Yoga + Pilates = a new way to exercise

Photo: istockphoto.com/Eliza Snow
If you find exercise boring then you may need something that engages more of the mind-body connection that emphasizes flexibility, strength and balance while also helping to relieve stress. New methods It's not just cars that are turning to hybrids. A new trend in exercise is combining ancient techniques with new. Yogalates, also known as Yogilates, is the marriage of yoga with Pilates. For many fitness experts blending the two is time-efficient since both strengthen key muscles groups and promote "mindful movement" where you stay focussed on what your body is doing. Eastern approach Yoga dates back at least 5,000 years ago in India and was brought to the Western world about 100 years ago. It takes a more holistic approach to exercise by using poses combined with breathing to release tension and stress while strengthening all muscle groups. Balance is the key goal – especially the one between body and mind. There are many different types of yoga but usually Hatha Yoga is usually the method combined with Pilates. It promotes flexibility and tones the body as it improves strength, endurance and concentration. There are many schools and teachers of Hatha yoga but the recognized founder was Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). Western take Pilates is a much younger type of exercise created by Joseph Pilates, a German who developed his technique to rehabilitate injured WWI soldiers in World War I while interned in an English POW camp. He introduced this technique to the dance world when he immigrated to the U.S. in 1926. Pilates quickly became a favorite of dancers. It targets certain areas of the body using regimented exercises done with controlled breathing and performed on an apparatus or a mat. Each exercise is repeated between five to ten times. Happy marriage Yoga focuses on flexibility, then strength. Pilates focuses on stability, then strength and flexibility. Combining the two has created an hybrid technique that is gaining in popularity. Yogilates was created in 1997 by certified Pilates instructor and yoga instructor Jonathan Urla. Yogalates was created in 2002 by Louise Solomon, a certified yoga instructor who turned to Pilates after a yoga injury. Typical exercises A typical routine in a yogalates class may include the following:
  • Lateral Thoracic Breathing
  • Spinal Roll
  • Hip circles with Thera-Band
  • Cat Series into Downward Facing Dog
  • Besides the books, there are videotapes and DVDs for at home instruction. Check at your local gym or yoga studio to see if they are offering this hybrid technique. Be sure to check your teacher's credentials before signing up for any class. The mind shapes the body and where the mind goes, the body will follow. Joseph Pilates (1880-1967)