Yoga is being combined with other fitness activities to create fusion workouts. Yoga fusion provides a complete mind body workout.
Over the last 15 years the fitness industry has witnessed many changes in the way it prescribes exercise and teaches classes. Fitness trainers need to keep things constantly fresh and exciting to inspire and motivate people—because a bored participant will soon become a drop-out participant!
One way to keep fitness interesting is to fuse different types of workouts together. Take yoga and Pilates, for example. Years ago, yoga was performed mainly by those dedicated to living the life of yoga, and Pilates was a regimen only practised by an elite few.
However, as people experimented with different types of workouts, elements that people enjoyed in one form of exercise slowly appeared in other programs, creating interesting new fusions.
Om for a strong core
One of the most popular fusions today is yoga and Pilates. Although quite different workouts—yoga is more of a mind-body connection performed on a mat, while traditional Pilates focuses on strengthening and toning and uses machines called reformers—both modalities work on creating a flexible body, a stronger core, and a sense of well-being. Fuse the two together and you have a powerful workout.
If you are unable to find a class near you, there are a number of DVDs that have successfully fused yoga and Pilates. Some popular ones include: Yoga-Pilates Fusion by Kathy Ackerman (Energy Oasis/Silver Line Productions, 2007); Yoga & Pilates: Total Body Toner by Louise Solomon (Platinum Disc, 2004); and Stott Pilates: Pilates-Infused Yoga by PJ O’Clair (Merrithew Entertainment, 2004).
Spin your sun salutations
Ten years ago you wouldn’t dream of combining a hard-core bike ride with a downward dog, but such is the case with workouts such as Cy-Yo and other yoga/indoor cycling blends. These workouts usually start and end with a yoga routine and sandwich a 30 to 40 minute indoor cycling class in between.
As a spin instructor, I think this approach is fantastic. You not only reap the benefits of a spin class (where the average calorie burn is 300 to 600 calories a class), you also enjoy a deep stretch and an opportunity to focus your mind, body, and spirit afterward.
These fusions are also advantageous because spin classes usually attract a certain type of clientele (those who like to go hard and sweat, as opposed to those who like to take it slow and meditate), and these blended classes introduce yoga to people who might not otherwise take a class.
Once there, they will be surprised to learn that yoga is not simply sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed and chanting—it is a real workout, and anyone can reap the benefits.
YogaFit has probably been around the longest of the fused mind-body programs. This program fuses traditional fitness exercises such as push-ups, squats, and sit-ups with a flowing yoga routine.
This workout is not for the true yogi, but instead for the fitness enthusiast who is simply there for a good workout and doesn’t really care what the Sanskrit names are for each of the poses.
YogaFit offers a user-friendly approach to yoga moves, and is good for individuals of varying fitness levels. For those who just can’t imagine that they could get a “real” workout without strength training exercises, it offers an effective compromise.
Try it out
Want to try a move or two before you head to classes or get a DVD? Give yourself a taste of a mind-body workout with these two movements, remembering that whatever fusion you enjoy, the key is to keep the body moving! Your body is the only place you have to live for the rest of your life—so keep it healthy.
Yoga for Pilates abs
Perform this exercise slowly to combine the benefits of yoga and Pilates.
Yoga for cycling
|*Tabletop position: your shoulders, hips, and knees should all be in one line, with your hands and arms under your shoulders and your feet right under your knees.
If you cycle or go to your local spin class on a weekly basis, try this yoga-inspired move to open up the chest and shoulders, as well as work on the hamstrings and glutes.
Yoga for strength
Try this yoga-inspired push-up to increase the strength of your arms, chest, shoulders, and core.