Yoga? Check. Ballet? Check. “A little bit of Jane Fonda?” Check. Barre3, the ballet-yoga-Pilates workout that has spread to more than 70 locations in the U.S. and worldwide since its debut in 2008, opened its first New York City location today in a gorgeous studio overlooking Greenwich Village. Barre3 is synonymous with ballet, of course, but you might not know that founder Sadie Lincoln has infused her classes with “the wisdom of yoga” by including various asanas. In fact, she even refers to barre3 classes as “sneaky yoga.”
“I started a regular yoga practice when I was pregnant with my daughter about 11 years ago,” says Lincoln, who started out teaching traditional group fitness classes. “I instantly connected with the wisdom of yoga and the power of working the body in a slow, mindful way. This slowing down versus the intense cardio sessions I was used to was a game changer for me. I started to shift my idea of what success meant in a workout. Success became being centered and learning about my body versus burning X calories to lose weight.”
After having her two kids, Lincoln completed a 200-hour teacher training intensive at YogaWorks, which inspired her to develop her own workout blending everything she loved about yoga with "a little bit of Jane Fonda," as well as other disciplines that balance the body. In fact, the “3” in barre3 symbolizes balance. "If it doesn't balance the body or life, it isn't barre3," she says. Sounds pretty yogic, doesn't it?
Here, Lincoln demonstrates six yoga-inspired poses you can expect to find in a barre3 class. (No studio near you? Check out the barre3 Mobile App.)
Pigeon at the Barre
Stand forearm distance from the barre. Lift your right shin on top of the barre and hold. Keep hips level and square. Rotate your right knee open naturally. Flex your right foot and stand tall, extending your spine. Take 5 deep breaths and switch sides. (If you don't have access to a barre, Lincoln recommends using any sturdy waist-high surface like a kitchen counter, the back of a park bench or a sofa.)
Boat Pose Rolls with Strap
Set up: Sit on the floor and place the middle of a yoga strap around the balls of your feet, holding the ends of the strap in each hand. As you inhale, sit tall and hinge back with your torso as you lift your feet off the floor until your legs are straight. Hold. Evenly weight your hips and extend your legs and spine, softening your shoulders down your back. Hold the strap taut with elbows slightly bent.
Movement: As you exhale, roll down through your spine keeping the strap taut and legs long. Pause at the bottom to inhale. As you exhale, lift your head, neck, and shoulders and roll up through your spine into Boat Pose. Inhale at the top. Repeat 5 times.
Set up: Stand leg-distance away from the barre, turned to the side. Externally rotate your inside leg and step it under the barre. Bend the knee. Lift your arms straight and in line with your shoulders. Hold. Parallel your outside foot with the barre and press through the outer edge of the foot. Level and square your hips, as you stack your shoulders over them and extend your spine.
Movement: As you inhale, move into Side Angle and extend your arms, palms face up. Grip the bar from beneath with your inside hand. As you exhale, reach your outside arm up and over, pulling down on the barre with your inside hand and leaning toward the barre with your torso. Take 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Place your hands shoulder-distance apart on the barre and step your feet back a torso's distance from the barre. Hinge from your hips with a long spine and hold. As you inhale, move into Half Moon and lift your right leg to hip height. As you exhale, rotate your right hip and shoulder open as you lift the right hand toward the ceiling. Hold. Press down through your left foot. Stack your hips and shoulders, extending your spine. Reach through your right leg. Take 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, all 10 toes facing forward with equal weight through the four corners of the feet. Level and square your hips, as you engage your core. Broaden your shoulders, as you lift through the crown of your head. Take 5 deep breaths.
Place your hands shoulder-distance apart on the barre, step your feet back a torso distance from the bar, beneath your hips. Hinge from your hips with a long spine and hold. Inhale as you move into Warrior III and lift your right leg up to hip height. Hold. Press down through your left foot. Keep your hips square and spine long, as you broaden your shoulders. Take 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
—Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman