Why I LOVE/HATE Pure Barre


Many of my friends (especially those poor souls whom I’ve dragged along with me) know that I have an odd fascination and addiction to Pure Barre, this insane workout that basically combines Pilates, aerobics, stretching, ballet barre work and weights.  Two winters ago in India, my Ashtanga teacher basically told me that I was “weak” and he suggested (something he rarely does for most students) that I look outside of Ashtanga for that strength building work. I did, and it has really benefited my yoga practice.

I got hooked on Pure Barre last summer when a new studio opened in Charlottesville and one of my friends was teaching there. They suck you in with the new client special price. At first I was going 3 or 4 times a week. Now I only go once or sometimes twice a week because more than that is just, well, too much for so many reasons (number one being its very high price).

Despite having taken a few breaks from the Barre, I can’t seem to stay away for long. There’s so much to love about it….and to hate.


Why I Hate Pure Barre:

1) The obnxious mainstream music. Although there is an occasional catchy remix of something fun, it’s mostly like nails on a chalkboard to my alternatively conditioned ears.

2) The unncessary repetition of said obnoxious music. If the song finishes before an exercise is complete, the teacher just hits “repeat.” Eeeek! It’s not as if these songs don’t all have the exact same beat. Mix it up ladies! I really do not need to hear J. Lo twice over!

3) How silly painful it can be. Seriously, all that itty bitty “up an inch, down an inch” plié stuff on my “highest-stiletto tippy toes” for 3 minutes straight – yowzers! It hurts!

4) Often I feel like the ugly duckling in the sorority. I fail to fit the uniform of PB enthusiasts. My spandex always has too much lint and hair on it and my ring finger is noticeably missing a massive shiny rock. Plus, I’m the only one there EVER with short hair, which reminds me why I quit ballet when I was in elementary school.

5) When instructors says things that make me cringe like, “Y’all worked hard today! Go ahead and have some fun with it!” while we are in bridge pose for three minutes, pelvic thrusting to techno dance tunes.


Why I Love Pure Barre:

1) I love its transparency. The point of Pure Barre is to lift your butt, tone your thighs and burn some serious calories. There’s no hoopla around spirtuality or mindfulness, other than the focus necessary to get the work done. It’s really not trying to be profound (unlike commercial yoga). You do Pure Barre because you want to look hot naked. The focus is on getting a kickass workout – that’s it. Boom.

2) It is not messing around. Pure Barre is hard and requires that you push yourself. There are some parts that you can sort-of cheat on, but mostly you are forced to be fully engaged muscularly from start to finish. By the end of many of the “sprints”, my legs are shaking uncontrollably. Each class I work my muscles to fatigue in a way that just Pilates or working out at the gym never did.

3) This sh*t has given me abs. Like serious “I work out” abs. I’m naturally small-boned and thin but I am not, and have never been a “hard body.” Despite my genetic predisposition to softness, Pure Barre has given me noticeable muscle definition, and I like it!

4) I like that it’s uber girly. I used to go occasionally to a gym but I always felt awkward and out-of-place. Sometimes I think I’m this Victorian woman who was accidentally born at the wrong time. Honestly, when I was a child and a pre-teen I went for years without ever wearing pants – I only felt like myself in skirts and dresses. So, I love the girl factor of Pure Barre. I like getting a hard workout without being surrounded by machines and jocks.

5) It has really made me strong. In this way, it has been beneficial for my Ashtanga practice. I’m so close to getting the jumpback now and the core strength and upper body work in Pure Barre has helped me progress in my yoga asanas. During my SI pain, the strengthening work in the core, lower back and glutes that Pure Barre provides really helped stabilize my pelvis and help me recover from my injury. Although sometimes my hips get a little tight from PB, it has overall been a great physical addition to my practice. I even think it’s made those elusive bandhas stronger too!

So, my dear readers…have you gotten onto the Barre crazy train yet? Do you love or hate it?



images – source


17 thoughts on “Why I LOVE/HATE Pure Barre

  1. Former ballet dancer of 18ish years and I absolutely miss the smooth but rock hard muscle tone I had as a dancer. I would do Pure Barre again in a heart beat, but then again, as a former dancer, I learned to train obnoxious repetitive, awful music out of my head along with annoying teachers chirping away and forcus only on my work. It’s a mindset thing you get from ballet and it translates well to yoga- focusing entirely on what you and your body are doing. Also my butt just never looked as good from 8 bajillion squats as it does from plies. *Shrug* Go figure.

    • I love going to the ballet simply to marvel at the beauty and strength of those bodies – ballet takes so much crazy power! and yes, that focus i feel in yoga and pure barre is key, so different from how distracted i used to feel running or working out in other ways.

  2. This sounds similar to why I’ve come to love water aerobics during pregnancy. (Except for the giving me abs part!) I love that it’s not trying to be profound. We’re just bouncing around in the water getting our heart rates up and (at least for me) there’s nothing spiritual about it. Plus I kind of love the bad 90s music they play.

