Yogalates 101 Guide – Workout Fusion Yoga & Pilates

Fusion exercises are all the rage at the moment, thanks to people who want to double up on their workouts.

Yoga isn’t exempted from this and this time around, it’s combined with a workout that’s somewhat similar to it—pilates. That’s right. We’ll be focusing on yogalates and yogilates (two of the most well-known yoga/pilates hybrids) by exploring a bit of their respective histories, their differences, and what may or may not work for you and your fitness goals.

Interested in choosing between yoga or pilates instead? Check out our in-depth comparison of yoga and pilates.

What is yogalates/yogilates?

In order to understand these workouts, we must first have an idea how yoga and pilates had their starts. If you’re already a fan of yoga, then you already known that it’s an ancient way of exercising, but how about pilates?

yoga pilates posePilates had its beginnings thanks to a German named Joseph Pilates. He was born with asthma and rickets and was generally just a sickly child. He wanted to develop a better physical health and believed that the key to achieving that goal is a better posture and effective breathing. He ended up using yoga and body-building techniques he learned from his father to develop what we all know now as pilates. He further developed this by using his core muscles and doing resistance work to help rehabilitate those who want to recover from physical injuries and illnesses.

Now, pilates has grown in popularity (especially among women!) and has been used as a supplement for injury rehabilitation, as a form of musculoskeletal exercise, and to aid those who have back problems by helping them develop a better body posture.

Now that we have the brief history of pilates out of the way…

As the years have gone by, yoga and pilates have both changed and developed generation after generation. That’s why yogalates and yogilates entered the picture—thanks to research and a constant hunger by professional trainers to have the ultimate workout.

Yogalates was developed by Louise Solomon and is a mixture of the eastern practice of yoga and the western invention of pilates. It promises to help stabilize core muscles and give better posture to practitioners. It takes the best effects of yoga and pilates and merges them together. It’s allegedly something that’s ultimately relaxing and will greatly benefit your health. Well, as a workout, it obviously will if you do things correctly.

Each session of yogalates is comprised of pilates exercises and yoga asanas to help develop strength, flexibility, and posture, with more focus paid to tone the core muscles. Core muscles are important, as these are the “meat” that cushions the spine and protects it from getting injured. It’s also responsible for supporting internal organs and helps provide support for the spine for better posture.

Yogalates also incorporates the use of resistance bands, weights, exercise balls, blocks, and rollers to build strength and help with balance.

Poses (aka asanas) are crucial with yoga and along with breathing techniques, meditation, and concentration, provides an excellent workout for both the mind and body. It’s one of the eight limbs of yoga and with yogalates, all eight limbs are used to their maximum potential in order to soothe your mind while helping you stay fit.

Yogalates claims to be suitable for people of all ages and is an ideal workout for those who suffer from chronic back pain, osteoporosis, and arthritis. It could also be a particularly helpful workout for women who had just given birth. The workout is also claimed as something than can soothe the central nervous system by releasing stress and kick starting relaxation mode.

pilates plankOn the other hand, Yogilates was created by a then-pilates instructor and dancer named Jonathan Urla in 1997. As with yogalates, yogilates focuses on strengthening the core and combining pilates with hatha yoga. Urla also says that he incorporated his technique with dance medicine, bio mechanics, and exercise science to provide a completely safe and effective workout regimen for all ages and skills levels.

All yogilates classes finish with restorative poses and ending relaxation, called Shavasana. A yogilates session begins with some floor work to help with your breathing and to serve as an intensive mental and physical warm-up for what’s about to come.

The warm-up comprises of pilates routines for strengthening the core and lengthening the spine combined with breathing methods and poses from hatha yoga. The progression of sequences with yogilates is quite smooth, ensuring that one transitions from one pose to the next seamlessly.

Jonathan Urla says that he had designed yogilates for everyone and to serve as a complete and effective fitness system that takes advantage of the benefits of yoga and pilates. Regular sessions can help make activities from doing chores to high intensity interval training more bearable. He claims that his workout mentally and physically prepares a person to perform at his or her peak without risking injuries.

What’s the difference between yogalates and yogilates?

There’s probably still some confusion about the difference between the two. So, which is better between the two? Louise Solomon’s yogalates? Or Jonathan Urla’s yogilates?

Yogilates by Jonathan Urla has been around for two decades now. It has more than 40 poses that make use of common yoga poses such as the Sun Salutation and Downward Dog. It also peruses leg lifts and back lifts, as well as meditation techniques.

yoga pose girlIt should also be noted that yogilates leans more towards yoga, especially during the start of each session, as it focuses a lot on pausing in between the poses. However, it does gradually become more intense and pilates-like thanks to the focus on core strengthening and abdominal work.

