Yogilates: A Challenging, but Cleansing Workout

Yoga hybrids are popping up everywhere, but many seem to fade out as quickly as they explode onto the fitness scene. Yoga purists all over the world are calling for a return to the “pure” form of yoga as it rapidly continues to morph into some of the most diluted forms this practice has ever seen.

After trying Disco Yoga, several crowded Pilates classes at the local gym and around a dozen 20-minute Yoga tapes that left me feeling “un-exercised,” I had all but given up on workouts that didn’t require stepping, weight training, biking or running. My desire to stick to the basics grew stronger with every “gimmicky” class I signed up for. I was slowly becoming a “pure yoga” advocate and began to frown upon any hybrid that was thrown my way. That was until I discovered Yogilates.

Created by certified Pilates and Yoga instructor Jonathan Urla, Yogilates fuses Hatha Yoga and Pilates to give practitioners “more rapid and balanced development of their bodies than when either discipline is performed separately.”

German-born Joseph H. Pilates (1880-1968) introduced Pilates to the United States in 1926. Pilates created exercise machines and various pieces of equipment, most notably the Universal Reformer, but his original technique was based on his matwork exercises.

Pilates improves flexibility of the spine, posture, breathing and alignment. Some believe that it “strengthens the core better than any exercise ever invented.” Important elements include: the placement of the breath in the ribs, articulating the spine, stabilizing the pelvis and shoulders for better balance and an emphasis on linking movements together in a graceful and flowing way. This helps to develop coordination and concentration. Although the focus of Pilates centers on flexibility, strength and balance, practitioners walk away with a long, lean and toned body.

Hatha Yoga is an ancient discipline dating back at least 5,000 years. Asanas (postures), breathing techniques and meditation are all integral parts of the discipline. Benefits include: an increase in flexibility and strength, releases stress and imbalance and it rejuvenates your mind and spirit. It is said that one of the greatest health benefits from the practice of Hatha Yoga is an increase in one’s awareness. While most exercises relieve stress temporarily, the practice of Hatha Yoga help’s to “identify and release deeper sources of stress and imbalance.”

Yogilates mixes just the right amount of elements together to create a workout that relieves stress, helps you gain coordination and balance, lose weight, and allows you to relax all at the same time. In a nutshell Yogilates “brings precise alignment, core strength and knowledge from exercise science to the postures of yoga for added safety and a greater transformative effect.”

Yoga always left me feeling comfortably stretched, cleansed and relaxed. I never really felt like I was getting a high-energy workout like I did with step aerobics and spinning. Pilates left me feeling like I had a moderate cardio workout or resistance training, but I never felt relaxed or cleansed afterwards. While both forms of exercise have amazing benefits on their own, Yogilates mixes those benefits together to provide a workout that feels aerobic and leaves you feeling energized, but at the same time it relaxes your mind, body and soul.

For more information about Yogilates log onto Yogilates.com or call 1-877-Yogilates. (1-877-964-4528) You can also write to Yogilates, 309 East 87th Street, #6G, New York, NY 10128.

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