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Yogalates: A Blend of Exercises

Any way you spell it, yoga and Pilates benefit body and soul.

When It's Not Yoga, You Know It continued...

Urla's language emphasizes the spiritual: Make the process of learning Yogilates your goal, he writes. "Learn to be present in your thinking and to appreciate the simple fact that you are breathing, moving, and enjoying the real beauty of your practice."


"I use a very classical approach -- floor work, stretching for 20 minutes before going into the Sun Salutation series," Urla tells WebMD. "At first, one might notice more yoga because we do pause in the poses, we hold some stretches. I'm very much into fundamentals, into awareness of alignment. But when we begin the very intensive abdominals -- you may not know it's Pilates, but you'll know it's definitely not yoga."

A Few Opinions

"There's a beautiful marriage of flow, from a yoga move to a Pilates move," says Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, a spokeswoman for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. "Blending the two is time-efficient. You can address all the major muscle groups."


As a fitness instructor, Jordan found that people who wanted to improve muscle tone, get a slimmer physique, or tone specific body areas weren't satisfied with yoga. "Why don't I have this five pounds off yet?" -- that's what she heard.


She, too, saw the possibilities of blending the best of yoga and Pilates, as she describes in her 1999 book, The Fitness Instinct. However, Jordan went a step further -- topping off her workouts with calisthenics, to fully challenge the muscles.


"The aging baby boomer population is not interested in physically exhausting exercise," Jordan says. "You can get maximum results in terms of good ab and back strength from this blend. It has numerous benefits for injury prevention, back care, and strong abs."

The Purist's Viewpoint

Not everyone approves of this hybrid approach. "I'm not a fan of Yogalates," says Linda Sparrowe, MA, yoga director of Western Athletic Clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area and author of Yoga for Healthy Bones, which will be published next spring.


"I feel it waters down both practices into something that they aren't," Sparrowe tells WebMD. "Yogalates works in health clubs because people there are often not familiar with either one. So it's a nice introduction. But yoga is a deeper practice, a very physical practice. It taps into your emotional body and your mind."

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