On the other hand, yogalates was invented in Australia by Louise Solomon. She doesn’t claim it as a “complete” workout just like with Urla’s version. Her version focuses more on strengthening the core, toning the muscles, increasing flexibility, and reducing stress levels. It’s not as intense as Urla’s as it’s a low-intensity class that can help give you tighter abs and have a stronger torso.

But wait—there are more variants of the yoga and pilates hybrid workout!

There’s Piyo, which is a hybrid of the two workouts but is done with rhythmic music, making you move fast during sequences. It’s not as relaxing and meditation-focused like the two we’re discussing, even if it claims to increase stability and improve your core. So definitely do not try Piyo if you’re looking for the peace and tranquility that comes with yoga and pilates even if it’s a “hybrid” of the two.

And then there’s Piloga that’s apparently been designed for strengthening and toning the muscles, while at the same time increases one’s flexibility and nurtures harmony between the mind and the money (wait… isn’t this just yoga?) It’s not exactly a mix of the two workouts, but more of an alternative sequence during sessions. It begins with pilates and then you move on to yoga poses before going back to doing more pilates moves.

But we won’t be discussing those other two further. We’re just here for yogalates and yogilates.

So, if you’re really keen on trying out an effective yoga and pilates hybrid that produces results without making you go crazy, then choose between yogalates and yogilates. They’re similar to each other with their use of breathing techniques from yoga and using pilates poses to build strength and develop core muscles.

From what you’ll see on Urla’s and Solomon’s respective websites and books, you’ll most likely notice that the workouts share the same techniques and poses. Both workouts focus on certain muscle groups as well.

Is it just as good as yoga and/or pilates?

The main difference between yoga and yogalates/yogilates is that yoga is more “lazy” in a sense that you need to hold a pose for a certain amount of time.

As for the hybrid workouts, there’s a quicker and more fluid flow to the sequences, since it’s a combination of yoga plus pilates. You do a pose and at the same time, do exercises to tone your muscles. It’s an excellent way of losing weight and strengthening plus toning the muscles.

So, long story short—yoga and pilates are static forms of exercising. You have to stay in one pose while doing a breathing technique.

While with yogalates and yogilates, while your body may be in a static position, your other limbs need to be in a dynamic motion while maintaining a certain pose.

How can it help weight loss?

According to the yogalates website, the calories that you’ll be burning will be entirely dependent on your weight and how active you are. They provided a rough estimate of “240 to 270 calories burned after a 1-hour session for a person who weight 125 pounds and 356 to 400 calories burned for someone who is 185 pounds.”

yogalates weight lossSo, if by following those estimates, the heavier a person is, the more calories they’ll burn with yogalates. The website also mentioned that daily 60-minute sessions can result in more or less a loss of about a pound each week, even more if a healthy diet is followed as well.

If you think that a pound or less per week lost with yogalates is a bit too “weak” for a workout, you have to realize that it’s actually a healthy way of losing weight. Anything more than a pound per week can be detrimental to your health and can lead you to lose muscle along with the fat.

And don’t be disheartened if you don’t see instantaneous results, as it could take a month or so for you to notice any physical changes with the program. Remember that you’re only working out for about a half hour to an hour every session and you’re most likely still a beginner at this point—so take the time to perfect your techniques and body positions.

With great patience and dedication on yogalates, you’ll be on your way to your target weight and your clothes will fit you better.

Yogalates also has more action compared to yoga, so beginners may feel a bit overwhelmed if they don’t take it slow. You can lose an inch or two per month if you do things regularly, but expect sore muscles for the first couple of weeks of doing it, especially if you’ve been living a stagnant lifestyle prior to trying it out.

On the other hand, yogilates claims that it can help you shed stubborn pounds with their program because it exercises your whole body. It will make use of muscles that you didn’t even know you have in the first place and work out the ones that you know you already have.

Urla believes that stress and tension makes fat “stick” to your body, so he devised a way to coordinate breathing with movements and help people become more self-aware. He promises to reshape the body to become a leaner version of it and remodel the mind to let go of stess that can ruin one’s physical and mental psyche.

By pairing yogilates with cardio exercises, it can be a solution to weight management. Urla also claims that his exercise can replace weight training and exercise machines that can only bulk up someone’s body but not help someone’s mind.

Since pilates is similar to yoga, albeit more focused on techniques and controlling the muscles, it might work since the mind is the strongest muscle there is, so long as there are no distractions.

Both yogalates and yogilates makes use of breathing techniques from yoga and stretching plus muscle control from pilates, with the option of upping the intensity with the help of props like resistance bands.

What are its benefits to the body?

The main benefits of pilates for the body are better strength and leaner muscles on the body. Your core gets stronger and your posture gets better. A

s for yoga, it increases flexibility and can align your spine correctly.

