Written by Taylor LeBlanc, Barre Instructor At Yoga Mamas
One of my favourite things about barre is that it explores a sense of grace and fun while working out. Barre is a form of fitness that uses classical ballet barre technique and infuses it with pilates, strength training and cardiovascular fitness. The benefits include; toned muscles, better posture, core stability, improved coordination, balance and improved gait (walking, running and weight distribution on feet).
I have worked with pre and postnatal mamas for 4 and a half years as a Yoga teacher, Pilates instructor and personal trainer after birth, it is incredibly fulfilling as I get to be a part of their well being and personal growth, that aspect is especially rewarding. Through movement we can bring our goals, either mental, emotional or physical into alignment with a daily (sometimes weekly and let’s just be honest... sometimes monthly when you add a baby into the mix) routine and practice. Barre, for me is a fantastic way to feel that muscle burn and get a great workout while also dancing and feeling the music!
In the lead up to the exciting launch of Barre at Toronto Yoga Mama, here are my top 5 ways to make your barre class workout amazing:
1. Warm Up Your Core
During the warm up in class pay special attention to the contraction and support of your abdominal muscles. Sometimes we hear cues in classes to” tighten” or make your “belly flat and firm” and yes that can be one way the muscles will fire, but we want to think of flexing the muscles from the deeper core system. Picture an apple core, that is the depth we want to go to flex our core system. We’re working from the inside out!
Breathing is directly related to our core muscles flexing, we must be breathing to make that happen! As you’re learning new exercises, working on coordination and using your brain power, it is important to breathe throughout the class to make sure you are detoxifying, supplying the muscles with oxygen to avoid cramps and getting all the relaxation benefits at the end of your workout.
3. Strive for Eccentric and Isometric Muscle Contractions
It sounds more complex than it is… an eccentric muscle contraction is a muscle firing by lengthening. Isometric is a muscle contraction in holding or maintaining support in stillness. These are key aspects of ballet and ultimately barre fitness. Learning how to fire the muscles by lengthening and in stillness can lead to long, lean, toned and strong muscles!
4. Pay Attention To Your Feet
Your feet are like a second brain, they feel the world first thing in the morning, carry you throughout your day and they are the last thing to be able to rest in the evening. Now imagine the extra stress they are under during pregnancy and with a baby constantly in your arms. Footwork is a very important and often overlooked aspect of a fitness class. Pay attention to your feet in barre class by visualizing them firmly planted on the floor, articulating them thoroughly and balancing your weight evenly across the front and back of the foot.
5. Enjoy The Process!
Although the demands of pregnancy and motherhood can change the amount of energy you have to give toward your fitness routine, if you combine all these tips together you WILL feel a difference in your body! When we engage with our deep stability system, breathe, learn to flex eccentrically and work from the feet up with concentration, the whole body responds! Think of being under a gentle resistance from gravity throughout your class. Don’t take any movement for granted and allow yourself to give your best every day.
We are proud to introduce you to the third edition of our seasonal capsules, a stylish collection of carefully curated retail products we feel Mamas and babies will love and be able to use all season long.
The winter is a beautiful time of year where the ground sparkles and days become shorter encouraging us to take time to ourself and get clear about our intentions for the upcoming year. Our winter capsule is inspired by nights cuddled up with baby, afternoon cafe dates and long restful slumbers full of sweet dreams.
Ceramic Birch Plant Pot
Textured surface in beautiful white birch; plant pot will fit small to medium sized plant. Add soil and a seasonal live houseplant, and it makes a perfect gift.
Baby's First Christmas Ornament
A lovely keepsake to remember their first year. Available in blue or pink font.
Happy Baby Wrap
Designed for today’s active parent, the Happy Wrap is stylish, comfortable, and fully adjustable leaving you free to get things done while enjoying the closeness of your baby.
Blush pink, soft throw for cozy moments at home.
Super soft, easy piece for fall. Stylish ruana can be worn open, as a cover-up, or belted. One size.
Beautiful Blush Notebook
#beautiful blush cover, spiral-bound ruled notebook.
PEACE JOY LOVE Sign
Tin sign with stamped letters that speak to the season, in unpolished tin and tied with a hemp string.
The holidays are a wonderful time where we get to see family we haven't seen in awhile, eat some of our favourite foods and show gratitude for those we love! With that said, it can also be somewhat stressful trying to juggle activities and follow traditions. It is therefore important that we create a plan of action now so that we can ensure we are able to stay present and enjoy all of the wonderful things that come with the holiday season.
Here are 5 things you can do to ensure you are happy and healthy this holiday season:
1, Get Organized
Whether you are an old fashioned list writer, or Google Calendar enthusiast, set aside some time to get clear about everything you need to complete this holiday season. Break down each item into bite size tasks with realistic due dates that you feel comfortable with. By having the information stored in one place you will feel more in control and better equipped to deal when the busyness of the season takes over.
2. Do Less
Once you have a better understanding of all the things you need to do, ask yourself which ones are absolutely essential and what could be either delegated or skipped altogether. The holidays are about being present, having fun with your loved ones and practicing gratitude, if you don't make your famous gingerbread cookies or colour coordinate your tree perfectly, is it going to take away from any of that? Probably not. So, don't stress! Do what you can and be in the moment.
3. Schedule Self Care In Advance
Often the times when we are our busiest are the times we need self care the most, so be proactive and schedule your self care in advance! Register for a yoga class, book a relaxing massage or plan a date with yourself and put it in your schedule the way you would any other task you need to complete. When the time comes you will be thankful to have a break where you will return refreshed, grounded and ready to take on the next round of festivities!
4. Set An Intention
Setting an intention is a powerful tool in helping to manifest your desired outcome and can be used as a gentle reminder of how you wish to feel when you get thrown off by stress. An intention can be as simple as a word such as 'harmony' or can be a sentence such as 'I intend to lead from a place of compassion this holiday season.'
5. Take Some Time To Yourself
When all else fails, take some quiet time to yourself, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Regardless of if you give yourself 5 minutes or 5 hours, you are sure to feel better after realigning with your authentic self.
Remember, the holidays are supposed to be fun, so release any pressures around what you should or shouldn't be doing and instead relax and enjoy!
Yoga Mamas is SO excited to launch our beautiful barre program.
We have developed two barre programs with love specifically for our community starting December 2017
Barre Classes at Yoga Mamas
This barre class is designed for anyone - beginners, intermediate, and expecting mamas! This fun barre workout concentrates on strength and form. Enjoy a combination of interval training and isometric exercises incorporating hand weights, mat work and the barre to strengthen and tone your beautiful body - be prepared to feel a burn. Come along and raise your heart beat, get your sweat on, enjoy a fun workout!
*Please note our Barre sequence is designed for everyone, including mamas who are pregnant.
Enjoy a barre class with your babe! This barre class has been designed specifically for postpartum mamas and provides space for them to have their babes beside them while they get their move and sweat on. Hand weights, mat work and the barre work are all incorporated safely into this sequence. This class is perfect for mamas returning back to their movement routines who are looking for a safe and fun workout.
Please note because of space limitations we are only able to accommodate babies who are not crawling. Thank you for understanding.
Classes begin Monday December 4th, 2017