Sunday, August 18, 2013


This fusion of the two fitness disciplines attempts to bring together the benefits and the fluid movements of each of the individual disciplines. Though yogalates is essentially two different things combined together, but it has its own characteristic movements, which when approached in the right way, could be superior to the movements of either yoga or Pilates. 

Yoga is a traditional Indian physical and spiritual discipline that attempts to bring together physical, mental, and spiritual faculties to promote a sense of balance and well being. While Pilates is a strictly physical workout that emerged in the West, it is much more recent as compared to yoga. Yet, there is a distinct similarly between the two, which makes practitioners easy to combine the essence of the two disciplines to form a theoretically superior one.
Benefits of yogalates
Yogalates is a discipline that offers the combined benefits of yoga and Pilates. The fluidity of movements in both yoga and Pilates are replicated in this discipline. There is focus on the breathing as well as on the transition of one movement to another. Here are some of the key benefits of yogalates.
  • As with both yoga and Pilates, yogalates is also a great way to lose some weight. You can add it to your daily fitness and fat loss routine. The movements and the breathing in yogalates are specifically designed to aid weight loss and burn fat. 
  • The specific postures and poses of yogalates can help in the toning of the body muscles. Along with weight loss and fat burn, this discipline is great for toning muscles, improving strength and stamina, and finally, strengthening your core.
  • Since yogalates combines the movements of yoga and Pilates, it increases the range of motion and also improves overall flexibility of the joints.
  • Apart from its other health benefits, yogalates can also help improve the symptoms of arthritis. The movements in this discipline are very refined and fluid, allowing for greater flexibility in the joints. The more you move your joints, the more lubricated they become. Though there is no recorded evidence of it, proponents of yogalates believe that the discipline can also improve functioning of the endocrine system, thus helping those with diabetes.

Difference between yogalates and yoga

There are two main differences between yoga and yogalates.
  • Yoga is static: Since yoga involves getting into a pose or posture and holding it for some time, it tends to be a little static. However, since yogalates combines yoga with Pilates, it has more fluid movements and is more action packed.
  • Yogalates is dynamic: In yogalates, you move your body and get into a pose, and then you begin to perform toning exercises. This is not only good for weight loss, but is also ideal for toning your muscles and strengthening your body.

Drawbacks of yogalates

Though yogalates claims to bring together the benefits of both the disciplines, the fact is that you end up losing the individual benefits of yoga and Pilates. For instance, yogalates is not a spiritual discipline and has many less therapeutic benefits than yoga alone. 

While the proponents of yogalates suggest that the discipline can help strengthen the core, it clearly has lesser benefits in core strengthening as compared to Pilates. It may help increase flexibility, but both yoga and Pilates when performed separately are better for increasing muscle and joint flexibility. 

Yogalates also has lesser benefits in meditation because the characteristic of meditation is in the static nature of the discipline of yoga. With yogalates, it is impossible to reap in the spiritual and the mental benefits that yoga and meditation have to offer.

Duration of yogalates

There is no specifically prescribed duration of yogalates. If you want, you can perform it every day. However, it is best if you use yogalates only to supplement your overall workout routine. Most people perform these exercises about twice or thrice a week. Others perform it 45minute to 1hrs a day, every day. 

The choice is entirely yours. However, as with any other fitness routine, it is important to avoid overdoing these exercises as well.

Yogalates for beginners

Beginners often find yogalates a little more action packed, especially if they had been exposed to yoga only. Since yogalates can be used for weight loss, you can lose about 2 to 3 inches in a month if you perform your exercises regularly. 

Your muscles get sore for the first few weeks, especially if you were not performing any physical exercises before this. You will also experience flexibility improvement as you continue to perform the exercises. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A New Blend of Exercises....Yogalates

Yogalates....Yogilates.......Yoga lattes? 
No no no!! don't let the name confuse you.....There's a new trend out there, and it's not on the Starbucks menu ha......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 Canada and 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. 

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," ....."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.

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, 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, 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."

He suggests taking separate classes in each practice: "Nothing changes my body more than the combination of Pilates and yoga classes. Each one gives me something different. So I'm not a fan of blending. Blending tends to denigrate the practice, whether it's yoga or Pilates."

Urla's answer: "The point is, does it work? For most people, who are not young and flexible, Yogilates works. This is a system that is less intimidating, more accessible, than either yoga or Pilates alone."

Just make sure your instructor is a good one -- either trained through the Pilates Method Alliance or the Yoga Teachers Alliance , Urla suggests.

REF:Jeanie Lerche Davis

Monday, August 12, 2013

How Yoga Affect Our Organs?

