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What are Hot Barre classes?

The appreciation for the athleticism that ballerinas possess has experienced a resurgence over the past few years with the success of Black Swan and its master trainer, Mary Helen Bowers , and the rise of Misty Copeland . Barre classes claiming to create lithe bodies began popping up all over the country, many even as stand-alone boutique studios. Even a quick search on Amazon will show an uptick in updated reviews for the cult workout DVD, New York City Ballet Workout DVD  – almost a decade after its initial release.

While many are drawn to barre class with the initial aesthetic appeal, they are often hooked by the way the class makes them feel. Most of these classes utilize bodyweight exercises for very high repetitions or isometric holds, and target often neglected muscles – the ones we do not think about until we become injured, such as the many nuanced muscles supporting the hips and pelvis. It seems strange to not need to use heavy weights to build muscles, but call to mind the powerful frame of Copeland and it’s clear that this type of a workout has the potential to create strength. Strengthening the muscles that surround the spine, the adductors, abductors, and more creates better posture which translates to overall better movement quality in life beyond the studio.

Is Hot Barre is worth trying?

But the vastness of the variety of barre classes across the country has fueled many misconceptions. As an example, many detractors claim that these classes do not incorporate enough cardio.  That grievance is laid to rest by Bikram Yoga Works (BYW) as they have introduced hot barre (HB) to the studio portfolio which follows more of a dance class format rather than traditional barre classes – a rare offering in the MD/DC/VA area, even more so when coupled with being held in a hot studio.

Da’Jon Porter, Hot Pilates

Hot Barre (HB) is an hour-long class held in a heated studio that will surely get your heart pumping. BYW hot barre instructor, Dajon Porter explains –

‘The heat helps you get into certain exercises and stretches easier than in the cold. It helps relax your muscles, so they can optimally function. Also, the heat provides another element to challenge participants and most people are always looking for a challenge when coming to work out.’

Porter has been a dance instructor for 4 years, dabbling in various styles, and is the newest HB instructor to join the BYW Team.


And that’s not to say weights are never used and one of the great draws to taking HB at BYW– the general format of the class may stay the same, but instructors will vary the movements and props to constantly challenge participants. Most barre classes incorporate a warm-up, an upper body and/or push up series, a core series on the floor, a leg series at the barre, and a cool-down and that is also the foundation of a BYW HB class. Even more foundational than that, though, at BYW is that form reigns supreme and every instructor is well versed in cueing participants on how to do every move properly to maximize the benefits of each exercise.

And Porter’s students couldn’t agree more –

‘The HB class was nothing that I expected — the fusion of dance elements, conditioning exercises and some really good music was definitely welcoming…I got the same benefits of the heated studio and sweat but in the format of a typical dance class,’ commented student Tiffany Quan.  Besides the fun, they are also seeing results – ‘Da’Jon’s HB class has helped me to increase my core strength and my flexibility and has also helped to tone my arms and legs,’ raved HB student, Nefretiti Harrison.

‘Many have the misconception that this is a class for dancers only or this is a female class because they’re doing ballet stretches.  These statements are not true, the class is designed for the average person off the street to be able to not just do it, but enjoy it,’ Porter stated emphatically. He is one of several HB instructors, all of which have dancing backgrounds and have been trained by Fatima Senghore, the creator of the format taught at BYW.  She too teaches regularly and even holds monthly dance party barre classes at BYW-Ivy City.

Fatima Senghore, Hot Pilates

BYW recognizes the diversity of their regular Bikram Yoga practitioners and besides offering a hot room in which to take the class, members have access to even more wellness under the same convenient roof and can expect to see improvements in their regular Bikram practice – another practice that incorporates isometric holds and activated muscles. ‘Because we are a Bikram Yoga studio at our core, everything we do not only stems from Bikram, but also circles back to Bikram.  We are dedicated to changing minds, bodies, and lives through the wellness experience that BYW offers where what you do in one class helps with what you do in Bikram and vice versa,’ emphatically states Tyecia Powell, BYW Regional Director.

All of the classes offered at BYW are designed to reinforce one another and allow members to tailor their class selection to what they need on any given day or week. And research has certainly drawn attention to the critical nature of yogic breath work when looking to improve strength as well.

More importantly is that participants are guaranteed a good time.

‘What people can expect in the class is life changing, being able to do things you never thought or saw yourself doing. They can plan on hearing good music, laughing, and participating in a challenging a workout!,’ exclaimed Porter.

Now that is a tune we can groove to.

Hot Barre Class is a 60-minute mash-up of endurance, strength, and interval training all in the hot room we have come to love. This low impact, medium to high intensity workout set to music includes stretching, upper-body exercises using light free weights, plank work, interval training, and dance inspired exercises. All fitness levels are welcome!  If you are looking for longer leaner toned muscles, increased stamina, stronger core, increased flexibility and balance, and cardio blast. This is the class for you!


BikramYogaWorks studios are independently owned and operated and each location was conceived with YOU in mind. Our intention is to provide you with an exceptional experience from the moment you walk into our studios until you leave our doors. Our state-of-the art facilities offer a friendly environment and several amenities for your comfort and convenience, including plenty of parking, spacious locker rooms and ample showers and a networking zone to meet fellow yogis and like-minded individuals. We also offer a range of classes to meet your needs including Bikram Yoga, LifeStretch, Hot Pilates, and Hot Barre.   Wellness services include cryotherapy and Fascia Stretch Therapy (FST).

5 locations: Riverdale Park, MD, Ivy City, Takoma Park, MD, Ivy City Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Boston, MS

Scarlett Salem | BYW Work Study | Contributing Writer | Blogger 

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