mary helen bowers ballet beautiful no filter instagram garance dore photos

9 years ago by

In the morning (after approx four hits on the snooze button), the last thing I want to see is #fitspo.

Scrolling through, one eye half open and I’ve missed my yoga class.

But, once I’ve managed to open the other eye, fitness Instagram accounts can be pretty inspiring.
In the Studio, we’ve been talking about the shift from where we get our news and information, from magazines to, now, social media. And sometimes you get more than that, even inspiration on how to live.
Like, when I see a crazy photo of abs and then I decide to actually go for a run. (Fine, jog slash fast walk.) Or a healthy salad makes me choose fro-yo over gelato. It’s the little bites of motivation…

So we wanted to talk with three women who all dedicate their Instagram accounts to posting inspirational images promoting a healthy lifestyle. Mary Helen Bowers who started Ballet Beautiful, Hannah Bronfman who founded HBFit, and the creator of Strala Yoga, Tara Stiles. What’s cool is that they all have different approaches to working out, but they all think carefully about what photo they’re going to post (admit it, like the rest of us…)(seriously, “Insta pressure”!!) and have used Instagram to help build their fitness lifestyles into a business…

mary helen bowers ballet beautiful no filter instagram garance dore photos

mary helen bowers ballet beautiful no filter instagram garance dore photos

Mary Helen Bowers

Founder, Ballet Beautiful

So, first up, what inspired you to start Ballet Beautiful? 

Ballet Beautiful was the workout that I was always searching for as a professional dancer. As a dancer, your body is your instrument. It’s really your entire life and you have to take such good care of it. So, what I learned along the way was that I needed to be doing much more for my body than just dancing every day — taking class, rehearsing, performing at night. I needed to exercise to cross train, but I had to do it in a smart way that built the right muscles for me.  And so, this is a work out, so many years in the making, that I created initially for myself to be the strongest I could be on stage and off stage, and then, when I retired from New York City Ballet, to keep me in really top shape, and then ultimately as a workout to help other women have the strength, the elegance, and the beauty that I think is inherent in ballet.

You’ve been so successful in that. How does a healthy lifestyle for you extend beyond being here in this space?

I think lifestyle is the keyword. It has to be the way you live every day, it can’t be just what you’re thinking, that you’re on a diet, the foods that you are or aren’t eating. It has to incorporate into the way you approach fitness — that you’re working out, you’re exercising, you’re always moving your body whether you’re in the studio or at home or traveling with work. Wherever you are, you’re making your health a priority. So, eating well, sleeping as much as you can, and making really good choices for yourself.

And also you document so much of your day-to-day exercises and poses on Instagram. Why do you love to share?

I think it’s fun just to kind of give people a peek inside of your daily life. And, you know, if I have a new exercise or a stretch that’s really effective. But also to try… You know, I think that fitness can be… sometimes it can feel like a punishment or a chore and it’s not a world that’s infused with beauty, per se. So I really like to put a ballet spin on it.

And have you found Instagram to be a really nurturing platform for you and your business and Ballet Beautiful in general?

I think it’s a great way to reach people and to sort of share your story. Because this brand is very visual, I think we do really well on Instagram and people respond really passionately to our photos.

Do you ever feel pressure to post the perfect image? 

I mean, you know, I’m not posting pictures of cheeseburgers and calamari, but I’m not eating a lot of that stuff. So, you really want it to inspire people and to help them stay connected to the healthy aspects and the active aspects of their lives as well. So if it’s, you know, a tutu and a pair of slippers or just a beautiful sunbeam on the floor, they inspire me in very similar ways. But we’re not photoshopping… The majority of it is shot on my iPhone.

Aside from the cheeseburgers and the calamari, what are some things you would just never publish on your Instagram?

I think that anyone has to think before posting something on the internet, particularly if it’s an aspect of your private life. But there’s not a tremendous amount that we’re trying to hide or cover up. You just want to be thoughtful, of course, about what you share. And I think that’s probably more true, too, as you have a family and as your personal life becomes more layered…

mary helen bowers ballet beautiful no filter instagram garance dore photos
mary helen bowers ballet beautiful no filter instagram garance dore photos

tara stiles strala yoga instagram garance dore photos

tara stiles strala yoga instagram garance dore photos

Tara Stiles

Founder, Strala Yoga

How did your love for yoga develop?

When I was a kid I meditated in the woods and had my own self-taught practice, so I was connected to the ideas of interconnectedness since I can remember. After being formally introduced to yoga when I was at conservatory, I started to share the practice with others mostly informally. I didn’t have a plan to develop a business out of yoga until spending a little time in NYC doing other things and seeing an opportunity for change in yoga.

What are the best and worst things about a complete yoga lifestyle?

I suppose a complete yoga lifestyle means different things to different people, but having a regular practice you can come back to and the knowledge of self-care is incredibly valuable whoever you are.

When and why did you start using Instagram to share your yoga journey?

