About Us

A Catholic Fitness Program to Strengthen Your Body, Mind, and Soul

Pietra Fitness believes that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, a beautiful cathedral for God’s glory. And every Cathedral needs a strong base upon which to stand. 

By combining Christian prayer and strengthening exercises, Pietra Fitness will help you build an unshakeable foundation–both physically and spiritually. 

Pietra Fitness: A House Built Upon Stone

Rooted in ScriptureThe wise man built his house on a rock.

The body is a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit—a house of God. St. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you . . .” (1 Cor. 6:19a).

God is the architect of the human body, as well as of the soul (CCC 362-366). Therefore, He is the sole designer of and authority on human form and function. As stewards of these amazing gifts, we must each strive to care for both our body and our soul. “Therefore glorify God in your body”(1 Cor. 6: 20b).

Many forms of exercise—some of them ancient—have provided effective ways to strengthen the body, heal illness, and promote longevity. We recognize the good and true wherever it is found and do well to utilize physical movements that are helpful.

We must take great care to point out, however, that a good source for exercise is not necessarily a reliable source for spiritual truth. The source may be unhelpful at best—and dangerous at worst. Because the human person is both body and soul, we dare not take lightly the implications of following guidance not rooted in and centered on Christ. “. . . no town or house divided against itself will stand” (Mt. 12:25). The soul, being greater than the body, should be properly formed and direct how the body exercises because what the body does affects the soul.

It is easy to test the effectiveness of various physical exercises, but is it possible to identify a true authority for spiritual truth? Yes! Christ himself established the Church as the specific and ultimate spiritual authority on earth. He said, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16: 18-19).

Pietra means rock in Italian. Pietra Fitness was created as a way to renew both soul and body by building each on a strong foundation of love and truth. We utilize tried-and-true physical exercises to develop core strength, providing a solid foundation for the rest of the body. To nourish the soul, we incorporate Scripture and meditations completely consistent with the teachings of the Church that Jesus founded on the rock of St. Peter. We believe this powerful combination truly benefits the whole human person—body, mind, and soul, in unity and integrity.

Called to build the Church

Our Crucifix

The San Damiano Crucifix was chosen to be the Crucifix that will be present in every Pietra Fitness Class.

It is an icon, a sacred work of art rich with meaning. It is the crucifix of conversion. Saint Francis of Assisi prayed repeatedly before this Crucifix, and one day while praying, the Holy Spirit gave St. Francis a mission:

“Go and repair My House which, as you can see, is falling into ruin.”

We believe that God is still asking His people to rebuild the church, including our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Having a San Damiano Crucifix in every class reminds us of this call. 

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A dwelling for the sacred

Our Logo

Since we believe that God created you a beautiful cathedral, we created a logo that reflects the Sacred dwelling inside you. 

Many of the world’s most majestic cathedrals feature stained glass windows traditionally known as a rose window. Full of intricate patterns, meaningful designs, and Christian images, these windows have been a source of beauty and inspiration for centuries. 

The Pietra Fitness’ Rose Window likewise is rich in symbolism.

Blue, a color traditionally associated with heaven, has also long represented the Blessed Mother, and the fleurs de lis (simplified lily flowers) remind us of her purity. A series of ten geometric designs fill the window to symbolize God’s law given to use in the Ten Commandments and the trefoil in the center represent the Trinity. 

Like traditional rose windows, the Pietra Fitness rose window is dedicated to Our Lady, the Mystical Rose, who carried within her the Light of the World. A light that shines brightly in and through you. 

A fitness program designed to strengthen the whole person.

The FounderKaren Barbieri built Pietra Fitness as a Catholic alternative to yoga. The result? A fitness program that builds the whole person - body, mind, and soul.

Founder of Pietra Fitness Karen Barbieri understands the pain and challenges of a weakening foundation and the freedom and joy that comes with one built on stone.

After the birth of her fourth child, Karen experienced debilitating back pain that doctors tried everything to relieve. But nothing brought the healing she desperately needed. 

At the suggestion of a friend, Karen tried exercising with a video of yoga stretches that was devoid of any spirituality. Due to concerns with its spiritual philosophies, Karen had always avoided yoga; however, she was surprised to find the movements familiar from her childhood years of cheerleading and acrobatics. Soon, the stretches began to ease her pain, allowing her to walk more easily and serve her family.

She opened each workout session with a prayer and found that this time not only strengthened her body, but the addition of Christian meditation connected her soul to God. 

She felt called to share this physically and spiritually enriching program with others, especially with those looking for a way to glorify God as an integrated person. Body and soul unified as they were created to be. 

To more fully develop this Catholic alternative to yoga, Karen needed to learn to teach the physical postures that she used to find healing and to research the spiritual roots of the practice. 

So, in 2008, with the permission and guidance of her spiritual director and a holy priest knowledgeable on the spiritual roots of yoga, Karen received a yoga certification. Throughout her training, she maintained close instruction from her spiritual director to help her discernment and to keep her faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

The certification process not only allowed her to study the physical benefits of the postures but also to examine the ways in which the New Age movement heavily influences yoga. This training made more clear all the ways that yoga philosophies conflict with Christian teachings, allowing her to utilize this knowledge when developing the program, which specifically leaves out practices that oppose the faith. 

Karen began to teach this new program at a local wellness center, where she was met with great enthusiasm and gratitude from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. People not only felt stronger, but more at peace. Then, after receiving the approval and support from two Archbishops, Pietra Fitness was born. 

Pietra Fitness now offers in-person instruction as well as online classes for every fitness level. Each class is taught by qualified leaders trained in strengthening techniques, Church teachings, and Christian meditation using the teachings of St. Teresa of Avila. 

This unique workout grew from the call to glorify God with body and soul into an enriching fitness program with faith always at its core.

Consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pietra Fitness strives to build up the Cathedral of You by giving you a strong foundation to stand on.