    • Oh I love to think of you bouncing in a pool with your baby belly! I used to go “aqua jogging” in college with a girlfriend before class in the morning. It was so much fun and very silly. We would gab gab gab and make all the serious swimmers annoyed with us. 🙂

  3. i think you’ve just convinced me that i want to try out barre. what’s with the socks though? are you supposed to wear socks? and i sweat a lot. will i look like the disgusting girl dripping on myself while everyone else looks pristine?

    • Exactly – what IS it with the silly grippy socks? My husband thinks it’s hilarious that I’m always like, “Ah where are my Pure Barre socks?” Anyways, some other types of Barre classes don’t do socks, but in PB they are required. I HATE socks (like I never wear them unless it’s under 20 degrees outside) but I have gotten used to them for PB. The only time that I find it kind of annoying is doing forearm plank, I always feel like my feet are going to slip away. Regarding sweat, they tend to keep the studios pretty cool, I never walk away dripping like I do at some yoga studios.
      Definitely give it a try! Would love to hear what you think of it.

      • i’ll keep you posted! i think there’s a studio near me that offers barre, but it’s not pure barre. they look sock-less in the website pics. that’s a good sign! 🙂

    • You really do slip without the socks. They’re also supposed to keep your muscles warm in combo with the pants… and if you don’t wear the pants the ball will not stay where it’s supposed to. So be prepared to be hot!

  4. I tried barre yesterday morning. It is the only one available in my town – Extend Barre – similar to what you describe and what I see on the PB website, socks and all. I have to say – I was absolutely bored silly! I just can’t deal with workout classes after so many years of yoga, or even as compared to running. I get that class is for one purpose only – looking good – and that is exactly why I wanted to try it. I’m pushing 40 and I need a little supplement in certain areas. Lately, I’ve been supplementing yoga with…more yoga. Ha! I’ve been doing several extra hot vinyasa flow classes in addition to my home ashtanga practice. It seems I’m ruined for anything else – but happily so.

    • hey there.
      so, are you the ashtangi in fayetteville that my friend zoe was just hanging with? zoe just left our place here in denver on friday. 🙂
      confession – i have only been to barre once in the past month and a half, because sometimes my “hate” for it trumps my desire for tighter thighs. i go through phases with it. sometimes i love the workout and i do notice results from those classes, but if i take a break from it, it is sooo hard for me to drag myself into that silly studio because i too would rather be doing yoga or taking long walks. i’ve contemplated starting running again, but i get terrible shin splints really easily and my eka pada is already challenging enough.

  5. Hey! My eka padas are challenging as well. I just posted some supplemental yin poses on this very subject earlier this week (that I learned from Tim M. and my teacher, as well as collected from books). Supplementing practice with about 20 minutes of these long held hip openers seems to be helping. I’m still doing a couple of runs a week because I enjoy it and it works better than anything else to keep me light – but I’ve dialed it back so I only do two easy jogs to avoid adding tightness to my hips. That must be a different Fayetteville ashtangi, but small world anyway! There aren’t many of us. Take care.

    • Hi there. Great yin suggestions, I will definitely be incorporating more of this kind of stuff into my practice to help with my eka and dwi. I love long hold hip openers, especially in the evening before bed. I think I unconsciously grip in my hip flexors and groin during the day – trying to become more aware of that.
      Yes, funny small world…I wonder who Zoe was with then…a friend of her’s from Mysore, going to law school, middle name Shanti, so that’s why I thought it must definitely be you 🙂

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  7. The socks were put into play due to a law in New York that says you cannot workout barefoot in a studio or gym. So what one studio must do becomes what all studios must do. Sure, there are lots of benefits, like staying warm in a cold climate, but if you’ve ever taken barre without them you’ll find that you don’t need them. I agree, the music gets old! Also, my butt visibly lifted after just 2 weeks so I’m hooked!

    • Very interesting about the socks. Yes, it’s definitely addictive. I noticed a big difference in my abs after doing barre classes consistently. Thanks for your comment.

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  9. Yo, girl. Your old former 70’s hippie Cville disciple is sending positive thoughts of peace, love and …….uhhh I forgot the third after simply watching the commercials about the EVIL that has beset the din of iniquity known as Colorado that sells …well, I can’t even speak it;) I made clear to my daughter this morning that I put in my job application 2 MONTHS AGO should there be any needs for Property Adjusters in CO this winter to help with any Catrosphe work. I received a raised eyebrow from my 17 year old.
    Speaking of raised eyebrows, it sounds like the Pure Barre studio in Cville might not be the best place for a middle aged, short balding MALE to bounce into with my faded Yellow Submarine Pajama paints.:) Sigh. Any other active (Pilate type) yoga thoughts in the Cville? I have been doing mainly Hot Yoga but want to get some diversity.
    There are a couple of new (to me anyway) kundalini yoga classes in Harrisonburg and Waynesboro. I plan on attending in the weeks to come but I miss your heatfelt classes and instruction.
    Got to send out some more resumes;)
    A Jeffersonian Namaste at ya. (Oxy here?)

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