I used YouTube in 2007 uploading simple how-to yoga videos that started to reach and help a lot of people. Instagram for my purposes is a nice tool for sharing moments and inspiration to connect with our broader Strala community now.

Do you really work for a great image? Like the one of you balancing on the pool float?!!

Ha! That picture was taken by a photographer working with the W. We have some fantastic images from our events around the world. For images I take myself I prefer sharing moments and things less staged. I like real and goofy moments and don’t worry so much about goals with posting.

Do you feel “Insta pressure”? Be honest, we feel it.

I don’t think I’ll be taking yoga crotchy contortion shots or spending a silly amount of time arranging my breakfast or buying followers to get more likes, but that’s the insta world we live in :)

Who do you follow on Instagram that you find motivational?

The Tao of Dana, Ceizer, Deepak Chopra, StreetArtGlobe, Kennyscharf

No Filter
tara stiles strala yoga instagram garance dore photos
hannah bronfman hbfit standard hotel gym instagram garance dore photos

Hannah Bronfman

Founder, HBFit

Why is an active lifestyle so important to you?

I truly believe that an active body directly leads to an active mind. In other words, I don’t feel like I can be productive if I haven’t gotten a proper workout in—it’s a necessary ritual for me!

Like the rest of us, do you ever just think: “Eugh, I don’t feel like working out today!” ? And how do you handle that?

Waking up in the morning isn’t always easy for me! I just have to remind myself that it’s worth it to workout, to get my day going. I also make sure to schedule my workouts ahead so that I hold myself accountable for them!

Why do you think there is a fitness movement that’s more focused on strength than being skinny?

I truly believe that 2015 is the year of wellness. Women are empowered to be strong minded and I think the same goes for their bodies.  We are seeing women in the media with curves and these icons aren’t about being stick thin – they are about being healthy and strong.  This movement really reinforces my mantra, #StrongIsTheNewSkinny!

So much of your exercise is documented on Instagram. Why do you love to share?

Instagram is such a great way to keep a visual diary of life! I use it to track my progress and to document my goals. By me sharing this type of content on IG it allows people to get motivated and to stay on their own path and achieve their goals.

Was the support you received on Instagram part of what encouraged you to launch HBFit?

HBFit started as a hashtag that I was using to illustrate my personal wellness journey.  It was through Instagram that it became a sticky term and thus evolving into a site and business.

What are the Instagram accounts you follow to motivate you to be healthy?

I am personally obsessed with Australia—their wellness game is the strongest in the world! So naturally, my fitness inspo comes from girls like Kayla Itsines, Amanda Bisk and Amy Pejkovic!

hannah bronfman hbfit standard hotel gym instagram garance dore photos

hannah bronfman hbfit standard hotel gym instagram garance dore photos

hannah bronfman hbfit standard hotel gym instagram garance dore photos


Add yours
  • We all know that Instagram has become our beautiful life the life that we imagine for ourself…all this beautifully pictured and with good taste…..i love sport i love dancing ..but i love life….so i really think it’s great to do all that ..but what about just sitting in a cafe ..with friends ..drinking a glass of wine..having a great meal…all this should be part of our life and we need to listen to ourself ..and do what we do with pleasure!!!
    with love
    Yael Guetta

  • Wowww! Je craque complètement pour les photos de Ballet Beautiful… Qu’est-ce qu’elles sont belles!
    La danse classique, c’est un sport tellement esthétique! <3
    Belle journée

    Le monde des petites

  • Amazing pictures!

    Love from Vienna
    Borislava from

  • Sunny Side May, 26 2015, 11:03 / Reply

    Thanks Neada, I learn a lot with your post ! I am addicted to TaiChi but I am always open to discover others trainings and how it works for people. I love feng Shui and street art. Tara Stiles ‘s insta are my favorite, I admire so much JR, Whils, their works are so useful and poetic.

  • Social media is really changing our life. If you wanna be influencing/ sharing your lifestyle, dedicating time to social media is inevitable. It is now a world of “Sharing!”

  • Lauren May, 26 2015, 11:40 / Reply

    Love this! Hannah Bronfman totally inspires me on a daily basis. She is awesome, and her IG is one of my most faves.

  • Ghislaine May, 26 2015, 11:45 / Reply

    J’adore ce post. Très intéressant, inspirant et plein d’ondes positives. Je vais aller checker les instagrams de ces ladies… Merci Neada

  • Très bien sur ce je retourne manger du beurre de cacahuètes

  • Bien ce post! Pour info, si tu as vraiment du mal à te réveiller, l’Eveil Lumière de Philips a révolutionné mes réveils…vraiment! Un réveil tout en douceur, et souvent avant que l’alarme ne sonne, tout simplement par la simulation de l’aube.

    Sinon vu que je suis à fond dans le yoga en ce moment, j’ai regardé par curiosité le site de Tara Stiles, et je trouve les prix carrément abusifs (20$ pour 1h de cours en vidéo!), alors qu’on peut trouver des vidéos et chaînes très bien et très complètes sur Youtube (et gratuites qui plus est…).