Many people believe that yoga affects only the muscles and joints positively, but it is taught, that every pose has a specific effect on the internal organs. One might wonder how this can be. 

In yoga as in Chinese medicine, there are several emotions identified as having a specific attraction to particular organs. An excess of fear damages the kidneys. Too much anger damages the liver. Excess joy damages the heart, while grief in overabundance damages the lungs. Too much sympathy damages the spleen and sadness destroys the brain. Conversely, equilibrium in the emotions causes the body and its organ systems to work more efficiently.

There are poses to affect the emotions in yoga, just as much as they affect the muscles. For example, while practicing downward facing dog pose we can deeply stretch the shoulders, the spine, hamstrings, feet, and the Achilles tendons, but we can also use this asana to decrease depression and anxiety. 

Simple postures such as cat-cow breathing can reduce fear. Supine twist is an excellent posture for relieving back pain, but is also an excellent pose for building acceptance of life’s stresses and eliminating feelings of being overwhelmed.

We all approach our practice from where we are – meaning, we cannot expect to jump right into an advanced asana. Some people have chronically tight muscles. It is the intent of a sustained yoga practice to gradually relax the built up tension in the body, and to release the emotions that are “locked” within the body behind this tension. 

When we begin to let go of the stress stored in our bodies, emotions are likely to arise. Ideally, we would observe these emotions without adding judgment. 

They may be so old, that we can’t even remember what made us start holding our bodies in a state of stress in the first place. 

This is why letting go of a purely intellectual understanding of feelings we experience in a class is imperative. The body holds intelligence within it that we may not always be conscious of. By just allowing the emotions to rise, they will pass also, like ripples on a pond.

Just as each of us have our individual experience of asana practice, we can be affected differently depending on where we store stress in our bodies. 

In yogic science, we see the emotional body as its own sheath or layer. The Manomaya kosha (sometimes called the astral body) houses all our emotions. When the emotions in this layer get stuck – fear, anger, sadness, joy, any emotion – they can cause energy to become trapped in the physical body, including the internal organs. While some people may manifest anxiety in the throat (i.e., have a difficult time expressing or voicing their emotions) others will experience that same stress in the digestive organs, or the liver (i.e, they have a hard time digesting their feelings as in “I can’t stomach this.”)

A feeling which was once primarily unconscious to the practitioner can be triggered while practicing asana. 

Asanas act as a means to open energy gateways in much the same way that acupressure or acupuncture points free energy. Often, a practitioner will feel that their practice is affected by something that is happening in their current life, when often they have released emotions that were stored a very long time ago. Allowing them to come and go is advisable. We don’t have to intellectually “figure it out.” We can let the intelligence of the body do what it was meant to do to release our samskaras (Sanskrit for impressions).

Though every person’s experience of yoga is different, the following are some common emotions that arise in varying poses:

Forward bends:

these asana can trigger a release of egocentric attitudes. They force us to face our fears as we turn inward. Those of us always looking behind to see what the world is up to will have difficulty in forward folds, and may have to confront emotions which have to do with surrendering to our own strength.


Backward bends:
these asana are important when dealing with attitudes of embracing life – of being wide open to receive the good, bad and the ugly, to rise to life’s challenges. When practicing backbends, we may have to deal with emotions of being a doormat to others – literally bending over backward to please them, letting go of co-dependent patterns and building our own self-esteem without relying on others excessively to give us a positive self image. Just as in forward folds, backbends can bring up fears associated to these emotional patterns. 

Those who are extremely shy or have had their heart broken repeatedly may feel feelings of sadness as psychic wounds of the heart are healed. Because we are exposing our whole self to the world in backbends, they can also bring up feelings of confrontation experienced in the past with the self or others.


Balancing asana:
these poses are extremely indicative of a person’s emotional state. Someone with an un-easy emotional state, or a mind busied with too many emotions, will find balancing poses very difficult. As they find equilibrium in these poses, whatever emotions that are causing the mind to become agitated may increase before subsiding to a more peaceful place. Balance poses help to build a calm, resilient, steady mind.

Twisting asana:

as you may have imagined, these asana have to do with untangling the knots of life. All twisting asana initiate feelings of dealing with obstacles we face, and developing strength to face whatever comes our way. Twists, along with backbends give us more confidence through sustained practice, and develop overly introversive personalities.


Inverted asana: 
when we practice these asana, we are literally turning the world on its head – changing our perspective completely, turning our behavioral patterns upside down. Inversions help us to see ourselves, and our world from a different angle, so you can imagine all the emotions that can arise from turning your whole perspective around. Inversions help to purify the mind and bring greater peace and calm even when our worldview feels shaken.