Any way you spell it, yoga and Pilates benefit body and soul.
Yogalates. Yogilates. Yoga lattes? Don't let the name confuse you. There's a new trend out there, and it's not on the Starbucks menu.
However you spell it, yoga and Pilates are now joined at the hip. The trend is edging its way into health clubs and studios across America.
Yogilates was created in 1997 by certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer Jonathan Urla. This year, Louise Solomon published her own version, called Yogalates.
Everyone has an opinion about this new trend, pro or con. Besides the books, there are videotapes, DVDs, and classes cropping up. To figure out what's up, WebMD caught up with several fitness experts.
Ahead of the Curve
Yoga is an eastern Indian tradition that focuses on strength, flexibility, and spirituality. Pilates was created by German-born Joseph Pilates nearly a century ago. Pilates focuses on building strength in the deep muscles of the abdominal region, the body's core.
Both practices involve attaining specific postures. Both emphasize correct breathing. Both emphasize meditative mindfulness.
Despite the hybrid name, Yogalates "is not gimmicky -- it's built on very tried and true, historically proven forms of exercise," explains Cherryl Leone, a certified yoga instructor at Gentle Strength Yoga in Denver.
Like many who teach it, Leone has developed her own blend of yoga and Pilates. It's become so popular, she says she may transform a couple of yoga classes to Yogalates. "I've had such positive, positive feedback on Yogalates," she tells WebMD.
"There's so much synergy between the two," Leone explains. "The philosophies of both make blending the two very natural. You're not mindlessly on a treadmill or exercise machine. The mind is very focused on the body, on breathing techniques. When I teach Yogalates, I want students to feel their entire body was exercised in an integrated way."
When It's Not Yoga, You Know It
So what exactly happens in a yoga-Pilates class?
In Yogilates, Urla outlines no less than 40 poses -- including back lifts, sternum lifts, leg lifts, leg circles, plus such yoga standards such as Downward-Facing Dog, Sun Salutation, The Warrior, and Meditation Pose -- that can be used in a beginner's class. Of course, no one class will cover them all, he says.