What in the World Is Yogalates?

What you need to know about this new fitness trend.

In 1997, personal trainer and well-known certified Pilates instructor Jonathan Urla introduced Yogilates. A few years later, a new version known as Yogalates was published by an Australian, Louise Solomon. Blending the movements and principles of yoga and Pilates, Yogalates (or Yogilates) focuses on toning and strengthening your body while calming your mind and emotions at the same time.

What are the differences between yoga and Pilates and how do you blend the two together?

Differences and Similarities

Yoga was developed in India more than 5,000 years ago and focuses on flexibility, strength, meditation, and spirituality. Pilates, on the other hand, was created only a century ago by a German named Joseph Pilates. This form of exercise focuses on toning and strengthening the body’s core muscles in the abdominal area and is not as concerned with an individual’s spiritual being. Despite these differences, the similarities are even greater.

Both yoga and Pilates emphasize specific postures, correct breathing, and meditation. Additionally, these two exercise techniques have been around long enough to be trusted. And while the name “Yogalates” may seem a bit trite, it is a clear explanation of what you expect. Advocates and practitioners of Yogalates state that the two have so much in common that blending the two is very natural. When practicing Yogalates, you’re very focused and in tune with what your body is doing. This is in contrast with exercises, such as walking on a treadmill while watching television or reading a book. Because of this, Yogalates instructors insist that their students’ bodies and minds are exercised in a more complete and integrated manner.

A Blend

Louis Solomon created Yogalates following an injury she sustained during a yoga class. She realized the need for strength and stability to hold yoga poses, and that tone and muscle power that Pilates provides. Combining the two seemed like the solution. Since then, Yogalates has been just that for many people, as it has become a popular form of exercise around the world.

Most of the postures used in Yogalates are based on traditional yoga. Therefore, you will get the same benefits of yoga such as breath control, flexibility, meditation, and improved muscle strength. The difference is that, thanks to the infusion of Pilates, you will also work your body in a way that helps develop the stability of your inner core muscles. Throughout your workout, Yogalates exercises are safe. The likelihood of suffering a strain or other injury is minimal, and because of the simplicity of the movements, Yogalates are very easy to integrate into your daily routine.

What Can You Expect?

The only equipment needed to practice Yogalates is a long stretchy band (a pair of pantyhose can work if necessary), and a non-slip mat. Use the band as you stretch into a pose, balance your entire body, and hold the position for several seconds.

Ultimately, the goal is to learn to control your breathing through the various postures. You will also be taught when to inhale and when to exhale. Doing this will help you stretch further and relax your muscles at the same time.
With Yogalates, there are around 40 different poses, many of them familiar to those who practice yoga. For best results, you’ll want to perform the postures four to six times a week, eat a healthy diet, and include some moderate cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week.

Who’s It For?

While not everyone is a fan of the blended exercise technique known as Yogalates, it is a great option for those who are looking for the benefits of both yoga and Pilates, who may be intimidated by the skill required by either exercise alone, or for those who want to try something new and different. Sound like you? Then get to it!

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