less so for purely fitness-related reasons. 

You may never think of the cue “pulse it” the same way again! 

Benefits of Barre

Barre workouts are a great way to strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk. A good barre workout will incorporate elements of ballet, yoga, pilates, and functional movement. The low-impact but high-intensity movements indicative of barre fitness are designed to strengthen your entire body.

Each barre workout is designed to be a full-body, muscle endurance workout broken into different sections that focus on major muscle groups including the arms, legs, glutes, and core. The muscles in each group are fatigued via small targeted movements and high repetitions using light weights. 

If you want to build long, lean muscles and a strong core, a barre workout is a great place to start. In the process, you will also:

  • Increase overall strength
  • Build endurance
  • Improve your posture
  • Boost your metabolism  
  • Promote greater flexibility
  • Build more mental stamina

Barre Vs. Yoga

Yoga is a mind-body practice involving the execution of poses, called asanas, with roots dating back millennia. The word yoga means “union” and the practice emphasizes cultivating a union between mind and body, breath and movement. 

Yoga is a fluid practice aimed to increase strength and flexibility while focusing on breath and mind control. Emphasis on the breath is always at the forefront and the restorative aspect of yoga reduces stress and can help balance the endocrine system.

Barre is a combination primarily of ballet, Pilates, and yoga and is great for toning with low-impact exercises that are highly targeted but also joint-friendly. A Barre workout uses traditional dance movements, often with a fusion of Pilates and yoga principles, and builds a long, lean musculature. 

Barre tends to be more leg-centric, using traditional ballet movements to sculpt, strengthen, and lengthen the muscles. Barre workouts also include arm and abs exercises, but the main focus is often on the legs and glutes. 

So which class is right for you? Lucky for you, you don’t have to choose because we offer yoga + barre at Ohana, both in person and via our on-demand library.