Meet your Sweaty Betty X barreASANA instructors
To help you kickstart your summer fitness regime, Sweaty Betty is joining barrecore to bring its brand new barreASANA class straight to you. Our new workout video is now live, with barrecore instructors Emily, Chiara and Maria taking you through a 45 minute sequence of yoga and barre-inspired fusion exercises. Plus, you can try the workout in person at one of five weekly Sweaty Betty x barrecore classes in Selfridges’ Ultralounge. Click here for details and to reserve a place.
For further insight into the inspiration for barreASANA and why barrecore is bringing fusion fitness to the fore, read our Q&A with video instructors Emily, Chiara and Maria…
From left to right: Maria, Emily and Chiara
In one sentence, describe your feelings about the fusion fitness trend…
Emily: The fusion fitness trend is a great way of spicing up an exercise routine and adding an extra boost of excitement to your workout. It will re-energise the body and mind and blend some of your favourite disciplines.
Chiara: Fusion workouts offer time-poor fitness fanatics a way to fit in all their exercise in a short time. It’s all about merging entertainment with training. Working out should be something you are looking forward to do.
Maria: Fusion fitness is an effective way to train the body because it blends difference principles to engage different muscles and challenge your body in news ways within one session.
As a barre instructor, how does yoga fit into your personal workout regime?
Emily: barrecore is a really intense workout for the muscles (it will leave you shaking!), so throwing in the occasional yoga class lets me wind down the intensity while emphasising that length and stretch that we love at the barre.
Chiara: Yoga is an amazing way to feel connected with your body, your breath and your thoughts. Because my profession keeps me busy and always moving, I love yoga for giving me the time to do something just for me. And yoga is perfect as it stretches your muscles, brings you closer to your center and makes you feel positive.
Maria: I'm a big fan of cardio and high intensity workouts. However, at the beginning and the end of the week, I love to practise yoga to focus my mind and re-centre. It lifts my energy if I'm feeling tired and helps to detoxify the body.
What is your favourite move or segment of the barreASANA workout?
Emily: I love the balances! It is always fun to try and hold different yoga positions, embrace little wobbles and witness yourself improving as your core gets stronger.
Chiara: I really love sun salutations after warm-up. It’s a very dynamic section as you have the very invigorating Chaturanga yoga flow as well as isometric work in your chair, in your crescent and in Warrior 2. For me it’s the sweatiest and most challenging part of the whole workout!
Maria: I love the flows. I find as you repeat and build up a sequence, the body becomes increasingly energised and almost buzzes as it generates warmth. It makes for such a great start the day!
How would you describe the relationship between classic barre and yoga?
Emily: Both disciplines focus on strengthening the body by working the muscles in a way that enhances length, rather than overly contracting and shortening the muscles.
Chiara: Traditional barre technique naturally incorporates lots of yoga balances and stretches, so barreASANA was an effortless evolution from our barreMIXED classes.
Maria: The core is always engaged and centered in barre and yoga. Likewise, the breath is central to the exercises in both workouts. Both the core and the breath work together to focus the mind and help you hold positions for an extended period.
What classic techniques can barre enthusiasts expect to encounter in barreASANA?
Emily: You will still see a lot of isometric work, especially for the thighs and seat. Really tiny movements and leg-shaking holds, complemented by lengthening stretches. But that barre burn we all love is still absolutely present.
Chiara: Drop holds, wrap holds, squeeze holds… all the traditional moves carry over to barreASANA for a distinctly ‘barrecore’ class.
Maria: Expect to see the chair position and the standing split come to play – a respective glute contraction and stretch to help you secure a better ‘barre butt’.
Name your favourite barre exercise, and explain why you love it…
Emily: In class, I love taking abdominal work up the wall, utilising the ballet barre. You feel such a deep heat through the abs straight away.
Chiara: I have a love hate relationship with ‘waterskies’. They are hardcore: you feel like your muscles are tearing, but they’re just toning and lengthening your muscles really intensely. And you have to keep your abs engaged throughout, so there’s an added core stability challenge.
Maria: The Pretzel! It can be done on the floor, mid-way and at the barre. It gives an amazing burn into the glutes and supporting muscles you never thought you had.
Name your favourite yoga exercise, and explain why you love it…
Emily: Sun Salutation. The flow really wakes up the body and mind.
Chiara: I love shoulder stands. I love being upside down, challenging my core and finding length in the back and legs. It’s also quite playful.
Maria: Half moon – it’s a great test of balance and flexibility, and makes you feel like you’re floating on air!
Is there one pre- or post-workout snack you always have to hand to stay energised?
Emily: At the moment I am a great fan of nut butters – almond is the best!
Chiara: My current addiction is Raw Bite bars. The coconut flavor is the best and gives me the perfect boost before teaching barre.
Maria: Avocado and cashews, or celery with cashew butter. Good healthy fats!
If you could pick out one complete Sweaty Betty outfit for barre workouts, what would it comprise of?
Emily: The Chandrasana Yoga Leggings are great because they look so fashionable and are completely opaque! I would wear the Flow Yoga Vest layered over the orange Virasana Padded Yoga Bra to complete the look.
Any tips for to help Sweaty Betty fans at home to get more from the barreASANA workout video?
Emily: Take it at your own pace. There is no need to hit positions at a certain time with the music. Just focus on your breathing and let it guide you through the flow.
Chiara: Try to do your barreASANA class in a very quiet period of time, perhaps when nobody else is at home, so you can really concentrate on the workout and the technique. Switch off the lights, burn some candles and place a lovely scent diffusor in the room to get you in the mood. Experiment, play with the movement and have fun!
Maria: Just enjoy working up to the progressions with every workout and be proud of the workout you’ve achieved today. Take it one day at a time and your results will follow.