There is a reason that the barre craze is still growing hotter. More and more women are learning just how effective repetitive movements can be in toning our physiques. But the benefits go far beyond our seats. Have you ever had a creative breakthrough during or immediately following a workout? There is scientific research that explains how barre classes create the perfect neurological cocktail for innovative thinking.
Habit Your Way
Master dancer and chorographer Twyla Tharp is a legendarily prolific artist, having choreographed over 160 works. Tharp attributes this success to her own morning ritual. She starts her days at 5:30 am with workout clothes and a cab to the gym where she completes a session of stretches and weight training.
In her book, The Creative Habit, Tharp explains that “A lot of habitually creative people have preparation rituals linked to the setting in which they choose to start their creative day.”
“It’s vital to establish some rituals—automatic but decisive patterns of behavior—at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, … Thinking of it as a ritual has a transforming effect on the activity.”
So as it turns out, your leggings, healthy breakfast and marches in place at Physique are all essential mindful habits. Simply placing yourself in a consistent environment is the best way to charge up both your body and mind for the entire day.
It’s proven that we get our best ideas when a large amount of dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine release it triggered by activities like exercising and listening to music. Those Beyoncé songs are there for more than just getting you through your plank segments.
Can You Repeat That?
The steady, repetitive movements of barre classes actually trigger something called Default Mode Network (DMN). DMN is what happens when your brain goes into mental autopilot; this frees room for your subconscious to wander and creative thoughts to flourish.
“For me, inspiration is just one of the perks of Physique!” gushes Catherine Canino, the Creative Director and founder of Catherine Canino Jewelry. Canino has been a devoted Physiquer ever since the studio first opened its doors twelve years ago. “Often, when I’m in class and I get that endorphin rush going, I will work out a technical problem that I’d been struggling with earlier in the day,” she says. “Sometimes, I’ll even be so inspired that I will rush out of class to draw a design for an earring on one of the notepads at the front desk.”
How To Maximize Creativity
Alicia Weihl, a dancer and choreographer who has been a Physique instructor for over ten years, challenges those in her class to focus. “Leave your to-do list at the door and restart your day. This might be the only hour you’ll give yourself all day. You will get the most of your hour both mentally and physically when you aren’t being pulled in different directions.”
Write It Down
Brilliance is fleeting. Studies show that writing our ideas down gives us a memory boost. So before catching up on the texts you missed during class, make sure to jot down your thoughts. The Notes App is your friend. Use it!
Change up your workout! Exploring different classes and trying new instructors is a great way to keep a daily habit feeling fresh. Stepping out of your comfort zone also helps to challenge your mind and body in new ways. We recommend our new Dance Cardio class. It’s the perfect way to learn some new moves while breaking a sweat.
Patience Is Key
Over-exertion can cause mental delay. So if you haven’t had any groundbreaking breakthroughs or you forgot your locker combination after an intense SBT, there’s no need to panic. The muse will follow!
Alicia is proud that her classes are consistently populated with creative types of all kinds. She’s not only referring to visual artists, writers and fashion designers but doctors, lawyers and business executives as well. “What’s awesome is such diverse backgrounds converging, uniting, focusing, and working hard in one space.”
Learning to maximize creativity is essential to everyone. Whether you are an artist, mother, student or entrepreneur, thinking outside of the box will help you be your very best. Isn’t that what drew us to the barre in the first place? So next time you’re in a creative rut, step out of your own head and into the studio, the benefits are endless.