  • Murielle May, 26 2015, 5:22

    Bonjour Flore, tu pourrais me donner des liens pour débuter le yoga et en langue française ?
    Gratuit ca serait encore plus top.
    Merci d’avance :-)

  • Flore May, 28 2015, 2:31

    Muriel, oui pas de problème. Alors pour le yoga en français, je n’ai qu’une référence pour l’instant,Yogacoaching, un site fait par Ariane, mais surtout elle a une chaîne sur Youtube avec plein de vidéos. Je la trouve très bien.
    Après en anglais, il y a Yoga with Adriene, que je trouve pas mal au niveau des positions, mais quand on est pas bilingue, je ne trouve pas ça évident, d’autant qu’elle parle beaucoup trop.
    J’aimerais trouver d’autres sites français gratuits, mais j’ai l’impression qu’il n’y en a pas des masses…
    Bon yoga!

  • Murielle May, 28 2015, 7:28

    Merci beaucoup Flore, je vais aller voir le site et les vidéos d’Ariane, j’espère que ca me motivera à commencer le yoga en douceur.

  • These women are so beautiful and strong! Loved reading their tips and getting inspired by them!

    Warm Regards,

  • Ana May, 26 2015, 2:31 / Reply

    I love Mary Helen & her workouts. I’ve been practicing ballet for years (not professionally) but sometimes it’s difficult to get to class on time. This is when I log on to her website. With her workouts I feel like all the craziness comes out of and sinks into the walls and I’m becoming cool, calm and collected again.

  • quelles magnifiqueq photos !!! ça fait vraiment plaisir de voir des photos d’une telle qualité sur un Blog qui ne soient pas des images piochées sur internet ! Cela me touche particulièrement…… J’aime beaucoup cette article qui met l’accent sur un mode de vie plutôt qu’une “minceur” à tout prix !
    J’ai passé un très agréable moment à lire cet article. Merci

  • wow, cool post!!!!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • So inspiring! These ladies look fabulous. P.S. Loving Hanna’s workout gear. Super cute.

  • I love yoga — and I’ve always wanted to do ballet!

  • Great post! great woman who do their thing hole hearted, very inspiring.

  • I guess I’m a sucker for all these beautiful instagram pics and I often find myself choosing lighter snacks and making more effort to look better thnx to instagram. The motivation works :)

  • Sympa ces interviews, ça nous donne une autre vision de leurs comptes IG. J’en suis beaucoup de comptes IG sur le bine être et le fitness et ça me donne des points de repères, des objectifs, des idées de menus, des envies d’aller faire une séance de fitness…

  • Fitness time ;)


  • Les photos de Ballet Beautiful sont magiques !

  • Francesca May, 27 2015, 5:03 / Reply

    Gorgeous inspirational pictures! They send me to the gym right away!

  • de chanaud May, 27 2015, 5:20 / Reply

    Bonjour Garance
    Sais-tu d’ou vient la brassière rayée de Tara?

    un lien pour des pantalons de yoga très cool!

  • Je suis Hannah depuis un moment. Je ne sais pas si elle me motive mais elle me fait parfois un peu regretter la vingtaine :D !!! Je suis très admirative de ses vibes healthy même si on sent sur certains comptes un côté un peu névrosé de l’exercice.
    J’ai hâte que Garance se fasse totalement contaminer et qu’elle et Kris partagent avec nous quelques positions de yoga acrobatique, LE truc des power couple ;).

  • Vraiment très jolies photos !! Ça donne vraiment envie de se remettre au sport ! Mais on peut peut être considéré que le shopping est un sport non ?! ;)
    Je partage un site que j’aime bien car je pense que ça pourrait en intéresser quelques unes ici !

  • Thank you so much for this, I love Tara Stiles, and I’m always happy to read interviews with her…and reading one at my favorite blog…awesome :)

  • Florencia May, 27 2015, 11:13 / Reply

    C´est genial que tu as interviewe Tara Stiles, elle est vraiment une fille qui a ouvert le yoga pour tout le monde. Il y a chez des cours en français pour downloader, et pratiquer chez eux. Ge-Ni-AL. Bravo Garance et Bravo Tara!!!

  • WOW! Thanks for the heads up! I didn’t know a lot of these names. On instagram I really like Vuthera, he takes amazing photos of paris!

  • Lisa Walker May, 27 2015, 12:25 / Reply

    Loved this post. And as for Instagram? It’s fun. When the “fun” is authentic and in the moment you can’t lose! #keepitfun #stovetopped

  • Monica May, 28 2015, 12:51 / Reply

    Love this!! Do you know who makes Hannah’s clothes?

  • Hannah looks so fit. Definite inspiration.

    Where are her workout pants from?

  • Amazing pictures! La danse classique, c’est un sport tellement esthétique! <3

  • jenny May, 4 2019, 5:41 / Reply

    This is good

  • Exercise and sports at home are becoming more important these days, thanks to the threat of Corono.

  • Problem with me was over-thinking, it was holding back my full potential.

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