Yoga and ballet & barre traditions have so much in common.

For example:

  • passionate community 
  • oral tradition in both practices, 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


Both yoga and barre provide physical and mental benefits. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that engaging in aerobic and/or muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes improves your physical health, mental health and mood. It serves to improve sleep, reduce stress and improve your overall sense of well-being. Exercising regularly can help you live a healthier, happier life. Barre and yoga will help you build and strengthen your muscles, improve your core strength and posture and give your body a lean and toned look. Yoga is appropriate for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Those who are seeking a workout that increases their mind, body and spiritual awareness will find yoga to be a good fit for them. Those who wish to increase their fitness level at a slower pace may find that yoga is perfect for them, although the physical intensity is just as high as in many other exercise methods. Yoga exercises utilize a variety of muscle groups at the same time, so an entire body workout is often achieved during each class. Yoga is effective in toning muscles without creating a bulky look. In barre class, there’s also plenty of opportunities for quiet concentration when you are focusing on the tiny muscle movements that are working your entire body from head to toe during every class. Your arms, abs, thighs and glutes will quickly reflect the results of your hard work. Barre incorporates aerobics into each workout to strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you burn loads of calories. Barre’s ability to give you an intense cardio workout while remaining low-impact is another desirable benefit of the program. Again, It is important to keep a schedule of 3 times per week to see the maximum benefits.


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

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.