Are you ready to mix up your daily routine with something new? Ab work may not be the kind of fun you had in mind, but building a strong core is paramount to your yoga practice. Barre classes help build strength from deep within the core—by hitting muscles your regular rotation of asanas might not. Start supplementing your yoga practice with this sequence of five barre moves from Elisabeth Halfpapp, founding member of Exhale Spa and co-creator of the Core Fusion® Barre Program.
See also 7 Must-Try Yoga Hybrids
1. Side Plank Pushup
Resting on your right elbow, press your hips up to form a straight line head to toe. Hold for 30 seconds. Then pulse your hips up and down an inch 10 times. Repeat on the left side.
2. C-Curve Parallel Thighs
You'll need a block and a wall. Place a block between your inner thighs and step away from the wall to form a C-curve. Pull in your abs and squeeze the block with your inner thighs, as you rise onto balls of your feet. Lower your heels down an inch and back up an inch. Repeat 20 times. Take a short break, breathing deeply, then do a second set of 20.
3. Flat Back
Sit pressing your lower back into a wall. Pull in your abdominals and press your fingers and hands into the floor in front of you. Using your hands and abs as a brace, lift your right leg 10 times, then your left leg 10 times. Then alternate legs, lifting one at a time. Finally, try lifting both legs off the floor 10 times.
4. Round Back
Sitting at a wall, broaden your shoulder blades and press the space between them into the wall. As you press your fingertips into the floor on either side of your hips, pull your abdominals in to brace for your core. Extend your legs above your hips, as straight as you can. Hold for 30 seconds while pulling in your abs and actively pressing your fingertips into the floor. Rest and hug your legs into your chest, then repeat two more times. Modification: If you’re unable to straighten your legs above your hips, lower both legs to a 45-degree angle.
5. Twisted Curl
Sit with your waist and lower back pressing into a mat, elbows under shoulders and shoulder blades lifted. Tuck your tailbone under to feel an imprint of your sacrum on the mat. Pull in your abdominals and breathe without moving the abdominal wall. Keeping your torso like this, place your hands on your outer thighs—one hand on each leg. Keeping the back of your waist and lower back on the mat, twist to your right and place both hands on your right outer thigh with elbows lifted high and wide, shoulders down, chin up, abs pulled in, and gluteals tucked under. Hold this for 30 seconds. Then rest on your elbows and repeat on the left side. Do two sets on each side.
Yoga Poses in Barre Class
Have you ever wondered which yoga poses are often included in a barre class? Here are five that barre regulars are familiar with:
1. Fire log pose (Agnistambhasana)
2. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
4. Cat pose (Marjaryasana)
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Like this sequence? Practice with Yoga Journal LIVE! presenter Elisabeth Halfpapp at #YJLIVE in NYC April 23-27.