There are so many amazing mindful moments in barre training. Being present, clearing the mind, exercising the brain, as well as the body are great components of mindfulness and a healthy lifestyle. Joseph Pilates said it himself, “the mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power”.
You need to think in barre class, you need to be clear in your mind to be able to send a message to your body, telling it what to do. You are using multiple muscle groups, applying techniques to strengthen positions and avoid injury, listening to music and moving on the beat – slow or fast.
If you’re new to barre, don’t let all of this scare you off! Focus is something that you decide to do, and it’s something that gets stronger when you set your mind to it!
- “You can’t feel down when you are doing barre”
The benefits of this training are huge. I once had a client say to me, ‘you can’t feel down when you are doing barre’. And I couldn’t agree more.
There is something about standing up tall and holding the shoulders wide that is wonderful for the mood. If we consider it in the context of Chinese medicine, perhaps we are opening some front mu points, and letting Qi flow differently.
One needs to be present in mind and body, trustworthy of the instructor and open to move the body beyond its comfort zone.
- Learn to breath as an ‘internal shower’
The Pilates principal of breathing as an ‘internal shower’ can help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is when the body gets the chance to recuperate, regenerate, and heal. Joseph Pilates’ thought was of inhaling completely and exhaling completely, allowing that fresh, invigorating oxygen to flood the body and giving us that ‘internal shower’ feeling. Exercise helps pump the oxygenated blood all the way through the body, to the furthest capillaries, nourishing them and carrying away old debris.
- And the benefits of barre for the brain don’t end there!
A 2003 study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that of 11 physical activities, only dancing was associated with a lower risk of dementia. Needing to learn new routines, as well as different arm formations, steps, rhythms and speeds in barre is super beneficial for brain health, whether you’re young or old, a dancer or not.
Come and meet us in the studio and experience the mindfulness of barre for yourself.
Suzie Combemorel is the owner and an Instructor of Xtend Barre St Lucia. Suzie’s past international dance career saw her perform for the Moulin Rouge and the Royal Opera. She also studied Pilates in Amsterdam.