With the combination of the two, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds with added benefits such as having a more toned appearance but maintaining your flexibility, as well as having better blood circulation in your body, increasing the amount of calories that you can burn. Since both yogalates and yogilates are quite similar to each other, it’s no surprise that their benefits are also parallel.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can get with either program:

You’ll get better muscle tone

Both yogalates and yogilates will help you become leaner and more toned. You’ll stop looking like a total slob with constant sessions and you’ll also get a much better posture than you initially had. As mentioned before, all your muscles will get worked out and your muscles will be able to support your body weight, hence making you more balanced as well.

You’ll feel calmer and at peace

Since yoga and pilates are both “relaxing” forms of exercising, their hybrid is bound to be one as well. Your mind will get into a state of peace and your daily stresses can surely melt away if you do your meditation correctly.

You’re hitting two birds with one stone.

They’re hybrids of yoga and pilates—two of the best physical and mental workouts out there. Your core will get stronger and your mind will enter a peaceful state. Need we say more?

Your mind and body will get in sync

All of the sequences and poses involved with yogalates and yogilates can help forge a better connection for your mind and body, making you more in tune with your inner self.

Your breathing will improve

Yoga alone will help with your breathing; so don’t be surprised to get this with yogalates and yogilates as well. Your stamina will also improve, as well as your circulation.

Your spine will get stronger

Pilates is mainly used by people who want to have stronger abdominal and core muscles, as well as a more stabilized spinal cord. With the mixture of yoga, your spine will also become more flexible and any chronic back pain you might feel will get relieved.

Your metabolism will increase, thus burning fat in your body will improve

Since your blood circulation will improve with yogalates and yogilates, your metabolism will follow suit. We’ve all been told that a fast metabolism is the key to getting rid of unwanted fats on the body. Any workout you’re doing regularly, when paired with a healthy diet and a better lifestyle, can definitely put you at your healthiest. The more you do your sessions, the better your chances are at finally saying goodbye to all that extra weight.

You can feel relief from chronic pain and other health issues.

If you have chronic back pain, expect it to subside gradually with yogalates and yogilates. You can also use the workouts as a supplement in improving your arthritis, lowering your blood sugar, alleviate menstrual issues, and of course, find some solace from spinal issues. Yoga already does this on its own, but you can still get it from a yoga hybrid workout. You can also even use yoga to help with your scoliosis!

You’ll become more flexible

This is usually one of the first benefits that get thrown around when someone wants to start pilates or yoga. Depending on how flexible you want to be, you can choose the intensity of your yogalates or yogilates routine. Your whole body will be stretched and pulled and your joints will get rotated and lubricated as well. If you’re advancing through the years and feel like your bones and limbs are getting “crunchier” then you can do these workouts to bring back your old dexterity!

You’ll be getting a massage from the inside of your body

If you’ve read up on yoga and pilates, you’ll know that they’re just two of the only known exercises that also “stimulates” your insides to improve your overall health. With the help of increased mind-body connectivity, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with any possible problems of your body thanks to these “massages.”

Your body will get detoxified

Since yogalates and yogilates will massage you on the inside, your muscles and organs will be getting better circulation that will flush out toxins and give you better recovery time should you get injured. You’re literally squeezing out these impurities out of your body with the help of yoga and pilates.

Although both workouts do have the best benefits from yoga and pilates, you should still be aware that there are some benefits that you may not get. Yogalates and yogilates aren’t as spiritual as yoga itself, and they’re not as core strengthening as pilates on its own.

Doing yoga or pilates and not a hybrid is more effective if you have “bigger” targets to focus on. Don’t expect 100% meditation and relaxation unlike with yoga. Since you’re mixing it with something else, the mental and spiritual benefits aren’t as strong, but still make them effective physical workouts, nonetheless.

Is it okay for people who have zero experience with yoga and pilates to do yogalates or yogilates?

For yogilates, it’s a “friendlier” and less intimidating version of yoga and pilates because it’s dubbed as a relaxing workout for adults—regardless of their fitness level. It aims to be a therapeutic way of losing weight and getting in sync with the mind to get rid of physical and mental stress.

yoga tree poseUrla wants yogilates patrons to practice moderation by laying out routines that don’t take a long time to hold or to be constantly repeated. He designed it so that the body can be used properly without holding too much tension to provide better body fluidity and movements during daily activities.

All Urla wants for yogilates practitioners to do is to feel at ease by not requiring a gym membership or expensive membership to do the workout. A mat and a room with open space is all that’s required for yogilates. As an “open practice” type of workout, a person has the freedom to choose what they want to do depending on their skills.

Urla claims that all sequences attached to the program are effective and doesn’t put too much strain on the muscles. He says that someone can do 5 minutes or a whole hour per session and they can still feel energized instead of pooped at the end of it. He pushes for people to dedicate themselves to the workout and to not be afraid of exploring while at the same time, enjoying everything that comes with yogilates.

On the other hand, yogalates is a bit more active compared to yogilates. There’s no specific amount of time prescribed on doing it daily and it can also only be used as a supplement to a more intense workout regimen. Some might prefer to just do it a few times per week, while the more dedicated ones can do it daily from an hour to an hour and a half per session.

As with yogilates, this one also leaves the decision up to the practitioner, provided that they don’t overdo themselves with the sequences.

Another thing about yogalates is that it does require you to have a yoga mat or a pilates mat with you during sessions. You can also opt to enroll in a class, where an instructor can start the session with pilates warm ups or yoga poses to ease students into yogalates in a timely manner—something that would definitely work with beginners who want to have stronger cores and better breathing.

Can athletes or fitness professionals do it as well?

For athletes, it’s not that surprising if they want to delve into a workout that will help them with their performance and to reduce tension from their regular trainings. Yogilates is more appropriate for this compared to yogalates which may get a bit more intense. Urla stated on his website that athletes can use yogilates to supplement their workout. It improves their game and help with their breathing and endurance.

And since Urla was a dancer before he became a pilates instructor and inventor of yogilates, he designed the workout to focus more on toning the muscles instead of bulking up, making it an ideal exercise for the ladies out there. He wants the body and the mind to be at its peak performance levels, especially after a yogilates session.

But on the contrary, if you’re the kind of athlete who prefers a bit more intense exercises even when they’re not training, then go for yogalates. It’s not as mild as yoga or pilates, but it’s not too intense to leave you with jelly-like legs and arms that feel like lead at the end of a workout.

The same goes for fitness buffs or non-professional enthusiasts. A word of advice though, always make sure to opt for something to complement your current workout regimen so you can get maximum results.

But with yogalates and yogilates, it’s just an added hour or hour and a half to your current workout for optimum results, so it won’t be difficult for you to squeeze in a session or two on your weekly exercise schedule.

What exactly happens during a session?

Yogalates sessions are entirely dependent on the instructors’ preferences. As for yogilates, it has a more outlined routine to follow and it can be done without an instructor present, perfect for those who get anxious when they’re around strangers. Both workouts have dedicated DVDs and books for self-starters as well

Keep in mind, though, that not everyone will enjoy yogalates as compared to yogilates because of its more “active” approach to yoga/pilates. And as for purists?

forward foldBoth workouts may not work for them as they may think that these hybrids are only good for those who are not familiar with the original practices. But then again, these are of course some of the people who take years perfecting their poses and breathing by travelling and training with OG yogis from the East.

For Urla, he has picked around 40 positions that can be suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners. Don’t be afraid, though—you won’t be doing all 40 in one session.

Urla made it a point to space things out to give people enough leeway when it came to working out and to provide the chance for people to gradually work their way up to more advanced levels as they practice. He wants people to do floor work and warm up exercises for about 20 minutes before going into the Sun Salutation poses. As things progress, people will eventually realize that the transition to pilates poses was smooth because they’ll definitely know that they’re out of the yoga zone.

Urla is proud to say that his method works well for people who are already way past their prime and have flexibility issues. He made a user-friendly sequence where one doesn’t have to subject themselves to the anxiety of joining a class full of strangers. However, if they prefer to have instructors, then there are qualified trainers for yogilates in many cities all over the world.

As with any new workout “fad” out there, approach everything with caution and it’s always best to check out intro guides (like this one!) before trying something out so you won’t have to waste your time and money on something that you won’t enjoy.

So, if you’re a beginner, then there’s no harm in trying out yogilates and yogalates once you feel like you know enough about it. You can choose to practice either yoga or pilates, or an alternate combination of both per week. Just keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to have a sound mind and body after every session.

You wouldn’t want a workout that will only leave you drained and sore without any assurance that it’ll be beneficial. This guide is only here to provide you with knowledge on something that may or may not work for your body type or skill level. Whatever floats your boat; don’t let other people decide for you, since you’re the only one who knows your body best.

Did you benefit from this article? Did I miss anything? Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated – please post in the comments and I will personally respond!

Marcus Stone

Marcus Stone

Soon after graduating college with a degree in Journalism, Marcus decided to pursue his love for yoga and traveled to Rishikesh, India to complete his RYS 500 yoga teacher training. Marcus wants people to know that yoga is for everyone – no matter your race, gender, age, or physical ability. >> Read More
Marcus Stone

Latest posts by Marcus Stone (see all)

2017-10-01T20:32:05+00:00

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz